It seems most everyone has been closely monitoring Taco Bell’s cancellation proceedings directed to federal trademark registrations covering the TACO TUESDAY trademark.  On July 15, 2023, one of the registrants, Spicy Seasonings, LLC, withdrew its registration after decades of ownership, supporting Taco Bell’s allegations that the phrase is generic and therefore not protectable as a trademark.Continue Reading Something to Taco-Bout: Taco Bell Takes on TACO TUESDAY Trademark Registrations

While fashion lovers throughout the European Union will surely be familiar with the pattern, the General Court held that luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton failed to demonstrate that its trademark checkerboard ‘Damier Azur’ pattern, had acquired distinctiveness through use throughout the European Union.Continue Reading If Louis Vuitton Cannot Prove Acquired Distinctiveness, Can You? Checking In After the Louis Vuitton ‘Damier Azur’ Case

I. Introduction

In recent news it was reported that Ikea, a globally well-known furniture company, sent a cease and desist letter to the gaming studio Ziggy following the announced release by the latter of a video game called “The store is closed”. The video game is still in development, but it has been characterized as a survival horror game set in an Ikea-like furniture store called “STYR”. The idea of the video game is to explore, craft weapons, build fortifications and try to survive the night in the furniture store.

Although the video game is unreleased, Ikea discovered that the gaming studio Ziggy was raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign. In total Ziggy was able to already raise several tens of thousands of dollars in a short period of time. From its discovery, Ikea immediately sent a cease and desist letter demanding certain changes as the “game uses a blue and yellow sign with a Scandinavian name on the store, a blue box-like building, yellow vertical stiped shirts identical to those worn by IKEA personnel, a gray path on the floor, furniture that looks like IKEA furniture, and product signage that looks like IKEA signage. All the foregoing immediately suggest that the game takes place in an IKEA store”. Continue Reading Ikea’s Battle Against Horror Games: The Importance of Intellectual Property Rights

On November 21, 2022 the U.S. Supreme Court agreed—after passing on the issue once before—to hear Jack Daniel’s (JDPI) challenge to the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in VIP Prods. LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Props, where the Ninth Circuit affirmed without opinion the district court’s grant of summary judgment to VIP and the dismissal of JDPI’s trademark infringement claim,[1] on the grounds that JDPI could not satisfy either prong of the Rogers test. The Rogers test balances free expression under the First Amendment against the trademark protections of the Lanham Act. The Supreme Court granted certiorari on the questions of whether parody uses of another’s mark receive First Amendment protection from liability under the Lanham Act and whether parody is exempt from claims of dilution by tarnishment under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)(3)(C). The decision could clarify the balance between trademark and the First Amendment, an issue that has long-confounded practitioners.Continue Reading More Bark or Bite? U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether the First Amendment Has the Teeth to Protect Whiskey Bottle Shaped Dog Toy Maker from Jack Daniel’s Lanham Act Claims

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to clarify the extraterritorial reach of the Lanham Act for the first time in seventy years.  The decision will impact corporations’ ability to seek damages for international trademark infringement, and may resolve a circuit split on the applicability of the Lanham Act on foreign defendants’ foreign conduct.  The Court will review the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Abitron Austria GmbH et al. v. Hetronic International Inc. (“Hetronic”) and the extraterritoriality of the Lanham Act, seemingly the Court’s desired outcome after requesting the United States weigh in on Abitron Austria GmbH’s (“Abitron”) certiorari petition filed in January 2022. Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court to Decide the Extraterritorial Application of the Lanham Act

Allegations of trademark infringement against celebrity-founded brands are not new. In 2015, resort-wear brand Island Company LLC sued Kendall and Kylie Jenner for use of the phrase “Run Away, Fall in Love, Never Return,” which resembled Island Company’s trademark phrase “Quit Your Job, Buy a Ticket, Get A Tan, Fall In Love, Never Return”.[1] The case was settled in January 2016. In 2021, an Italian tribunal ordered social media influencer Chiara Ferragni to pull her snow boots from her footwear line, finding infringement on Tecnica group’s trademark for the world-renowned Moonboot.[2] Now, Vans, Inc., a sneaker company born out of 1960s California counter-culture, alleges trademark infringement by MSCHF, a Brooklyn art collective endorsed by rapper Tyga.Continue Reading Fashionable Parody or a Trademark Infringing Wearable Sneaker? The Second Circuit Hears Both Sides.

In a recent Law360 article titled, “Penn State TM Case’s Impact On Merchandising And Beyond,” Crowell attorneys Cheryl Howard and David Ervin discuss the broader industry ramifications of Pennsylvania State University’s lawsuit against Vintage Brand LLC and the favored outcome for Vintage Brand. In the case, Pennsylvania State University filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against

On November 11, 2021 activewear apparel brand lululemon athletica canada inc. (“lululemon”) sent a cease and desist letter to interactive fitness platform Peloton Interactive, Inc. (“Peloton”), alleging that five of Peloton’s products, including four bras and a pair of leggings, were infringing upon six of lululemon’s design patents and that Peloton’s One Luxe Tight infringed upon lululemon’s Align pant trade dress.

Rather than spinning its wheels, on November 24, 2021, Peloton responded with an action for declaratory judgment against lululemon in the Southern District of New York, seeking (1) a determination that Peloton did not infringe lululemon’s design patents, (2) invalidity of these patents, and (3) a declaration that lululemon does not have trade dress rights in the Align pant and/or that Peloton did not infringe upon this trade dress. Specifically, Peloton argues that there are clear and obvious differences between its products and lululemon’s design patents, the presence of the brands’ trademarks on the products eliminates confusion, and the design patents are anticipated and/or obvious based on prior art. For example, Peloton emphasizes that the back of its Peloton Branded Strappy Bra is cut straight across and has a mesh layer, while the design patents depict a scooped back and no mesh layer, among other differences. Peloton also argues that the asserted Align trade dress does not possess the requisite distinctiveness to be protectable, and even if it does, Pelton’s One Luxe Tight is not likely to cause marketplace confusion.
Continue Reading Peloton and lululemon Yet to Work Things Out, File Cross Lawsuits

On Monday, May 20, 2019 the Supreme Court settled a decades-long circuit split regarding a licensee’s ongoing trademark usage rights following the rejection of a trademark license agreement under the U.S. bankruptcy code. In an eight to one decision, the Court found that “rejection breaches a contract but does not rescind it. And that means

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On February 12, 2016, the Federal Bar Association will host a day-long Fashion Law Conference at Parsons School of Design (Starr Foundation Hall in the New School’s stunning new University Center) on the last day of New York Fashion Week!

Speakers include in-house counsel from The Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., Tiffany & Co., New York