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Merchant of Baloney

Originally posted 2014-10-26 19:37:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Hilarious posting on John Welch’s TTAB Blog about what looks like PTO connivance in the wild and wacky career of would-be trademark king Leo “Likelihood of Derision” Stoller.

There is a Merchant of Venice restaurant out there, though, John. Doesn’t sound so kosher, but I wonder what they charge for the quarter-pounder of flesh?

Update: No Go for Shmoe’s Ho’s

Originally posted 2010-12-31 13:25:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

In January we blogged about the trademark dustup concerning the high-class Mustang gentlemen’s establishment. Now we learn that, as expected, Lance Gilman bought the ranch but not the good will. Lance Gilman can put his tarts in the old pink-stucco building that housed the Mustang Ranch but he can’t use the name.

Lance’s momma must be real disappoin’et.

NB: Yes, I know about the extra apostrophe. I’m open to suggestion as to a better way to pluralize the neologism, “ho.”

When It Absolutely, Positively Has to Match the Dinette

Originally posted 2005-08-17 18:09:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

You’ve heard about the FedEx Furniture trademark kerfuffle by now, haven’t you? Sort of story that kind of blogs itself.

UPDATE: Interesting to see the threads this has spawned, though….

Dear Linus: Trademarks are not Security Blankets (UPDATED!)

Originally posted 2011-08-16 12:34:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Dana Blankenhorn understands how trademark law works. Evidently, Linus Torvald’s lawyers don’t. And if Dana’s wrong and Linus is right, why, that will be an interesting new chapter in the IP rent-grab-a-thon: Open source trademarks, where quality control (the sine qua non of trademark licensing) is, to say the least, besides the point.

UPDATED:  Luis Villa writes, in the comments, regarding this post, originally posted August 24, 2005:

Those articles are more than four years old now, Ron, and the policy has proven fairly robust- as far as I know there have been no Linux(tm)-related trademark lawsuits since the policy was put in place, and all major Linux vendors support the policy. (That said, licensing is now free, rather than having a nearly de minimis cost, as it has been folded into the work of the Linux Foundation.)  (Read the rest..)

Infamy or Praise blog gets scary

Originally posted 2011-07-15 00:16:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Colin Samuels is threatening drastic action to commemorate World Intellectual Property Day, which, of course, is today.

Of course. We’re all over that.

BlawgReview jumps the shark

Originally posted 2006-03-13 11:00:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What should be the last edition is up here. Stick a fork in it; it’s done.

UPDATE: Colin Samuels seems to agree; the redoubtable (and eminently dignified) blokes at Law Review Central vow revenge, or something. (What a bunch of clowns.)

Trademarks are words

Originally posted 2007-02-25 17:00:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Wendy Davis argues that online search advertising isn’t trademark use at all, and here’s why:

People use search engines to discover information not just about companies, but also about their competitors and critics. It’s easy to understand why some companies might not be happy with this state of affairs, but their recourse is to offer better or cheaper goods or services, or to counter critics with arguments, as opposed to filing trademark infringement lawsuits.

That’s the position the EFF has taken, and they’re often approximately right. Here’s their brief, too.

Now, this argument didn’t by and large fly when it came to domain names — usually, though there were exceptions, and important ones. I am leaning toward Wendy Davis’s view. (I wish I could figure out from the blog she writes on, Just an Online Minute, who she is — a journalist? A lawyer? Too common of a name to Google.) That doesn’t mean that false and misleading uses — such as buying the search term TIMEX to sell counterfeit Timex watches, or to sell other watches entirely without in any way commenting on or otherwise directly involving Timex watches — should be exempt from Lanham Act liability merely because the promotion of the discussion, commercial or otherwise, is by Internet search term.

But there should not be a per se violation for anyone but Timex to buy that search term, either. Such a rule essentially limits the public’s, and the trade’s, ability to promote the discussion of a topic, even one protected by a trademark. It also would outlaw lawful alternative means of distribution of bona fide trademark-protected goods as well — and this is a growing area of trademark “enforcement” by trademark owners who want, though they have no right, to control how, by whom and for how much their products are sold.

Trademarks, like all intellectual property, are a narrow category of monopoly over the use of a source indicator such as a word, logo or similar device. The courts should leave it to Congress to say if it wants to extend that monopoly to search engines. And Congress should decline to do so, if it’s ever actually asked.  Now, like Hollywood, the trademark trust — led by INTA (of which my law firm is a member and I am an active participant) — usually gets what it wants when it does ask, so watch this space if, as expected, the courts don’t go the way the trademark “industry” wants them to.

IP gone bad.

Originally posted 2012-09-19 14:27:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

He felt burned by his patent lawyer, Michael McKenna, so he went back and killed him.

Reversal Strummed Up in Gibson Guitars Case

Originally posted 2011-12-23 11:45:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The AP reports:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. Nashville-based Gibson Guitar Corporation has lost a legal battle. A federal appeals court has ruled that a competitor‘s copy of Gibson’s popular Les Paul model does not infringe on Gibson’s trademark.

Here’s a link to the decision.

We blogged on this story a while back and expressed some doubt about the lower-court decision. Guess now it’s Gibson‘s turn to fret.

“Scandal” at the TTAB

Originally posted 2009-09-17 14:01:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

You’d hardly think it possible any more. Frankly our sensibilities are too delicate to blog on this story, but that’s why there’s always the the Trademark Blog.

eBay beats the gripe rap

Eric Goldman reports on a California case that holds eBay not liable for bum feedback:

This risk of liability is the dark side of the “Web 2.0” and the emphasis on “user-generated content.” It’s all fun and games until someone serves a subpoena–and when users realize that responding candidly to those seemingly innocuous requests for feedback might lead to the courthouse, we should expect to see either platitudes or silence.

Essex County Hall of RecordsAs usual I like Eric’s comment, but I don’t understand this one.  It’s when the subpoena is served that the fun and games start!

Maybe he just doesn’t know what fun is.

Trademark on the Left Bank

Originally posted 2006-02-05 01:40:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Interesting discussion, on one level or another, among non-specialists including Matthew Yglesias of a leftish stripe on the politics of trademark infringement at TPMCafe. They’re disappointed that Democrats are going along with the proposed changes to the federal dilution statute, and they should be. Yglesias links back to a column by Atrios, who says, “The original purpose of trademark law was to protect consumers from confusion, not to protect the sanctity of a brand.” Who’s said that before?

UPDATE:  Another point of view, via Instapundit.