SCOTUS Decision on “Immoral or Scandalous” Trademarks

What exactly is an “immoral” or “scandalous” trademark, and should the government be the arbiter of making such a determination? In the second landmark trademark decision in two years, the Supreme Court invalidated the Lanham Act’s prohibition on registering “immoral” or “scandalous” trademarks. Iancu v. Brunetti, 588 U.S. ___ (2019). The Court’s decision expands the …

The Value of Goodwill in Trademarks

Consumers use brands to make choices, demonstrate loyalty and determine value. A brand’s ultimate goal, from a company perspective, is to accelerate growth and generate value (i.e., goodwill). But what is “goodwill” as it relates to trademarks – how is it tied to trademark selection and does it affect licensing, acquisitions and litigation? Intellectual Property …

The Fate of WHOIS Under the GDPR: Privacy and Safety on the Internet

As of May 25, 2018, a new EU regulation will make the collection of data and tracking of online selling activity illegal – potentially shielding would-be counterfeiters and trademark infringers from detection in the purchase and sale of counterfeit goods. By Anne Aikman-Scalese Privacy advocates hail the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as …

Stone Brewing Sues MillerCoors for Trademark Infringement

Stone Brewing Co., the ninth largest independent craft brewery in the United States, has taken aim at MillerCoors LLC and Molson Coors Brewing Company, filing suit in the United States District Court, Southern District of California for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, unfair competition and declaratory relief. On Monday afternoon, Greg Koch, …

From “tequila” to “TEQUILA®” – Registering a Generic Term

The trademark lawyers sternly warn us: “Don’t let your trademark become generic!” They tell us horror stories: ASPIRIN was once a trademark, but became generic from improper use. Same thing for ESCALATOR and INTERNET. Some trademark owners implement aggressive marketing campaigns to prevent this terrible fate: “It’s KLEENEX® brand facial tissue,” or “VELCRO® brand hook-and-loop …

Craft Beer Trademarks: Innovative, Inspiring and…Infringing?

If you’re thirsty and of legal drinking age, you are likely within a stone’s throw of being able to enjoy the cadre of remedial tonics offered at a craft brewery. There are now over six thousand breweries in the United States, a new record, with over 80 percent of American adults living within 10 miles …

Monetize Your Meme: “Grumpy Cat” Wins Copyright and Trademark Verdict

For those unfamiliar, Grumpy Cat is a “viral meme” of a “stern-looking house cat named Tardar Sauce.”1 A former Time Warner cable technician first posted the photo of his sister’s “Grumpy Cat” on Reddit in September 2012.2 At least four copyright registrations and a trademark registration related to Grumpy Cat have been registered in the …