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Category: Generic marks


Generic.com: SCOTUS to Consider Whether a Top-Level Domain Creates a Protectable Trademark
November 15, 2019
Post by Nicholas J. Krob
Much to the chagrin of companies such as Bayer, DuPont, Westinghouse, and Motorola—former owners of trademark rights in, respectively, the terms “aspirin,” “cellophane,” “laundromat,” and “flip phone”— U.S. law does not protect terms that identify the general nature of a product or service itself rather than the source thereof, or “generic” terms, as trademarks.  What if, however, these .......
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ZERO-ing in on the Right Legal Test for Genericness
June 27, 2018
Post by Blog Staff
In Royal Crown Co. v. The Coca-Cola Co., the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) vacated a decision of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) dismissing Royal Crown’s opposition to the registration of Coca-Cola’s trademarks for soft drinks and sports drinks with the term ZERO. The CAFC concluded that the TTAB used the wrong legal test to determine whether ZERO is generic, o.......
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The Plant Naming Conundrum … Protecting Your Plant Varieties in the Short and Long Term
February 15, 2018
Post by Christine Lebron-Dykeman
Development of a new plant cultivar or varietal often requires substantial research and development. These costs can be recovered, however, if a breeder is able to successfully market, sell and/or license the resulting product, while maintaining exclusive ownership rights therein.  There are, of course, a variety of intellectual property protection schemes available to maintain those exclusive right.......
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Gene Simmons Attempts to Trademark Iconic Hand Symbol
June 21, 2017
Post by Brandon W. Clark
Kiss lead singer, Gene Simmons, recently filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register the famous rock ‘n’ roll “horns” hand gesture as a trademark. Simmons filed the application June 9th to register “a hand gesture with the index and small fingers extended upward and the thumb extended perpendicular” as a trademark for “live performances and persona.......
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Third Circuit: Evidence of secondary meaning must correspond to the asserted mark
August 08, 2008
Post by Blog Staff
In a decision Wednesday, the Third Circuit affirmed a district court's grant of summary judgment in a trademark case, finding the asserted mark not protectible as a matter of law.The district court granted summary judgment that the mark was generic. On appeal, the Third Circuit held there was a genuine issue of fact as to genericness, but that even if it the mark was descriptive, there was no genuine issue a.......
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First Circuit: District court's determination that "duck tour" is nongeneric doesn't hold water
June 24, 2008
Post by Blog Staff
In a lengthy decision last week, the First Circuit held a district court erred in finding the term "duck tour" nongeneric in the context of sightseeing tours on amphibious vehicles. The district court, based largely on the nongenericness of this aspect of the parties' marks, found the plaintiff was likely to succeed in its infringement claims, and entered a preliminary injunction. The defendant ap.......
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Seventh Circuit: Sanction of no damages for improper witness contact too severe compared to harm
February 25, 2008
Post by Blog Staff
In a decision Friday, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a jury verdict of trademark infringement, but reversed the district court's ruling holding the plaintiff had forfeited damages because of improper conduct towards a prospective witness. The court dealt with whether the burden of proof for the sanction was by clear and convincing evidence or as the district court concluded, by a mere preponderance of the evide.......
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Eleventh Circuit: No likely confusion between stylized logos for competing welding companies
December 20, 2007
Post by Blog Staff
In a decision this week, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a grant of summary judgment of no service mark infringement. The court held that there were no triable issues of fact as to whether the companies' service marks were confusingly similar, the existence of actual confusion, and the defendant's intent.More details of Welding Servs., Inc. v. Foreman after the jump.Welding Services and Welding Technologie.......
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Injunction against trademark "disparagement" reversed; no such claim under the Lanham Act
September 27, 2007
Post by Blog Staff
In a decision yesterday, the Ninth Circuit vacated a preliminary injunction preventing an individual from "making any comments that could be construed as to disparage" a possible trademark and logo. The court concluded that the injunction was improperly granted since the plaintiff failed to present a likelihood of success on the merits by failing to show a likelihood of confusion, and that no claim for .......
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First Circuit: "M4" generic for certain carbine firearms, summary judgment affirmed
May 21, 2007
Post by Blog Staff
The First Circuit on Friday held that, in the context of certain carbine firearms, the term "M4" was generic, and therefore not subject to trademark protection. The court found that notwithstanding a registration on the principal register, the evidence presented was such that the only reasonable inference was that M4 was generic in the minds of the purchasing public for the carbine firearm the military.......
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The Truth Be Told, "Lawyers" are Generic
April 13, 2007
Post by Blog Staff
The truth is finally out — "Lawyers" are generic. Really, "lawyers.com" is generic. In a case before the Federal Circuit, the Court affirmed the holding of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) which denied registration of the mark LAWYERS.COM for providing an online interactive database featuring information exchange in the fields of law, legal news, and legal services as a gener.......
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Ninth Circuit: Disinfectable not trademarkable
April 13, 2007
Post by Blog Staff
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday issued a decision regarding whether the term "disinfectable" could serve as a trademark in the context of nail files and related goods. The court held that it could not, as disinfectable was the generic term for a product that is capable of being disinfected. As a result, the plaintiff's trademark infringement suit failed as a matter of law, because tra.......
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The attorneys of McKee, Voorhees & Sease, P.L.C. designed this blog as an informational and educational resource about intellectual property law for our clients, other attorneys, and the public as a whole. Our goal is to provide cutting-edge information about recent developments in intellectual property law, including relevant case law updates, proposed legislation, and intellectual property law in the news.

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