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Unlike most countries, US trademark law generally requires that a mark be in use before it can be protected. The US recognizes common law rights in unregistered marks if they have been adopted in good faith and are in actual use on a product or to provide a service to the public.

Trademarks and Branding: Need Some Ideas for that New Product Name?

January 27, 2015 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The New York Times Magazine had a very interesting article in its January 18, 2014 issue entitled "Call It What It Is." The article, written by Neal Gabler, looks into the methods and ideologies used to create new product brand names.

Don’t Even Think About Advertising a SUPER BOWL Party!

January 26, 2015 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.
On January 6, 2015, Sen. Patrick Leahy introduced Senate bill 23 entitled the “Copyright and Marriage Equality Act.” The bill would amend Section 101 of title 17 of the United States Code by striking the current definitions of “widow” and “widower” and replacing them with the following:
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 US Trademark Office Rings in the New Year with Some Reduced Fees!

January 7, 2015 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

It is not only the price of oil and gas that is dropping! The US Trademark Office has reduced the filing fees for new trademark applications and for registration renewal applications. The previous filing fee for each class in a new trademark application was $325.
Fabric design is a creative art form that has existed for thousands of years. Although the methods for creating such designs have evolved, the purpose and function of such designs has not changed as significantly.
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.
A simmering dispute about ownership of a copyright in photographs has now garnered international attention. As more fully reported in an article in the British newspaper The Telegraph, British photographer David Slater has stated that he intends to bring a copyright infringement suit in the U.S. against Wikimedia, the nonprofit entity behind Wikipedia, focused on photographs taken by a crested black macaque monkey in Indonesia in 2011.

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.

OSPs: Are You Sure You Are Safely Within the DMCA Safe Harbor?

June 17, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), signed into law October 28, 1998, added Section 512 to the US Copyright Act limiting the liability of online service providers for copyright infringement.
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.

OOHRAH! A Few Good Trademarks: The U.S. Military’s Trademark Campaign

May 28, 2014 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

Recently, there was an interesting article in the The New York Times discussing the current state of military trademarks. Many people might think that federal and state government entities and agencies cannot, do not, or should not own exclusive rights in trademarks used in connection with commercialized products and services.
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