Reports on trademark law developments from Seattle and beyond. Covers trademark infringement, dilution, cybersquatting, right to publicity, domain name disputes, and the like, with an emphasis on happenings in the Seattle area and Ninth Circuit.
By Michael Atkins
Posted on May 14, 2013
A STL first: a reader’s infringement safari!
Seattle lawyer Kevin Halverson just returned from an enviable vacation to Mexico. “Warm-water surfing,” as he put it. Seriously, that right there is reason enough to practice law. I’m super-jealous...
Posted on May 12, 2013
Counterfeit goods. They were everywhere at the International Trademark Association’s annual meeting.
That’s where I was last week: in Dallas, meeting with trademark colleagues from around the world. There were 9,500 of us. And a lot of counterfeit goods...
Posted on May 10, 2013
Costco advertised some rings in its store as being “Tiffany” rings.
Problem is, Tiffany didn’t make them.
Costco says it wasn’t confusing anyone. It was just describing the setting style, which it says is known as a “Tiffany” setting...
Posted on April 28, 2013
Newsboys, Inc. v. Warner Music Inc., illustrates that similar marks paired with similar goods or services may not create a likelihood of confusion.
The secret is enough of a difference in the goods or services.
Plaintiff’s mark is NEWSBOYS. Defendants’ mark is NEW BOYZ...
Posted on April 23, 2013
Folks who talk with a lawyer for the first time often wonder, “Is this confidential?”
I know they wonder it, because they often wonder it out loud.
The answer is yes. Even if you haven’t signed anything, or paid your lawyer anything, what you tell your lawyer in that first phone call or during that first meeting is completely confidential...
Posted on April 20, 2013
It’s always fun to find examples of trademark infringement when traveling.
It was harder than usual when I was in Spain. Only two examples come to mind: a knockoff of a Starbucks logo and the fairly ubiquitous “Women’Secret” lingerie stores...
Posted on April 16, 2013
I heard this story during my first day in Spain.
There’s a worldwide problem with labeling fish.
You think you’re ordering something tasty and sustainable, and that’s what you pay for when the bill comes. But it turns out what you’re served is a lower-quality fish, or one that’s not ecologically sound...
Posted on April 02, 2013
Hola from Madrid!
Still hard at work, but I decided to take the show on the road for a couple weeks.
Not at all why I’m here, but trekking around I couldn’t help but note what appears to be Madrid’s intellectual property office.
I also had to note Madrid’s trademark, the bear and the madro?o tree...
Posted on March 26, 2013
It’s now possible to search Washington trademark registrations for free.
The Washington Secretary of State’s digital archives have added trademark records to its searchable online database.
Start with the digital archives home page. Select “Trademark Records” from the dropdown menu under the “Search by Keyword” or “Detailed Search” options, enter the search criteria, and click the “Search” button...
Posted on March 19, 2013
We can all learn something from MARCH MADNESS.
There’s no profit in trying to register someone else’s trademark.
Check it out. The NCAA owns a registration for MARCH MADNESS. Actually, a bunch of them. This one’s for “Enterertainment in the nature of basketball tournaments between college teams,” with a first-use date of March 31, 1982...
Posted on March 04, 2013
I’m not much of an insurance guy, but these cases don’t come along too often, so they’re interesting when they do: courts interpreting insurance policies as they relate to coverage for trademark infringement.
The underlying dispute arose out of a trademark infringement complaint that AcademyOne, Inc...
Posted on February 04, 2013
The Pepsi Challenge: Made possible by comparative fair use
We covered fair use today in my trademark class, and it occurred to me I haven’t talked about it much here.
Fair use, in all its flavors, is a defense to trademark infringement and a host of other forms of trademark wrongs...
Posted on January 31, 2013
You can’t call it the Super Bowl.
Or that’s what the NFL would have you believe.
Really, that’s a joke. The game’s called the Super Bowl, and if you want to refer to the Super Bowl, you don’t have to call it the “Big Game...
Posted on January 23, 2013
The Sonics haven’t returned quite yet.
And neither have their trademarks.
When owner Clay Bennett moved our beloved team to Oklahoma City, he took the basket of SEATTLE SUPERSONICS trademarks with him. In an agreement that settled the City of Seattle’s lawsuit intended to prevent the move, Mr...
Posted on January 14, 2013
This is awesome.
Pacific Northwest soccer fans have been up in arms about Major League Soccer’s recent application to register CASCADIA CUP as a trademark with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office — Canada’s counterpart of the U...
Posted on January 01, 2013
Happy New Year!
Just in time for the big event, the Comite Champagne trade association launched a new round of advertising intended to remind Americans that Champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France.
The text says: “Maine lobster from Kansas? Of course not...
Posted on December 03, 2012
We’ve got DELTA for an airline, and DELTA for faucets.
One of these guys has got to be infringing the other, right?
Nope. Even with exact trademarks, there’s no likelihood of consumer confusion if the products are sufficiently different...
Posted on October 28, 2012
Last week, I spoke on a panel addressing “Hot Topics in International IP Law” as part of a program sponsored by the outstanding Seattle IP Inn of Court. My piece was about obtaining service of process under the Hague Convention.
The long and the short of it is, the Hague Convention is a treaty through which U...
Posted on October 14, 2012
Here’s a local Lanham Act case with interesting facts. It’s about the sale of waterproof notebooks used by the U.S. military.
Defendant J.L. Darling, Corp. manufactures waterproof paper, which it used in notebooks it sold to the military through its distributor, plaintiff Ira Green, Inc...
Posted on October 11, 2012
A beautiful day at the University of Iowa
It’s a beautiful fall day here at the University of Iowa. What could be better?
A beautiful fall day at the University of Minnesota, of course.
But I’m not complaining. Nothing trademark-related in this post, or in my visit...
Posted on September 30, 2012
The Tylenol tampering crisis happened 30 years ago this weekend.
The proactive way Johnson & Johnson reacted — quickly pulling its product off the shelf — is regarded as a model for companies responding to a public relations crisis.
Johnson & Johnson recalled $100M worth of product...
Posted on September 09, 2012
Last month, Pacific Wealth Management, LLC, filed suit against Pacific Wealth Management, Inc., alleging trademark infringement.
Yep, it?s about PACIFIC WEALTH MANAGEMENT.
The plaintiff, which filed suit in the Western District of Washington, alleges it owns a federal registration to its mark in connection with ?investment advice, financial consultation, and financial planning...
Posted on September 03, 2012
My firm turned one this weekend.
I’m happy to say the lights are still on, our spirits are still high, and we look forward to another year of helping clients protect their intellectual property rights. Thanks to the many persons who helped make our first year a great success (and a lot of fun)!
To celebrate the milestone, I took the show on the road last week to New York, where I found a little time to duck into the Museum of Modern Art...
Posted on August 21, 2012
The Seattle Times yesterday wrote about Microsoft’s abrupt decision to stop referring to its forthcoming Windows 8 user interface as “Metro.”
Whether it was an internal project name or external trademark, the change reportedly led to some confusion...
Posted on August 19, 2012
I’m speaking at an upcoming CLE on social media.
My topic, of course, is trademark law in that context.
My presentation materials are available on my blog. I will publish my slides when the presentation is over.
The issues are good, as well as the slate of other speakers...
Posted on August 12, 2012
One of my local joints, The Publican, is now called the Burgundian Tavern.
A trademark problem. Apparently, they tussled with a Chicago restaurant of the same name soon after opening.
The Seattle owner called the whole thing “an unfortunate mess,” and a writer reported the establishment “had already spent more money on lawyers than made him comfortable...
Posted on August 05, 2012
Plaintiff Land Rover is the well-known luxury-utility vehicle manufacturer from England.
Defendant British Northwest Rover, Ltd., is an Olympia, Wash.-based company that provides restoration and maintenance services of Land Rover vehicles.
Posted on August 02, 2012
Seattle’s KOMO-4 News interviewed me today about the Olympic For Hire taxi company.
The company uses the Olympic name and logo here in town, presumably without the U.S. Olympic Committee’s permission.
I think these types of reports are good, because they help educate the public about what’s ok and what’s not ok with trademark use...
Posted on July 23, 2012
Here’s a new one.
My name is my trademark. You infringed it, because I’m an ex-drug dealing rapper. You? You’re no criminal. You even went to college! By adopting my name as your rap persona, you deceive the public into believing that you’re a criminal when you aren’t...
Posted on July 12, 2012
Next Friday, I’m giving my annual “Introduction to U.S. Trademark Law” presentation to foreign patent lawyers attending the Center for the Advanced Study and Research of Intellectual Property’s Intellectual Property Summer Institute at the University of Washington School of Law...