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Cancelation of Trademarks due to First Actual Use After Application

Federal registration of a trademark provides a number of benefits to the trademark owner, including protection throughout the entire country, advantageous litigation position—for example presumption of validity and enhanced monetary damages—and enlistment of the U.S. Customs Service to stop importation of counterfeit goods. The federal trademark system provides two separate avenues for protecting a mark: […]

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Are Trademarks for Beer Names Becoming a Commodity?

While typically we think of finite resources such as oil and coal as commodities, it could be that the next big commodities are names for craft beers and breweries. According to a recent NPR story, which can be foundhere, the craft brewing industry is becoming an increasingly crowded industry with more than 3,000 breweries in […]

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Passing Off and Taking Credit for Architectural Plans

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has issued a decision in Gensler v. Strabala, overturning a district court’s ruling dismissing a complaint for trademark infringement under §43(a) of the Lanham Act. Strabala, a former Design Director and architect for the architectural firm Gensler & Associates, formed his own design firm, 2Define […]

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USPTO Cancels Washington, D.C. NFL Franchise’s Trademark Registrations

The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued a decision yesterday cancelling six federal trademark registrations owned by the Washington, D.C. National Football League franchise. The cancellation proceeding was brought by five Native American petitioners on the basis that the marks disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute in violation of 15 U.S.C. […]

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2014 Supreme Court Cases Relating to Intellectual Property

On January 10, 2014 the Supreme Court agreed to review a variety of intellectual property cases in the upcoming session, including two patent cases, a copyright case, and a trademark case (including Lanham Act claim). A brief overview of these cases is provided and more detail will be available once decisions are entered by the […]

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Flawed Evidence Undercuts “Charbucks” Trademark Suit

In Starbucks Corp. v. Wolfe’s Borough Coffee, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a district court’s decision denying injunctive relief in Starbucks’ trademark case against Black Bear Micro Roastery over Black Bear’s use of “Charbucks” for coffee. Starbucks sued Black Bear in 2001, alleging, among other things, trademark dilution in […]

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Supreme Court: NFL collective licensing of trademarks not immune from Section 1 antitrust scrutiny

Monday the Supreme Court unanimously held the NFL's practice of collectively licensing the trademarks of all 32 individual teams is not immune from antitrust scrutiny under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The NFL argued that because the marks are all licensed through a single entity, NFL Properties, there was no "contract, combination, . . […]

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Today’s eCommerce lesson: There’s no upside to using others’ trademarks in your website meta tags

Those who have a passing familiarity with website design are probably familiar with the concept of meta tags. Meta tags are pieces of data included in the HTML code of a webpage that provide information regarding the content of the page. You can view the code of a webpage you are visiting by clicking the […]

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Second Circuit limits 1-800 Contacts; keyword advertising can be use in commerce

In a recent decision, the Second Circuit reversed a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss in a trademark infringement case. The district court, relying on the Second Circuit's 2005 decision in 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. WhenU.com, Inc., held Google's use of its Adwords and Keyword Suggestion Tool to cause advertising to appear when […]

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