Archives: Trademark

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No Bull: Acquired Distinctiveness Is Not a Given

The Trademark Trial & Appeal Board recently issued a nonprecedential decision that serves as a good reminder that distinctiveness is not automatically acquired simply by long-standing use. Klickitat Valley Chianina, LLC, Serial No. 76715490 (March 16, 2017). Nor are declarations attesting to exclusive use for five-plus years automatically sufficient to pass a trademark application through … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Suit Against Coach and Its Counsel for Wrongful Seizure of Website Due to Lack of Personal Jurisdiction

  A recent decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio held that Coach and its Illinois-based counsel could not be sued for collateral harm caused in a trademark dispute that played out in a federal case in Illinois. See Order, Brenda Buschle v. Coach, Inc. et al., Civil Action … Continue Reading

Proof of Life: USPTO Ushers in New Audit Power for Proof-of-Use

Effective earlier this year, recently amended 37 C.F.R. §§ 2.161(h) and 7.37(h) empower the USPTO to require a registrant to submit additional documentation as “reasonably necessary” to prove use of the mark in connection with each and every good or service identified in the registration.  This is to ensure that the register “accurately reflects marks … Continue Reading

New TTAB Rules of Practice

On Jan. 14, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Rules of Practice were amended in what the United States Patent and Trademark Office described as an effort “to benefit the public by providing for more efficiency and clarity in inter partes and ex parte proceedings.” The first such amendment in roughly nine years, … Continue Reading

Sole Relief from the International Trade Commission

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) issued a decision in the closely watched Converse proceeding, invalidating one of Converse’s trademarks for its iconic Chuck Taylor shoes and issuing a broad exclusion order prohibiting the import of any shoes that infringe certain of Converse’s other trademarks. The decision highlights the benefits of … Continue Reading

New Changes to European Trademark Prosecution

As of March 23, 2016, the “Community Trade Mark” (CTM) is going by a new name: the “European Union Trade Mark” (EUTM),  reflecting the evolution of the European Community into the European Union. By force of Regulation No. 2015/2424, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the body responsible for administering the European … Continue Reading

Amended PTAB Rules to Take Effect on May 2, 2016

On May 2, 2016, amended rules governing post-grant proceedings before the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (“PTAB”), including inter partes review (“IPR”), post-grant review (“PGR”), and covered business methods (“CBM”), will take effect. The rules apply to all currently pending and future proceedings before the PTAB. The primary amendments are: Testimonial Evidence Permitted in Patent … Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Holds Trademark Infringement Must Be Willful to Warrant Award of Infringer’s Profits, Highlighting Continuing Circuit Split

The Federal Circuit, applying Second Circuit trademark law, has weighed in on the issue of whether an infringer’s profits are recoverable absent a finding of willful infringement. In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Mar. 31, 2016), a jury had found Fossil liable for patent and trademark infringement of Romag’s magnetic snap fasteners … Continue Reading

In re Tam: Still No Trademark Registration for The Slants

In the continuing saga of whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, the rock band The Slants will have to wait a little longer before it knows whether it can register its trademark THE SLANTS. The Slants, a band composed of Asian-American musicians, has received a significant … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Holds No Use in the U.S. Required to Bring Claims Under the Lanham Act

On March 23, 2016, the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision in Belmora LLC v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, 84 F. Supp. 3d 490 (E.D. Va. 2015) and remanded the case. The Fourth Circuit held that contrary to the district court’s decision, the plaintiff, Bayer Consumer Care AG (“BCC”), owner of a foreign trademark registration … Continue Reading

TTAB Retreats From Precedential Houndstooth Mafia Decision

Trademark proceedings are contentious proceedings, but the battle for registration of the HOUNDSTOOTH MAFIA trademark has been largely overshadowed by the now-ended dispute between the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and the reviewing U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. After a three-year struggle, the TTAB vacated The Board of Trustees of … Continue Reading
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