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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.

Tesla Successfully Resolves Chinese Trademark Dispute

August 7, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.

Court to Sen. Hershey: Tear Down Those Signs

July 30, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.
Further to our recent post about the worldwide trademark trials and tribulations of Anheuser-Busch and its BUDWEISER trademark, we now  report that the up-and-coming electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. has been sued in China for trademark infringement by a Chinese businessman who registered the rights to the TESLA mark in China before the US carmaker entered the Chinese market.
Anheuser-Busch, the venerable American beer brewer, and Budejovicky Budvar NP, a Czech beer brewer, have been fighting since the 19th century over rights around the world to the BUDWEISER trademark. A Czech town called Ceske Budejovice is the original source of this dispute.
The overwhelming public reaction to the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s June 18 decision canceling six REDSKINS trademark registrations on grounds that the mark disparaged Native Americans has been impressive.
A three-judge panel of the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), for the second time and in a 2-1 decision, has held that the REDSKINS trademark used in connection with professional football and related services by the Washington Redskins National Football League team was disparaging to a substantial composite of Native Americans between 1967-1990, the time during which the registrations issued.
Further to our April 23 post on the Pom Wonderful-Coca-Cola U.S. Supreme Court case, the  Court on Thursday June 12 issued an unanimous decision (with Justice Breyer taking no part in the consideration or decision of the case) reversing the Ninth Circuit  and holding that competitors may bring Lanham Act claims, like those brought by Pom, challenging food and beverage labels regulated by the FDCA.

Hershey Is Not So Sweet on Maryland Senator’s HERSHEY Campaign Logo

June 10, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

When you think of The Hershey Company, you think of delicious chocolate candy bars, chocolate kisses, and a fabulous amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Pom Wonderful and Coke in a Juicy Battle at the U.S. Supreme Court

April 23, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

On Monday April 21, Pom Wonderful LLC, the maker of a line of POM WONDERFUL® pomegranate juice products, www.pomwonderful.com, and The Coca-Cola Company, which sells MINUTE MAID® juice products, www.minutemaid.com, battled it out before the U.S. Supreme Court on the issue of whether a private party can bring a claim under  Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act challenging a product label that is regulated under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The City of Houston, Texas has filed a Petition For Writ Of Certiorari with the Supreme Court of the United States asking the Court to interpret Section 2(b) of the Lanham Act to determine whether it prohibits a government entity from federally registering its own flag or coat of arms or other insignia as a mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Can an Emoticon be Protected as a Trademark?

January 6, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Gap Inc. and Diane Von Furstenberg’s company DVF Studio have asked the federal court in the Southern District of New York to rule on whether the heart emoticon <3 can be protected as a trademark.
For many years now, the US Trademark Office has accepted trademark applications based upon a “bona fide intent to use” the applied-for mark on all the goods and/or to provide all of the services listed in the application at the time of filing.

TTAB Refuses to Register “The Slants,” Finding it to be “Disparaging”

October 25, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Racial and ethnic disparagement is a hot topic at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board these days. While a decision is still pending in the latest cancellation action involving the long disputed WASHINGTON REDSKINS professional football team marks, the Board in In re Simon Shiao Tam, recently affirmed a federal trademark examiner’s refusal to register THE SLANTS as a mark for an Oregon rock band composed of Asian Americans on grounds that it was a derogatory slang phrase for people of Asian descent.

Oops! Assignment of Intent-to-Use Trademark Applications: Easy But Not Simple

August 22, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The language in the Trademark Act is very clear on the issue of assignment of intent-to-use applications.
When I think of the Hells Angels, what immediately comes to mind are  a notorious gang of men in leather on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the 1960’s counterculture, and news reports of illicit activity. When I think of Toys “R” Us, what immediately comes to mind are Barbie® dolls, Candyland® board games, Fisher-Price® baby toys, and Lego® blocks.

RG3 and Common Law Trademark Rights: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

July 8, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Following in the footsteps of many sports and entertainment celebrities, the Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III, through his company Thr3escompany LLC, filed a number of US trademark and service mark applications for various marks including his full name as well as his nickname RGIII, sometimes used as RG3.
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