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A federal jury in New York has found Agence France-Presse and Getty Images Inc. willful in their infringement of Daniel Morel’s copyrights in eight photographs of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, and ordered them to pay damages of $1.2 million.
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.

The (Best) Method to the Madness Behind Choosing a Company Name or Mark

July 22, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

he Wall Street Journal ran a print article on July 18, 2013 titled “What’s Behind Those Quirky Startup Names?” in which the author Lindsey Gellman discussed the derivation behind unique startup names such as Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg, and Zaarly.
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.

Trademark Protection in the European Community Expanded to 28 Countries

June 28, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

It took eight years of negotiations, but Croatia will  finally join the  European Community effective  July 1, 2013. This is good news for those who  own or seek trademark and design protection through the European Community system since protection will now be expanded to cover  28 Member States.

Copyright Infringement Damages Upheld in File Sharing Case

June 28, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The Tenebaum copyright infringement file sharing case, about which we first reported in an earlier blog, reached another milestone this week when the First Circuit upheld the jury’s $675, 000 damages award.

Contributory Infringement and Copyrights:

June 24, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Right on the heels of our blog on trademarks and contributory infringement, comes a case in which the court refused to dismiss a claim against Amazon for sales by third parties of allegedly infringing photographs on its site.
Counterfeit goods seem to be everywhere, and efforts to police their ubiquitous existence often seem futile. However, a recent decision involving counterfeit Coach products should inspire those who host vendors of counterfeit products to rethink their business strategy.

More About Trademark Surnames: The Borghese Dispute

June 17, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Right on the heels of our surname blog comes a New York Times article on a long-running trademark litigation over rights to the Borghese surname. The Borgheses hail from an Italian noble family and their using the family history for marketing purposes is what prompted a lawsuit which goes to trial this summer in New York.

Louboutin Sees Red Again: Protecting Color as a Trademark

June 12, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Christian Louboutin filed suit last week in Federal District Court in New York against Charles Jourdan Fashion Footwear and unnamed companies and John and Jane Does for trademark counterfeiting and infringement and other related claims based upon the Defendants’ sales of women’s shoes bearing red soles.

Why Can’t I Use My Own Name? : Trademarks and Surnames

June 6, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

There are many “myths” that float about in the general public about what can and cannot function as a trademark. For example, people often tell me that they “know” that “common words” can never be protected as trademarks.

The Latest Update on the New gTLD Program

June 3, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

It has been a long time since we had any notable updates on the gTLD process to report.  However, after a slow start, the new gTLD program is now in full swing. On March 22, 2013, ICANN released the first round of Initial Evaluations to the general public.

Laches, Acquiescence, and Trademark Injunctions

May 22, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

On May 8, a long time manufacturer of ceremonial paddles marketed to fraternities and sororities filed a petition for certiorari with the US Supreme Court seeking relief from an injunction barring him from using Greek organizations’ trademarks in his advertising.

The Issues of Trademark Infringement and Dilution Go “Wild”

May 20, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Those of us in a certain age bracket will remember Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” television program that first began in 1963. The Emmy Award-winning show’s first run ended in 1986, and the show went into production again in 2002 for broadcast on the Animal Planet network.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN”) is the organization that oversees domain names worldwide.  It recently began accepting new applications for expanding the number of generic top-level domains (“gTLDs”) on the Internet.

A Primer on Policing Your Trademark

April 10, 2013 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Trademark owners have a duty to police their mark.  This applies to all types of marks – brand names, slogans, color, product shapes, or even a smell. The cost of dropping the ball on this duty can range from a bar on future enforcement of your rights against a particular company to a complete loss of all trademark rights.
Rapper Dr. Dre and the company he co-founded, Beats Electronics, LLC, are on the offensive at the US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board challenging a multitude of third-party applications for marks which consist of or contain the word “Beat”.
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