Bimbo Bakeries USA, Inc., the owner of Thomas’ English Muffins, Oroweat brand breads and the recently launched Sandwich Thins, received a preliminary injunction against its former Vice President of Operations for California, Chris Botticella, preventing him from working for its competitor, Hostess Brands.  The reason: Botticella was privy to nearly all of Bimbo’s trade secrets. …

Three Trees Make a Row: Category Descriptors, Line Marks, and the Descriptiveness Problem

One of the greatest challenges facing those who market innovative products or services, is educating consumers about what the new products or services are, and what they can do for the consumer. Consumers usually won’t buy something unless they understand what it is and have reason to want it. And one of the greatest tools …

Can Subway Trademark FOOTLONG for…Sandwiches that are a Foot Long?

Doctor’s Associates, Inc., the parent company of the Subway sandwich chain, recently applied for a federal trademark for FOOTLONG  for “restaurant services.”  An article from NPR indicates not only that Subway may have a tough time achieving federal registration for the mark, but also that Subway may have an equally tough time enforcing any rights …

Penalty for False Patent Marking Set at Highest Sales Price

After remand from the Federal Circuit, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that, due to the penal nature of the false marking statute, the appropriate penalty for marking a product with an incorrect or invalid patent number should be assessed at the maximum price the articles were sold, rather …

On April 28, 2010, the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted summary judgment in favor of Google that its use and sale of “Rosetta Stone” as a keyword in its Adwords program did not infringe upon the Rosetta Stone trademark for language instruction software products.  This decision represents the most recent victory …

Resale of Imported Copyrighted Works

The United States Supreme Court recently said it would consider whether Costco Wholesale Corp.’s resale of Omega SA watches, legally purchased by Costco in foreign countries, constitutes copyright infringement. Omega filed suit after Costco imported Omega watches into the United States and sold 43 of them in California in 2004. The Court’s decision will hinge …

Federal District Court Finds DNA Not Patentable

On March 29, 2010, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that claims covering isolated DNA and methods of use for DNA diagnosis are not patentable. The lawsuit, Assoc. for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 09 Civ. 4515, was brought by a conglomeration of plaintiffs including the …

Confusion Likely Between UNIVERSITY OF DENVER and Proposed DENVER STATE UNIVERSITY?

Metro State University, a public university located in Denver, Colorado, announced plans in March to introduce state legislation that would allow it to change its name to Denver State University. The University of Denver, a private university located just a few miles from Metro State’s campus, is not a fan of the proposed name change. The …