Skip to main content

Trademark Litigation

Viewpoints

Filter by:

Two incredible things happened in 1992 for the NFL football team Washington Redskins. It won the Super Bowl and applied to register a trademark Washington Redskins. It has not been so lucky ever since. It has not won another Super Bowl and has not registered that mark since 1992.
Selecting and protecting your “brand” should begin from the very moment a business is in the process of being formed, whether that business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability company, or some other type of entity.
In a unanimous decision handed down on June 19th, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a long-standing prohibition against federal registration of “disparaging” trademarks, finding that the this provision of the Lanham Act violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment.
Although most people will recognize the ubiquitous PIZZA! PIZZA! slogan mark owned by the pizza chain Little Caesar’s, the company’s collection of repeated term marks does not rise to the level of a “family of marks” according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
In a non-precedential opinion, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled two US trademark registrations for the mark PORTON,  finding it to be confusingly similar to the mark PATRON.
On November 14, 2016, the Federal Circuit clarified confusion regarding what is necessary to satisfy the registration requirement that a mark be used “in commerce.”
Well, a lot has happened since we last reported on the District Court's decision in the FLANAX trademark dispute. As you may recall, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted Bayer's Petition and cancelled the FLANAX registration although Bayer, a German company, did not use the mark FLANAX in the US.
Further to our post last Friday on the SLANTS trademark case, the U.S. Supreme Court today, without comment, refused the Redskins' Petition to join the SLANTS case challenging the U.S. Trademark Office's ban on "offensive" trademarks.
The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will review whether the U.S. Trademark Office can deny registration of offensive trademarks or whether such prohibition violates the First Amendment.
Trademark dilution is a concept not easily understood. Although, we have written about this topic in previous posts, a recent decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, ESRT Empire State Building, L. L. C. v. Michael Liang, Opposition No. 91204122 (TTAB June 17, 2016),  may help to further explain why it is unacceptable to dilute another’s trademark.
What do Washington D.C.’s NFL team, the Redskins, and Mr. Tam’s rock band, The Slants, have in common? Both have enjoyed unexpected victories recently and both have been called “disparaging” by the Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”).
It is that time of year again, coming off St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, when everyone gets on the college basketball bandwagon in the season of “MARCH MADNESS.”
On February 6, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia reversed the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s ruling in Bayer Consumer Care AG v. Belmora LLC, 110 USPQ2d 1623 (TTAB 2014) holding that Article 6bis of the Paris Convention does not grant trademark rights that are protectable under Section 14(3) (misrepresentation of source), Section 43(a)(1)(A) (infringement of an unregistered mark) and Section 43(a)(1)(B) (false advertising) of the United States Trademark Statute (the Lanham Act).
On February 6, 2015, a US District Court issued a ruling which underscores the territorial nature of trademark rights and the need to seek formal protection for your marks where possible in all countries of interest.
As we all know, Super Bowl XLIX will be played this Sunday in Phoenix, Arizona between the defending Champion Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. There will be events of all kinds organized all around the country focused on this football game.
In the first substantive trademark decision it has issued in a decade, the US Supreme Court, in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank, case number 13-1211 (January 21, 2015), affirmed the Ninth Circuit by holding that whether two marks may be tacked for purposes of determining priority is a question for the jury.
The Washington Redskins professional football team will soon not only be battling Native Americans over the registrability of the REDSKINS trademark, but will also have to cross swords with the US Government.
The Washington Redskins trademark controversy is far from over. Despite the fact that certain news and sports commentators and mainstream newspapers and organizations have announced that they will no longer use the term "Redskins" when reporting on the National League football team, and the fact that a variety of public figures, including President Obama, have expressed an opinion that the name should be changed, team owner Dan Snyder continues to steadfastly defend the name as expressing only "honor and respect" and state that he has no intention of ever changing it.
Further to our recent Tesla Motors post, Bloomberg and BNA report that Tesla has resolved its trademark dispute with Zhan Baosheng, the individual who registered the TESLA marks in China. Chinese authorities will cancel the existing TESLA Chinese trademark registrations and all web site names registered by Mr. Zahn in China will be transferred to Tesla.
An update to our prior post on the trials and tribulations of Maryland State Sen. Steve Hershey in his trademark battle with The Hershey Company can be found in an article I wrote for LAW360. As always, we will post any updates to this case as they develop.
Sign up to receive email updates from Mintz.
Subscribe Now

Explore Other Viewpoints: