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Second Circuit rejects famous marks doctrine

In a recent decision, the Second Circuit held that a trademark holder who has abandoned use of its mark in the United States cannot prevent others from using the mark because the mark is famous in the United States based on use in a foreign country. This concept is referred to as the "famous marks […]

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Trademark infringement helping the needy?

In November, 2006, approximately $200,000 worth of action figures were detained at the United States-Canada border by US Customs and Border Protection. They were stopped under the authority granted to the US Customs and Border Protection office, to prevent importation of goods that violate another company’s trademark or copyright rights. In order to take advantage […]

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Leo Stoller v. Google: the final chapter?

Over at the TTABlog, John Welch has a report about what appears to be the final chapter in notorious “intellectual property entrepreneur” Leo Stoller’s fight with Google over the rights to the Google trademark. Mr. Stoller, through his various entities, had both opposed Google’s application to register the Google mark and also filed for registration […]

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Seventh Circuit issues a stinker of an opinion in copyright case

The Seventh Circuit succinctly sums up the field of commerce of its decision today in JCW Investments, Inc. v. Novelty, Inc.: Somewhat to our surprise, it turns out that there is a niche market for farting dolls, and it is quite lucrative. The case presents some interesting issues, such as whether the copyright in such […]

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USPTO to cease emailing full trademark office actions (updated 4/27)

In an effort to simplify transmittal of trademark office actions, the USPTO today announced that it will soon stop emailing trademark office actions to applicants. Instead, emails will be sent containing a link to the office action in the TDR (Trademark Document Retrieval) system. This will avoid the problems of large attachments requiring multiple emails […]

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Where is the real “Icebox of the Nation”?

In what can only be described as a chilling trademark dispute, the cities of International Falls, Minnesota and Fraser, Colorado are battling over the right to call their respective cities the "Icebox of the Nation." At issue is International Falls' trademark registration, number 1599660, for "COLD WEATHER TESTED CITY OF INTERNATIONAL FALLS IN THE ICEBOX […]

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Second Circuit: revisions to Federal Trademark Dilution Statute revive Starbucks claim

The Second Circuit recently ruled that coffee giant Starbucks could proceed with its trademark dilution case against a defendant using the mark “Mr. Charbucks.” In 2005, the lower court found after a bench trial that Starbucks had not proven actual dilution of its trademark, the requirement under the earlier version of the statute. The statute […]

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Seventh Circuit: single sale insufficient use in commerce to support trademark registration

In Custom Vehicles, Inc. v. Forest River, Inc., the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that a trademark plaintiff did not engage in sufficient use in commerce to support trademark rights. Even worse for the plaintiff, the court held that even if there were sufficient use, the mark at issue was descriptive, and there was […]

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India’s Union Cabinet approves accession to Madrid Protocol

Today, India’s Union Cabinet approved India’s accession to the Madrid Protocol, the international treaty relating to registration of trademarks. The next step will be introduction of Bill in India’s Parliament to finalize the accession and to amend India’s trademark laws to include the requirements of the Madrid Protocol. The Madrid Protocol permits trademark applicants to […]

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TTAB now allows citation of nonprecedential opinions

In a notice posted in the USPTO Official Gazette yesterday, the TTAB has changed its rules, now allowing citation to TTAB decisions designated non-precedential. Under the former rule, any non-precedential decisions cited before the TTAB were disregarded. Now, while only opinions designated as precedential are binding on the TTAB, a non-precedential opinion “may be cited […]

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