Stealing the Language

Q the Lawyers

A report in the online Financial Express says that Nissan is suing Audi over “Q.” To wit: “We are seeking to bar Audi from using any names that could infringe on Nissan’s right over the letter “Q,” she added. Quazy. It’s been ten years since the Supreme Court said that if you establish secondary meaning, you can have trademark rights in a certain color. But I guess when you can’t win back your own name…

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Philosopher Kings to Rule on Ten Commandments

My new linking buddy (shout out to my dawg!) Joe “The Moderate Voice Thrown Across the Room” Gandelman reports that SCOTUS is going to consider the constitutionality of the practice of placing the Ten Commandments in courthouses. (Remember that the First Amendment is one of our topics here.) A few thoughts: I wrote on this a few years ago in a somewhat purple essay for the Federalist Society. My point there was that the use... Read more

Best of 2014: Nothing but err

Originally published on February 21, 2014. In October of 2013 I blogged here about my participation in a panel on “trademark misuse” at the annual meeting of the AIPLA, where, among other things, I got to hear from Tony Zeuli of Merchant and Gould, PC in Minneapolis, who discussed his success in turning back a lawsuit brought by “Michael Jordan against the Chicago-area Jewel / Osco food store chain based on various theories arising from that distinctly... Read more

Petty taxes

Marty Schwimmer prints an excerpt from this story, about a guy who wants to buy a domain name to start up a new business, but can’t afford the $1000 for the name he wants and which is being warehoused by a domain seller. The would-be buyer doesn’t even counter-offer — why not? He probably could have gotten the domain for under $500 if the starting price was $1000. The domain seller feels guilty. Writes Marty,... Read more

Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize! That’s what you get from —

Roller derby! Quinn Heraty reports on the trademark battle to make us forget SPAM v. Spamarrest — the CRACKERJACK derby: Frito-Lay has filed an opposition to the registration of Crackerjack’s trademark with the USPTO. Crackerjack is [the professional name of] one of the founders of the Mad Rollin’ Dolls roller derby league and is the president of the WFTDA,  an association of 78 roller derby leagues from every corner of the United States. Crackerjack currently... Read more


Instapundit reports: DOES APPLE REALLY WANT TO CRIPPLE YOUR IPHONE? “The leading computer company plans to build a system that will sense when people are trying to video live events — and turn off their cameras.” Sounds like totalitarian governments would love this. . . . UPDATE: Reader James Eric Johnson emails: For a company that built a reputation on the back of its “1984: Big Brother” ad, this type of thing is perplexing. Apple has... Read more

Half a decade of CONFUSION

This week begins begins the sixth year of blogging at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®. LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® has been recognized by a number of list-makers from time to time and, what is very gratifying, seems frequently to be among a handful of “established” soft IP blogs honored with a link on the starting blogroll of new entrants into the field. The numbers, in terms of posts, are now somewhat distorted by repostings of “best of” selections... Read more

Those who are not with us today

CNN 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... Read more

Meet some bloggers. Whatever.

John Welch asks, in his naive but charming way: TTABlog query: Who, if anyone, owns the rights to the mark MEET THE BLOGGERS? I coined the term in 2005, and Marty Schwimmer and I hosted the first two events (San Diego and Toronto) under that title. Ron Coleman joined us for the third, in Chicago. And Jeremy Phillips (IPKAT) was responsible for the Berlin meeting. [Ms. Chestek! Ms. Pamela Chestek! Please pick up the white... Read more

Carpe Donktum toddler meme

Why can’t we all just meme along?

As it says in the tweet-within-a-tweet above, today the New York State Supreme Court dismissed all claims against our client, Logan Cook. He’s “Carpe Donktum,” and this is the infamous “toddler meme lawsuit.” It was brought under a bunch of different legal theories of misappropriation, including some rather… original ones. There were also other defendants and the claims against them were dismissed too. Twitter used its publication of this video (the so-called meme) as its... Read more