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Trademark Law Archives

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

SCOTUS protects "scandalous" trademarks in 2019

In a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision, the Court found a statutory bar to trademark protection was unconstitutional. The year 2020 promises to bring more in the realm of trademark law, and it will be reported here when it happens.

Two cosmetics giants sparring over "LASH LOVE"

When you walk through a cosmetics store, the sheer number of brands and variations on packaging can be overwhelming. Translate that into the volume of intellectual property that brand owners must protect in the marketplace and there are certainly going to be disputes.

Product counterfeiting a big concern in the gift-giving season

The massive increase in retail sales - both from brick-and-mortar stores and from internet sources - that accompanies the holiday season can create the perfect storm within which counterfeiters can try to launch their masquerading products, hoping to go unnoticed in the flurry of purchases. We have previously posted about counterfeiting, in which we explained that counterfeiting is an illegal attempt to pass off a copied product in the marketplace as having been placed there by the legitimate owner of the associated trademark.

Can a landlord be liable for trademark infringement by a tenant?

When a third party directs or contributes to trademark-infringing activity of another party, the direct infringer’s liability is clear, but the third party may also be liable under the concept of contributory infringement. The U.S. Supreme Court said in 1982 that the manufacturer of generic drugs could be contributorily liable for trademark infringement for providing their product to pharmacists who were using the protected brand name on the labels, in the case of Inwood Laboratories, Inc. v. Ives Laboratories, Inc., explains a comprehensive article in IPWatchdog.

Will USPTO grant a new trademark that includes quotation marks?

Off-White is a popular Italian company affiliated with designer Virgil Abloh, creator of the line MARKERAD in collaboration with IKEA. MARKERAD items became available for sale at IKEA on Nov. 1. Some of the branded products at IKEA contain Abloh's signature use of quotation marks such as "TEMPORARY" on a wall clock and "WET GRASS" on a green doormat.

When must a trademark infringer disgorge its profits?

The U.S. Supreme Court released its January 2020 oral argument calendar and it schedules argument in an important trademark infringement case. On Jan. 14, the fourth case heard in the new year will be Romag Fasteners v. Fossil Inc., requiring the justices to decide whether the trademark owner must show the infringement was willful under the Lanham Act to be awarded the infringer's profits.

Aggressive trademark enforcement is a complex business decision

The ongoing story of a Utah-based online retailer and its efforts to preserve its trademark interests in the word “backcountry” provides a fascinating look into the careful consideration a business must conduct of potential outcomes of such a campaign. While we support vigorous protection of intellectual property, thought must be given to the potential pros and cons of each step taken in this effort.

Temporary restraining order issued for return of stolen domain name

Nowadays, your URL is as big a part of your business branding as are company and product names. Domain name protection is a fast-growing area of intellectual property law as the threats to domain names - which trademark often protects - are real and aggressive. A recent federal case in Florida illustrates one legal remedy that can help protect a victim of domain name cybertheft.

Guitar companies fly into dispute over instrument shapes

Some of the biggest names in rock 'n' roll history have played Gibson's distinctive Flying V guitar, including Jimi Hendrix, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Pete Townshend of the Who, Johnny Winter, Paul Stanley of Kiss and many more. The electric instrument looks just like its name: its narrow, V-shaped body was considered futuristic when it was initially released in 1958.

Trademark dispute pits power couple against wedding planner

No married couple in history has sold more musical recordings than Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter and her husband Shawn Corey Carter, better known professionally as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, of course. The California residents' twins were born in the state, though their eldest daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was born in New York in January of 2012.

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