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In a non-precedential opinion, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board cancelled two US trademark registrations for the mark PORTON,  finding it to be confusingly similar to the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.
In June 2016, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced that Las Vegas would be awarded an NHL franchise team, the first major professional sports team in the city and the first new expansion team for the NHL in over fifteen years.

Federal Circuit Clarifies What Constitutes Use “In Commerce” Under the Lanham Act

November 29, 2016 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Tiffany Knapp

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.”

DJ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars Get “Funked” With New Copyright Suit Over “Uptown Funk”

November 10, 2016 | Blog | By Brad M Scheller, Daniel Weinger, Anthony Faillaci

On Friday, October 28, 2016, musicians Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars were hit with a copyright infringement suit based on their wildly popular hit “Uptown Funk.”

Belmora Takes Its FLANAX Headache to the U.S. Supreme Court

October 25, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Redskins' Petition to Join SLANTS Case

October 3, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.

IP For Start-Ups: Part V

July 5, 2016 | Blog | By Michael Van Loy

In our fifth "IP for Start-Ups” video, “Copyrights versus Patents to Protect Software Innovations”, Mike discusses the pros and cons of using copyrights or patents to protect your software.

Dilution Update: NYC BEER Is Not Diluted, But The Empire State Building Is

June 30, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

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.

DICKMAN'S Pickles: Just Another Unregistrable Surname

June 29, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The US Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has, again, explained how and when surnames may function as trademarks.

MAYA And MAYARI Are Not Confusingly Similar When Used On Wine

June 28, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

The Federal Circuit has upheld the findings of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that use of the marks MAYA and MAYARI on wine is not likely to cause confusion.

Keep Calm and IP On: Planning for UK IP Post-Brexit

June 27, 2016 | Blog | By Michael Renaud, Brad M Scheller

This past Thursday the Brexit vote sent shockwaves around world, including the IP community and in particular with respect to IP rights in the UK and Europe. But concerns at the moment are speculative as nothing yet has changed.
Trademark rights exist on a country-by-country basis, and the laws in the United States differ in a number of significant ways from other markets. As a result, it is critical that before any non-U.S. company seeks trademark protection in the U.S., it first consider a number of potential obstacles. Use of a company name and its related trademarks in the U.S. is not guaranteed.

PETA Isn't Monkeying Around With Copyright Ownership Rights

March 23, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

As we reported in a recent post, PETA lost its efforts, on behalf of Naruto the monkey, to secure his claim to copyright ownership of his "selfie" photograph. The district court judge held that the copyright law did not recognize an animal's right to own a copyright.

Monkey See, Monkey Sue Doesn’t Fly Under U.S. Copyright Law

February 24, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller

In August 2014, we posted about a copyright ownership dispute involving selfie photographs. The disputed selfie photographs were taken by a monkey named Naruto in Indonesia in 2011.

Top Ten Reasons Why US Trademark Searches are Important to Every Business

February 15, 2016 | Article | By Susan Neuberger Weller

As we ring in the new year, we thought we would remind everyone why the importance of a comprehensive trademark search for a new company name and for a new trademark cannot be overstated:

Washington Redskins Haven’t Won Yet: Why the Constitutionality of Section 2(a) is Not Yet Final

January 4, 2016 | Blog | By Susan Neuberger Weller, Serge Subach

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”).
Today the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the section of the Lanham Act which bans registration of "disparaging" trademarks is an unconstitutional violation of First Amendment free speech.
George Bailey stands on a bridge begging for another chance at life. Upon being granted a second chance, he joyously runs home to embrace his family. As the community of Bedford Falls rallies around him and raises funds to save the endangered Building and Loan and George Bailey personally from an unjustified failure, someone proclaims a toast to George Bailey, “the richest man in town.”
The Federal Circuit has decided to revisit the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act in the case of In re Shiao Tam, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 6840 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 27, 2015). Section 2(a) of the Lanham act allows the USPTO to reject the registration of a trademark that is immoral, scandalous, or disparaging.
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