SUPREME COURT FACES DECISION ON TRADEMARK PROTECTION OF ‘SCANDALOUS’ BRANDS
Los Angeles – In January 2019, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case regarding whether portions of the Lanham Act that prohibits “scandalous” or “immoral” trademarks from receiving trademark protection are constitutional.
The case, Iancu v. Brunetti¸ centers around the decision of the U.S. Trademark Office to deny trademark registration to FUCT, a clothing company founded in Los Angeles in 1990. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has already struck down portions of the law prohibiting registration f Read the rest
U.S. SUPREME COURT INCREASES REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CASES
San Diego – Historically speaking, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has heard relatively few intellectual property cases. However, in recent years this trend appears to be changing. In fact, the October 2018 term has five IP cases on the docket. The outcome of the cases could have huge ramifications for businesses and their ability to protect intellectual Property assets.
Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC
This case concerns issues related to the effect of bankruptcy on intellectual property licenses and more specifically how bankruptcy effects a trademark license. The case will resolve a c Read the rest
DONALD TRUMP, WEDDING CRASHER, BECOMES COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT CASE
Orange County – A photograph taken of Donald Trump at a wedding in Bedminster, New Jersey on June 11, 2017 went viral. The photograph documented the President crashing a wedding at one of his resorts and has become the source of contention for some of the guests of the wedding.
Jonathan Otto, the vice president of Deustche Bank, was a guest at the wedding and took the photo of President Trump on his iPhone. Another guest at the wedding, Sean Burke, received the photo from Otto, which he shared with other attendees. The photo eventually made its way to Instagram, where the media first discovered it. Thereafter the photo was showcased on Read the rest
LEVI STRAUSS FIGHTS FOR TRADEMARK ON POCKET TAB
Los Angeles – The popular denim company, Levi Strauss, has recently sued Yves Saint Laurent on the grounds of trademark infringement regarding the tabs included on jean pockets.
One of the most classic features on Levi jeans is also one of the smallest features on their pants. Levi’s have been commonly known to have the company name printed onto a red, white, or blue tab. This tab is typically attached into the right seam of the back pocket. The question is, however, does the use of a similar tab from Yves Saint Laurent warrant trademark infringement. To make a case, Levi Strauss must be able to prove that the similarities between the two coul Read the rest
HBO HAS TRADEMARK ISSUE WITH TRUMP
San Diego – President Donald Trump recently published a Tweet to his Twitter account that has landed him in some hot water. The Tweet was comprised of a frozen cinematic depiction of the President with the phrase “Sanctions are Coming” in a font that brings to mind the blockbuster HBO series Game of Thrones.
HBO’s Game of Thrones series is well known for its trademark phrase: “Winter is Coming.” The phrase is known as the prediction of an army that is to sweep and conquer the land. “Winter is Coming” has been used in countless forms on social media over the years, however, HBO has indicated that they would prefer that it is not u Read the rest
TESLA FILES TESLAQUILA TRADEMARK FOR LIQUOR
Orange County – In April, Elon Musk made some noise on social media with his April Fools joke hinting at a Tesla-branded Tequila. Apparently it wasn’t a joke. On April 10th Tesla filed a trademark application for Teslaquila in Jamaica for “distilled agave liquor” and last week Tesla followed it up with the same filing in the United States.
In the original Teslaquila April Fool’s joke, in a twitter post Musk said that the the electric car company was going bankrupt and alluded to him being found passed out against a Tesla Model 3 surrounded by Teslaquila bottles. A few days later on Instagram, Musk posted a photo of a tequila bottle wi Read the rest
A FORMER JAGUARS NFL PLAYER CLAIMS HE OWNS THE TRADEMARK “SACKSONVILLE”
Los Angeles – A trademark quarrel has arisen over who owns the term “Sacksonville.” In 2015, Dan Skuta of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars applied to trademark the term “Sacksonville”. The application was later abandoned in 2016. Skuta originally signed a five-year contract for $20.5 million with the Jaguars in 2015 but was later cut from the team early in 2017.
On October 18, 2017, the Jaguars filed a trademark application for #SACKSONVILLE for goods and services including shirts and entertainment services. On May 3, 2018 Skuta re-filed a trademark application for SACKSONVILLE for shirts and decals, and then on May 4, 2018 Skut Read the rest
OHIO STATE FILES AN OPPOSITION TO BLOCK OKLAHOMA'S “O” TRADEMARK
San Diego – Ohio State University recently filed a Notice of Opposition opposing the University of Oklahoma’s trademark application of an image of a drum major with a block “O” on the front of the uniform. The University of Oklahoma filed the application on December 7, 2017.
In the opposition filed with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Ohio State claims that the block letter “O” has been used on its uniforms and merchandise since 1898. The opposition states that the block letter “O” is the “heart of the branding and image of Ohio State and is used in connection w Read the rest
IN-N-OUT BURGER SENDS A CLEVER TRADEMARK CEASE AND DESIST LETTER TO A BREWERY
Orange County – Last week, Irvine, California based In-N-Out Burger sent a pun-filled cease and desist letter to Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery located in San Francisco suggesting that the brewerey “hop to action” to clear up a “brewing” trademark issue “in good spirits.”
In-N-Out Burger reached out after hearing of the upcoming release of Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery’s new beer called “In-N-Stout.” The brewery recently used Instagram to promote the new beer, describing it as a barrel-ages milkshake stout and tagged In-N-Out Burger’s account. Within the promotion was an image of the beer featuring a Read the rest
BILLY GOAT CHIP LOSES A ROUND IN BILLY GOAT TAVERN TRADEMARK CASE
Los Angeles – In December 2017, Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the St. Louis’ Billy Goat Chip Company related to use of the “Billy Goat” name on products. Billy Goat Tavern, founded in 1934, is a popular hang-out spot that gained some fame after it’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live.” Billy Goat Chip Company recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit but it was denied by U.S. District Judge Robert Dow Jr.
The tavern currently sells branded beer and frozen burgers in local grocery stores. According to the lawsuit, Billy Goat Tavern has plans to begin selling potato chips in the near Read the rest