Do the Scots own BURNS NIGHT?

The Scotch Whisky Association recently filed an opposition to the mark BURNS NIGHT filed by an Atlanta distiller of American malt whiskey.  The Association claims that BURNS NIGHT is “highly evocative of Scotland when used on a whisky product,” and is likely to cause a consumer to believe that the spirit being purchased is aContinue reading “Do the Scots own BURNS NIGHT?”

What Constitutes a Counterfeit?

Rolex has recently filed suit against laCalifornienne for allegedly dealing in fake watches. LaCalifornienne has been adding non-Rolex sanctioned dials, crystals, and other accessories to pre-owned Rolex® watches and reselling them as genuine Rolex® watches.  Rolex considers any watch that includes a non-Rolex part to be a counterfeit. Rolex filed a similar case against aContinue reading “What Constitutes a Counterfeit?”

Can the Owner of a Building Control Reproductions of its Likeness?

Canadian Parliament is considering whether building owners can control the reproduction of a famous building’s likeness.  Author James Bow was set to release a new book featuring a cover-art collage which included an image of the CN Tower, a large radio antenna and tourist attraction located in Toronto.  A representative from CN Tower requested theContinue reading “Can the Owner of a Building Control Reproductions of its Likeness?”

Trademark Scam Letters – Things to Look For

More and more of my clients have been receiving trademark scam letters purporting to be from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  These letters often appear official in nature and include scary notations such as “CANCELLATION PENDING.”  These companies have defruaded trademark owners of millions. If you have received this type of note, theContinue reading “Trademark Scam Letters – Things to Look For”

“Scandalous” Trademarks on the Heels of Matal v. Tam

Proctor & Gamble has recently filed two trademark applications for  “WTF” and “FML” – two colorful acronyms containing the word “F*CK”.  These marks would have formerly been rejected on the basis that they are “scandalous” or “immoral;”  however, recent decisions validating registration of THE SLANTS (a band with Asian members) and REDSKINS (an NFL team)Continue reading ““Scandalous” Trademarks on the Heels of Matal v. Tam”

Walmart Ordered to pay $95.5M for Trademark Infringement

Walmart was recently ordered to pay Variety Stores after a jury found that the company infringed Variety’s registered trademark BACKYARD. The jury concluded that Walmart’s use of the mark in a line of grilling products constituted willful infringement, resulting in a $95.5M treble damage award. Click here for back story

Is it Safe to Use a “Dead” Trademark?

Cancellation of a trademark registration does not extinguish common law trademark rights. If the owner continues to use the mark after abandonment or cancellation by the USPTO, that owner will still enjoy common law protections allowing for use within the current “zone of commerce.”  While it may possible to register a canceled or abandoned mark,Continue reading “Is it Safe to Use a “Dead” Trademark?”

Use Caution When Threatening an IP Action in the U.K.

“Threatening” a potential infringer for acts performed in the UK will now be governed by a new Intellectual Property Unjustified Threats Act. The act took effect on October 1, 2017 and outlines “permitted communications” between potential adversaries in patent, trademark and designs.  It should be noted that the act will not apply to copyright infringements,Continue reading “Use Caution When Threatening an IP Action in the U.K.”

Woman Takes on Coca-Cola in Trademark Dispute and Wins

In 2005, an Australian woman named Annabelle Young wanted to start a tea company. In order to protect her IP she decided to trademark the name HONEST TEA in Australia.  Not too long after her trademark issued,  an American company using the same name brought suit against her claiming global rights in the name.  ThatContinue reading “Woman Takes on Coca-Cola in Trademark Dispute and Wins”