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Trademark Registration Practice is Officially…umm…Well, You’ll See

In perhaps the least surprising trademark decision of the past 12 months, and one that could have been rendered in under 5 pages (rather than the 50 it actually took), the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last Friday held that the Lanham Act’s Section 2(a) bar on registration of marks which “consist of or comprises immoral…or scandalous matter” is an unconstitutional, content-based restriction on speech. In re Brunetti, Appeal No. 2015-1109 (Fed. Cir. December 15, 2017). In that case, Erik Brunetti had toiled for more than 6 years attempting to register his mark, FUCT, for clothing. Those efforts were uniformly unsuccessful despite some weakly-creative arguments that the word, “fuct,” was not actually vulgar, and even if it was, Section 2(a) did not bar registration of “vulgar” marks.

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Booze is Booze, Right? Not so fast...

In a non-precedential decision, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) recently reversed a refusal to register Heritage Distilling Company’s application for the mark, BSB, for “distilled spirits” based on the following mark owned by Black Shirt Brewing Co. for “brewpub services; taproom services; taproom services featuring beer brewed on the premises”:

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Fiona Versus the Counterfeiters: What About Her Rights?

As Fiona the hippo, at the Cincinnati Zoo, battled from being born six weeks premature to weighing 375 pounds with a healthy side of sass, she gathered a huge and fierce following.  #TeamFiona has taken the world by storm.

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TAGS: Intellectual Property, Trademark

UK Votes to Brexit -- Keep Calm and Carry On

This morning, we awoke to the news that the U.K. has voted to exit the European Union. Our first thought was whether this vote, and the expected unwinding of the U.K. from the European legal system, will have any impact on our clients’ European intellectual property rights in the U.K.

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TAGS: Intellectual Property, Trademark

There's An App For That - But Only From Apple...?

I guess we should have seen this coming – or not.  As reported by CNN on Tuesday, Apple has obtained a federal trademark registration for its slogan, THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT.  Well, ok…CNN got it wrong; the PTO has only just accepted Apple’s Statement of Use, which means that a registration is imminent, but we’ll let CNN slide on this one.

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TAGS: Intellectual Property

Interbrand's Top 100 Global Brands for 2010 Released

Interbrand has just released its annual listing of the Top 100 Global Brands.

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TAGS: Branding, Intellectual Property, Marketing

Bad Brand Decision from Audi "Rears" Its Ugly Head?

Another day, another case of a company not bothering to see how its new trademark translates into the native languages of its intended consumers.

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TAGS: Branding, Intellectual Property, Marketing, Trademark

Supreme Court's Ruling in American Needle Creates Uncertainty Over Future of NFL Licensing

In a landmark decision, released (coincidentally?) on the first day of the International Trademark Association’s Annual Meeting, the U.S. Supreme Court held, in American Needle, Inc. v. National Football League, that the NFL’s licensing activities are covered by Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act which prohibits “every contract, combination in the form of a trust or otherwise, or, conspiracy, in restraint of trade.”  As a result, the NFL will now be required to demonstrate, on remand, that such activities comport with the so-called “Rule of Reason.”

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TAGS: Branding, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Marketing, Trademark

Facebook: Now Presenting, "Brand Destruction!"

Since we created an Evolving Media & Technology Team here at KMK, I have been telling brand owners to proactively manage their presence on Facebook by creating an official, corporate, Facebook page and strategically selecting the fan pages and copycat pages to shut down.  After yet another “update” to its site late last week, Facebook has now made this kind of brand management exponentially more difficult for trademark owners.

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TAGS: Branding, Intellectual Property, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark

Brand Dilution At Its Finest: BMW's New "M" Bicycle

Today, BMW announced that, beginning in June, customers can order its new “M” bicycle.  The bike, which you can see courtesy of Autoblog, is nice enough on the eyes.  But one wonders whether BMW has finally gone too far, indiscriminately slapping its “M” brand on something that is less than true to the “M” heritage.

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TAGS: Branding, Intellectual Property, Marketing

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