Can You Trademark the Color Yellow for Cheerios?

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” — Vincent Van Gogh (June 1888). It is extremely difficult to secure trademark rights to a single color. Success stories are few and far between. Recently, General Mills, maker of Cheerios, sought trademark protection for the color yellow “as the predominant uniform background color on product …

Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC

Oil States

639 F.App’x 639 (Fed. Cir. 2016), cert. granted (June 12, 2017) (No. 16-712) Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in Oil States Energy Services LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group, LLC to examine the constitutionality of inter partes review proceedings by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”).  Specifically, …

DJ LOGIC Trademark Infringement Case Shows Social Media Matters

Trademark Infringement Social Media

In a trademark infringement action involving the mark DJ LOGIC for music produced using turntables and vocals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit explored evidence of social media promotion submitted by the plaintiff to support the commercial strength of his mark.  Kibler v. Hall, 121 USPQ2d 1069 (6th Cir. 2016). The use …

California Enacts Legislation to Protect Park Names

California recently enacted a bill prohibiting concessionaires from claiming trademark rights in a mark that “incorporates or implies an association with a state park venue, or its historical, cultural, or recreational resources.” The full text of the California Heritage Protection Act, AB 2249, can be found at https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2249.  The bill, which goes into effect January …

New Federal Trade Secrets Law Significantly Expands Litigation Options

Yesterday President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).  This act has been described as the most significant expansion of federal intellectual property law since the Lanham Act (protecting trademarks) was enacted in 1946. For the first time, the DTSA creates a federal private right of action for trade secret misappropriation.  Historically, …

Can an online retailer use brand name searches for products it doesn’t carry?

When a consumer is shopping online, online retailers (such as Amazon.com) sometimes receive search requests for brands of products the retailer doesn’t carry.  When receiving such a request, can the online retailer be held liable for trademark infringement when it displays the searched for brand name as part of “search results” that include competitors’ products …