Impaneled in Seattle

I’m here now for tomorrow’s McCarthy Institute and Microsoft Corporation Symposium, “Trademark Law and Its Challenges 2017” at the Amazon Corporate Conference Center. My panel looks like this: 9:50AM-11:00AM Trademark Disparagement and the First Amendment Marc Levy, Partner, Seed IP Law Group (Moderator) Tom McCarthy, Senior Professor, USF School of Law Lorelei Ritchie, Administrative Trademark Judge, USPTO TTAB Ronald Coleman, Partner, Archer & Greiner Makalika Naholowaa, Attorney, Corporate, External & Legal Affairs, Microsoft Stephen Coates, Senior Counsel, Amazon Yes, that does seem like a lot to pack into 70 minutes.  But I have carefully chosen 26 words and I am,…

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Fraud, trademark, and rights

Originally posted 2012-12-30 15:00:10. Republished by Blog Post PromoterMises Blog: This is my main problem with current trademark law — that in transferring the customer-fraud-based right to trademark holders, the fraud basis is lost over time, as the trademark right is conceived of as a right of the trademark holder. Then it gets broadened and extended, as all IP law does, just like money is continually debased and rights are continually diluted — for example, now trademark law has the horrendous “anti-dilution” cause of action, which does not even require “consumer confusion,” which at least standard trademark infringement claims do. Read more

Bratz, foiled again! (Bumped and updated)

Originally posted 2014-01-22 13:44:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter First, December’s 15, 2009’s story: Remember the Bratz dolls case, and the phenomenal legal fees application that followed? It’s back!   The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the trial judge’s order basically liquidating the Bratz.  Here’s what the WSJ Law Blog reported last week: The Ninth Circuit on Wednesday ruled that Bratz maker MGA Entertainment can continue selling its dolls, despite the stinging defeat it suffered last year a jury when a Riverside, Calif., jury awarded Mattel, Inc. $100 million in damages in a closely followed copyright-infringement lawsuit. . .... Read more

Give bees a summons

Originally posted 2013-08-05 13:37:46. Republished by Blog Post PromoterYes, another slogan lawsuit — one of my favorite topics (also here and here). A Fort Lauderdale company has sued the makers of the “Bee Movie” over the use of their slogan, “Give Bees a Chance.”Nick Daly of the Google Copyright blog writes in: I’ve got another great slogan lawsuit for you. Looks like a company that sells cosmetics containing honey is suing Dreamworks and Paramount over the slogan “Give Bees a Chance,” which is registered to the cosmetics company and was used in television commercials for the movie. It’s a total... Read more

Those who are not with us today

Originally posted 2013-08-15 15:06:09. Republished by Blog Post PromoterCNN has a nice piece on “Brands We Loved and Lost in 2009.” Okay, we didn’t really “love” Home Depot’s Expo design centers and we never quite could let down our guard about Microsoft’s Encarta.  But Kodachrome?  A branding icon. And whereas I may not really pine for GM’s Saturn, well, the demise of the Pontiac nameplate — brand-wise, that’s just plain tragic. What’s the moral of the story?   It’s one that doesn’t only apply to startups:  Brand equity, ultimately, is not a business plan.  Or a business.  At least not forever. Read more

Certification and its discontents

Jeanne Fromer asks, in the Stanford Law Review: What do a trendy kosher restaurant in SoHo, an independent movie about a serial killer, and a Swiss watchmaker have in common? Each has been excluded by a certifier from employing its legally protected certification mark in ways that seem to run counter to the certification mark’s purposes of consumer protection and promotion of competition. Each of these businesses has either been disqualified by a certifier from getting a certification mark or been manipulated by a certifier into securing a certification mark: a kosher food certification withheld from the restaurant until it changed... Read more