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Second Circuit: revisions to Federal Trademark Dilution Statute revive Starbucks claim
February 16, 2007

    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 was amended on October 6, 2006, while the case was on appeal, and now....... Read More


    India's Union Cabinet approves accession to Madrid Protocol
    February 08, 2007

      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 fine a single application and seek regi....... Read More


      Seventh Circuit: single sale insufficient use in commerce to support trademark registration
      February 08, 2007

        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 no secondary meaning, so the plaintiff had no trademark rights to enforce. Ultimately, the....... Read More


        TTAB now allows citation of nonprecedential opinions
        January 24, 2007

          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USPTO Official Gazette yesterday, the TTAB has changed its rules, now allowing citation to TTAB decisions designated non-precedential. Under the former rule, any non-precedential decisions cited before the TTAB were disregarded. Now, while only opinions designated as precedential are binding on the TTAB, a non-precedential opinion "may be cited for whatever persuasive value it might hav....... Read More


          Cisco's General Counsel blogs about dispute with Apple over iPhone trademark
          January 23, 2007

            In an interesting PR move, Mark Chandler, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Cisco Systems, has posted an informative description of the Apple-Cisco iPhone trademark lawsuit on one of Cisco's blogs. Commentary on the blog, while mixed, appears to be predominantly positive, particularly by those who did not understand Cisco's legal position when the lawsuit was announced. This could be a foresha....... Read More


            Ketchup makers battle over rights to "red zone"
            January 22, 2007

              Ketchup giant Heinz and rival ketchup maker Red Gold are embroiled in a trademark dispute over the right to use "Red Zone" in promotions associated with football games. In football, the red zone is the common name of the area between the 20-yard line and the end zone, and a team's offense is often measured by how well they perform once they enter into the opponent's red zone. Red Gold engages in promotional ac....... Read More


              University of Texas sues over use of "sawed-off" horns logo
              January 22, 2007

                The University of Texas has sued Aggieland Outfitters, a retailer in College Station, Texas (home of rival university Texas A&M) over its use of a modified version of the Texas Longhorns logo. The original logo and the modified version appear below: The retailer has been selling merchandise bearing the "sawed off" logo since 1997, but Texas did not object until it filed suit on December 4, 20....... Read More


                Trademark "use in commerce" must be lawful to build trademark rights
                January 17, 2007

                  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 with the Tenth Circuit, apparently the only other Court of Appeal to have d....... Read More


                  "Trademark" as a trademark?
                  January 12, 2007

                    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 records indicates that there are ....... Read More


                    Starbucks loses Korean appeal, Starpreya can continue to use name there
                    January 12, 2007

                      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 Budweiser and Budvar, show the difficulties that can arise when....... Read More


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