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Trademark Searching: The Not-So-Glamorous, Yet All-Too-Important Step in Brand Identification

When you are in the process of branding your company, products, or services, the idea of trademark searching can sound boring and maybe even appear to be an unnecessary expense. However, a proper trademark search can prevent the stress and costs of rebranding and defending a possible law suit, which can be in the realm […]

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Intellectual Property Protection Options for Software

In a previous blog post, I discussed some of the recent updates issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office regarding patent eligible subject matter and software patents. As anyone who deals with software patents is aware, there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether software is patent eligible subject matter. While the […]

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Political Campaigns & Unauthorized Music

As the presidential caucuses approach so do the opportunities for political candidates to end up in the headlines for using unauthorized music in their campaigns. In nearly every campaign cycle you hear about a recording artist upset that a politician or campaign used the artist’s music without authorization. A list of notable disputes include Bruce […]

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Federal Circuit Holds that USPTO Can’t Deny Trademarks as Offensive or Disparaging

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, the Federal Circuit  held that a portion of § 2(a) of the Lanham Act is unconstitutional in a 10-2 decision. The decision was made in In re Simon Shiao Tam, an appeal from the Trademark Office. Mr. Tam is a member of an Asian American rock band called THE SLANTS. […]

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Who owns the Trademark: Distributor v. Manufacturer

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has previously held that in the absence of an agreement between a manufacturer and a distributor, there is a legal presumption that the manufacturer is the owner of the trademark. The presumption that the manufacturer is the owner of a disputed mark may be rebutted. In determining which […]

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Peace, Love, and Trademarks

Federal Trademark registration allows the owner of a mark to enforce their rights throughout the U.S. Once a trademark registration is filed, however, those rights can be challenged either through litigation or though opposition proceedings instituted at the USPTO. In particular, a registered trademark can be challenged on the basis that it is likely to cause […]

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Cancellation of the Washington Pro-Football Team’s Trademark Affirmed by District Court

In 2014, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) cancelled six trademark registrations related to the Washington “Redskins.”The marks were found to disparage Native Americans; Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)), prohibits the registration of disparaging marks. Following the cancellation, the mark owner appealed the decision to the District Court for […]

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Geographical Scope of Permanent Injunctions Challenged

  Federal trademark rights are generally enforceable throughout the United States.  However, confusion can arise where contrary decisions have been made by district courts in different geographical regions relating to the same mark. The Fourth Circuit’s March decision in Georgia Pacific Consumer Prods. LP v. Von Dreble Corp, an appeal from the Eastern District of […]

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