Tag Archives: trademark

SCOTUS Holds that ‘generic.com’ Trademarks Like Booking.com May Be Capable of Registration

Today, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in the trademark registration case United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V., holding “A term styled ‘generic.com’ is a generic name for a class of goods or services only if the term has that meaning to consumers.” Justice Ginsburg delivered the majority opinion, in which justices … Continue Reading

Fast-Track Examination for COVID-19-Related Trademarks and Service Marks

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued a notice on June 12 announcing a new, accelerated examination program for certain COVID-19-related trademark applications. The USPTO will begin accepting petitions for fast-track examination on June 16, 2020. This is great news for those developing and researching new products to help combat COVID-19. Applications are typically … Continue Reading

No Luck Needed for Lucky Brand at the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court yesterday issued its second trademark decision of this term. In Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. v. Marcel Fashions Group, Inc., Case No. 18-1086 (S. Ct. May 14, 2020), the ultimate question before the Court was the applicability of “defense preclusion.” Specifically, the Court considered whether and under what circumstances a defense may be … Continue Reading

[Insert Yell Here]: Rapper Pitbull Receives Trademark Registration for “EEEEEEEYOOOOOO!” Sound Mark

Platinum-selling music artist Pitbull has received two trademark registrations for a signature yell used in his music. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued two sound mark registrations, U.S. Reg. Nos. 5877076 and 5877077, for “entertainment services in the nature of live musical performances” and “musical sound recordings; musical video recordings,” respectively. For … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Livestreams Oral Arguments on BOOKING.COM Trademark Registerability

On Monday, we listened in real time to the livestreamed Supreme Court oral arguments in the trademark registration case United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V.  Because of COVID-19, the arguments were done telephonically, but with the added twist of a live broadcast. The event itself was remarkable, considering the impact of the … Continue Reading

A Finding of Willfulness Is Not Required for an Award of Profits in a Trademark Infringement Case

The Supreme Court has definitively answered the question of whether a plaintiff in a trademark infringement suit is required to show, as a precondition to a profits award, that a defendant willfully infringed the plaintiff’s trademark. By a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court said NO. In Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., Romag, a … Continue Reading

7th Circuit Upholds Trademark ‘Fair Use’ Doctrine

In an August 2019 decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the earlier finding by the Northern District of Illinois of summary judgment that PepsiCo’s Gatorade division’s use of the phrase “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company” on its Gatorade family of products did not infringe SportFuel Inc.’s SPORTFUEL trademark because the use of … Continue Reading

Really? Someone thinks I HEART COVID-19 should be awarded a US trademark registration?

Aside from I HEART COVID-19 (stylized) being an offensive slogan given the hundreds of thousands of people affected throughout the world by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. trademark application for this slogan, filed by an entity called Bad Covid, LLC, is likely to fail like most of the other opportunistic trademark filings for terms related … Continue Reading

Trademark Fraud Sparks Rare Bipartisan Action

In a political environment in which even a global virus pandemic cannot seem to foster bipartisan legislative cooperation, the growing surge in fraudulent trademark applications – many of which are maturing into issued trademark registrations – has done just that. On March 11, 2020, House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Ranking Judiciary Member Doug … Continue Reading

Can Booking.com Trademark Its Company Name? How Will the U.S. Supreme Court Resolve Whether a Generic Term Plus a Top-Level Domain Is Protectable?

The legal battle between Booking.com BV and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began more than five years ago and concerns whether the online hotel booking company can secure a trademark registration for its name. After filing for trademark protection, Booking.com commenced a federal lawsuit in connection with the USPTO’s refusal to issue a … Continue Reading

Session not Season

When the Supreme Court opens its new session on Oct. 7, one of the cases it will determine, Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc., et al. Case No. 2018-2417, is expected to resolve a stark difference among circuits over when a trademark owner is entitled to disgorgement of an infringer’s profits due to an infringing … Continue Reading

USPTO Proposes New Fee Schedule

On August 29, 2019, the Director of the USPTO notified the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) of the Office’s intent to set or adjust trademark related fees and submitted a preliminary trademark fee proposal for comment. There are multiple timelines for public debate and comment on the proposed new fees, with a tentative implementation date … Continue Reading

Canada: New Trademark Laws Go Into Effect

On June 17, Canada implemented long-awaited changes to its trademark laws. These updates are designed to modernize Canadian trademark practice and bring Canada more in line with international practice. Businesses with brand interests in Canada will want to be aware of these important changes, the most significant of which are described here. Madrid Protocol: Canada … Continue Reading

Protected and Unfiltered. Supreme Court Strikes Down the Lanham Act’s Scandalous and Immoral Restrictions.

In April at oral argument, the bench grappled with the issue of viewpoint discrimination based on the literal meaning of the statute and the genuine concern that without regulation, profane and obscene language and images will be imprinted with the ®. Ultimately, in a unanimous decision, the court held that the statutory language restricting scandalous and … Continue Reading

Update: Patent and Trademark Fees in Venezuela

As previously reported on this blog, the issue of payment of fees related to trademark applications/registrations in Venezuela is currently in a state of flux. Specifically, given the current U.S. sanctions generally forbidding U.S. corporations from transacting business with the Venezuelan government, it has been difficult for these U.S. entities to pay fees associated with … Continue Reading

Is it ‘anything goes?’ – The US expansive view of trademarks supports a wide variety of ‘nontraditional trademarks.’

“Trademark” is broadly defined in Section 45 of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. §1127, as “any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” that identifies and distinguishes goods and indicates source. The same definitional breadth applies to service marks, certification marks and collective membership marks. The Supreme Court has supported such breadth where … Continue Reading

Patent and Trademark Fees in Venezuela

On Feb. 1, 2019, the Venezuelan Ministry of National Commerce sent a notification that patent and trademark fees shall be paid in the Venezuelan cryptocurrency “PETRO.” HOWEVER, the United States government, by Executive Order 13827 (March 19, 2018), expressly prohibits such transactions by U.S. persons, including individuals and companies, relating to any digital currency, digital … Continue Reading

Trademark Office Takes Tougher Stance on Registering Rights to Colors on Packaging

Trademark law recognizes that a color can be used to identify the source of products and therefore, enjoys protection under trademark law. Let’s test your color brand awareness: • What can Brown do for you? – shipping services • The little Purple pill – gastrointestinal medicine If these colors brought UPS and Nexium to mind, … Continue Reading

GOOGLE Mark Is Not a Victim of Genericide

On May 16, 2017, internet search engine and content provider Google Inc. was handed a win by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Elliot v. Google Inc. The court ruled that the GOOGLE trademark had not become a victim of genericide, unlike other now generic terms such as ASPIRIN, CELLOPHANE … Continue Reading

Registration of “Phantom Marks” Denied

“Phantom marks” are trademarks that contain a variable element, such as the mark T.MARKEY TRADEMARK EXHIBITION 2***, in which the asterisks represent elements that change to indicate different years. Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP) § 1214.01 (Apr. 2017). While a phantom mark refusal would not be necessary in this example, the Trademark Office generally … Continue Reading

Living it up at the HOTEL CALIFORNIA

Legendary rock band Eagles, Ltd. (The Eagles), filed suit on May 1 against the owners of the Hotel California Baja LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit alleges trademark infringement and common law unfair competition by the owners, Debbie and John Stewart (owners). The hotel originally opened in … Continue Reading
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