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Generic.com: SCOTUS to Consider Whether a Top-Level Domain Creates a Protectable Trademark

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 […]

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ZERO-ing in on the Right Legal Test for Genericness

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 […]

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The Plant Naming Conundrum … Protecting Your Plant Varieties in the Short and Long Term

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 […]

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Gene Simmons Attempts to Trademark Iconic Hand Symbol

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 […]

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Third Circuit: Evidence of secondary meaning must correspond to the asserted mark

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 […]

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First Circuit: District court’s determination that “duck tour” is nongeneric doesn’t hold water

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 […]

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Seventh Circuit: Sanction of no damages for improper witness contact too severe compared to harm

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 […]

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Eleventh Circuit: No likely confusion between stylized logos for competing welding companies

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. […]

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