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Trademark Law Archives

It's Beyoncé vs. Feyoncé in a trademark infringement suit

When a person becomes a big enough celebrity, their name becomes valuable property. Endorsements and other uses of their name are so valuable that celebrities often take the legal step of trademarking their name, whether it is their legal name or a stage name.

U.S. Supreme Court to hear patent review case

Intellectual property such as patents, copyrights and trademarks are often the most valuable assets of companies in California, and they may go to great lengths to see that they are protected. Business owners could be forgiven for thinking that proprietary technology, formulas or designs are safe from infringement once a patent has been issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but a review process put into place in 2012 may prompt them to reconsider this assumption.

Sony's trademark application rejected

People in California who like video games and who follow YouTube may be familiar with the phrase 'Let's Play." This is the term used in the titles of enormously popular YouTube videos that feature recordings of video games with commentary by the players. Recently, Sony attempted to trademark 'Let's Play" but had its trademark application rejected.

Denial of offensive trademarks found to be unconstitutional

Businesses in California may now have the option of trademarking a name or logo that others might view as offensive. On Dec. 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decided that the portion of a federal law banning the registration of offensive trademarks was not constitutional because it violated the First Amendment.

Trader Joe's sued for allegedly copying famous cookies

Cookie maker Pepperidge Farm is suing California-based grocery store chain Trader Joe's for trademark violations. According to Pepperidge Farm, Trader Joe's has been selling a product called Crispy Cookies that is too similar to its famous Milano cookies. Pepperidge Farm says that Trader Joe's actions are malicious and calculated and that the company has made hundreds of millions of dollars by trading on the reputation of Milano cookies.

Judges rule against Pinterest in trademark infringement cases

California residents may be interested to learn about some trademark litigation involving the social networking site Pinterest. In two recent cases, judges ruled against Pinterest when the company attempted to sue other online companies that were using the term 'pin" and variations on the word 'pin." There are no reports to indicate that Pinterest has any plans to appeal either of the court decisions.

Online retailer Amazon prevails in trademark dispute

A appellate court in California ruled on Oct. 21 that did not violate the trademarks Multi Time Machine Inc. by displaying a variety similar products when shoppers on the popular online retailer's website searched for an MTM watch. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reverses a previous ruling that the court had made, which allowed a lawsuit brought by MTM against to proceed.

Asian-American rock band The Slants fights for trademark

California music fans may be interested to learn about an ongoing legal battle involving a West Coast band called The Slants. The Asian-American rock band has been fighting to trademark its name after the United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to issue it a trademark. While some people view the band's name as disparaging, the band says that it has a right to trademark its name.

New startups should protect trademarks from the beginning

When a new startup is being launched in California, business founders often make mistakes because they are moving too fast. A common mistake that many business founders make is failing to protect their company's trademarks from the beginning. Though this mistake may not cause problems immediately, it could lead to trademark infringement claims and other litigation as the company becomes more successful.

Judge rules Costco infringed on Tiffany's trademark

On Sept. 8, a federal judge in New York ruled that the giant retailer Costco Wholesale intentionally misled consumers by placing "Tiffany" signs over display cases with diamond engagement rings. Tiffany & Co. sued the retail giant in 2013 after someone informed them of a "Tiffany" display at a Costco store in Huntington Beach, California.

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