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Trademark “use in commerce” must be lawful to build trademark rights

When is a use in commerce not sufficient to build trademark rights? When that use is unlawful. The Ninth Circuit, in a dispute between two manufacturers of antioxidants made from olive extract, held in an issue of first impression in that circuit that unlawful use in commerce cannot support federal trademark rights. This decision agrees […]

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“Trademark” as a trademark?

Can the word "trademark" be a trademark itself? Breckenridge Brewery sells Trademark Pale Ale, which raises this interesting issue. Images of Breckenridge's packaging can be seen below: Under trademark law, there is no restriction on use of "trademark" as a trademark, as long as it meets the statutory requirements. For example, a search of USPTO […]

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2006 TTAB year in review

John Welch at The TTABlog has compiled a list of all citable opinions of the TTAB in 2006 organized by the substantive legal issue in each decision. This is a useful tool when looking for the most recent TTAB case law on a particular issue. The 57 citable decisions in 2006 are almost double the […]

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Limitations of a Claim Come from the Claim Language Itself

In E-Pass Technologies (“E-Pass”) v. 3Com Corp., Palm Inc., palmOne, Inc. and Handspring, Inc. and Visa International Service Association and Visa U.S.A., Inc. and Palmsource, Inc. (“3Com”), the district court’s holding of final summary judgment of non-infringement by 3Com was affirmed by the Federal Circuit. At issue was a patent (“the ‘311 patent”) entitled “Method […]

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Starbucks loses Korean appeal, Starpreya can continue to use name there

The Korean Supreme Court today denied an appeal by Starbucks to cancel a rival's trademark there. Specifically, the Court noted that Starbucks was not well-known in Korea when the rival coffee provider (who uses a similar logo) registered its trademark. MVS previously blogged about the appeal here. This case, along with the ongoing saga between […]

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Cisco sues Apple over iPhone trademark

Apple, the company that dominates the digital music player market with the iPod, announced this week at the annual MacWorld show in San Francisco that Apple will be entering another lucrative consumer electronics market: the mobile phone. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced his company's newest offering: the iPhone. Apple's stock increased 10% just from the […]

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Sioux Falls inventor files one millionth electronic trademark application with USPTO

The USPTO recently received the one millionth trademark application filed electronically via its TEAS system. It took just under ten years for the one millionth electronic application to be filed, as the TEAS system first became available in November, 1997. The applicant, Donald Junck of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was flown out to the USPTO […]

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“Bare Licensee” Lacks Standing to Sue for Infringement

In Propat International Corp & David Find and Helene Glasser (“Propat”) v. RPsot International Limted, Zafar Khan, Kenneth Barton and Terrance Tomkow (“Rpost”), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision that Propat lacked standing to sue for infringement and, on the cross-appeal, affirmed the district court’s order denying RPost’s request for an award of […]

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“Use in commerce” not necessary to support trademark opposition, just use in the United States

The Federal Circuit, reversing the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB"), found that a Canadian company who arguably only did business in Canada could oppose a trademark application based on "spillover" use of its unregistered trademark in the United States. The Canadian company, First Niagara Insurance Brokers, opposed several trademark applications filed by a United […]

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Anheuser-Busch and Budvar reach agreement, but trademark fights continue

United States brewer Anheuser-Busch, maker of Budweiser beer, has reached an agreement with Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar, to distribute Budvar's Czechvar lager. This agreement is interesting because the two companies have been involved in trademark disputes around the world over which company has the right to use the name "Budweiser." Budvar's beer is sold as […]

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