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Marsh has lost a trademark dispute with insurtech company Marshmallow over its name. The global broker will have to pay Twin Thinking (Marshmallow) £800 in costs and will not be able to prevent the start-up from using the name.

The trademark infringement claim was launched in 2016 after Marshmallow founders Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham had chosen the name. At the time, the twins said they had consulted lawyers before selecting the name.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) stepped in to oversee the matter in January. Marsh argued that Marshmallow’s name only differed from its name ‘by the word “Mallow”, which could easily be confused by members of the public’, the IPO ruling shows. However, the IPO ruled in Marshmallow’s favor, arguing that the public are able to tell the difference between “a soft, sweet food” and “a muddy area of land”.

The ruling reads: “I have absolutely no hesitation concluding that the very different conceptual messages conveyed by the words MARSH and MARSHMALLOW (meanings will which fix themselves in the mind of the average consumer and act as a hook to aid their recall), are more than sufficient to offset the moderate degree of visual and aural similarity between these words.

“As the applicant succeeds on this basis, its position is even stronger if one compares its trademark with the actual trademarks upon which the opponent relies.”

The start-up’s founders welcomed the victory. “It was the principle,” said Oliver Kent-Braham. “There is a huge amount of insurtech innovation in the UK at the moment. We believe that this is a good thing for consumers and should be supported not stifled by large incumbents like Marsh.

“Unfortunately, in this instance, a huge global company tried to use their wealth and resources to squash Marshmallow before we’d even started. Fortunately, the IPO office saw sense and ruled in our favor, we are, naturally delighted by the outcome, it’s a sweet victory.”

Motor insurance start-up Marshmallow is aiming to launch in the next few months and has gained FCA approval. Marsh declined to comment.

Story from insurancetimes.co.uk

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In a 43-page opinion, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the German sportswear giant in its effort to prevent rival Skechers from manufacturing, distributing, advertising, selling, or offering for sale sneakers that are “confusingly” similar to its classic Stan Smith.

In a unanimous decision from the 9th Circuit’s 3-judge panel released on Thursday, the court upheld a previously-issued preliminary injunction, which served to prohibit Skechers from selling shoes that allegedly infringe and dilute (i.e., lessen the distinctiveness of) adidas’s Stan Smith trade dress and 3-stripe trademark, for the duration of the parties’ legal battle, and then, potentially, after the close of the trial.

Writing for the panel, Judge Jacqueline Nguyen stated that the lower court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in Portland, “did not abuse its discretion in issuing the preliminary injunction as to adidas’s claim the Skechers’s Onix shoe infringed adidas’s unregistered trade dress of its Stan Smith shoe.”

Moreover, the court held that the district court was correct in finding that adidas showed a likelihood that it will succeed at trial in connection with its trademark infringement and trademark dilution claims, as well, for its wildly popular Stan Smith. Adidas told the court in its complaint – which cited claims of trade dress and trademark infringement, as well as trademark dilution – that it has sold over 40 million pairs if its famous Stan Smith shoe worldwide.

Despite its initial victory in connection with Skechers’ Onix shoe, it was not all wins for adidas in court this week. The court declined to uphold an injunction on the basis that Skechers’s Cross Court shoe infringed and diluted adidas’ 3-stripe trademark.

The full article can be read on thefashionlaw.com

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A Florida-based pizza franchise has, this week, won a legal battle against New Jersey over the trademark rights to its logo.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office panel found there are similarities between the Garden State Parkway’s logo and the one used by Jersey Boardwalk Pizza, but on Monday it dismissed the New Jersey Turnpike Authority’s claims, saying the businesses are unrelated.

The company’s green and yellow sign substitutes pizza for Parkway and lists subs, cheesesteaks and pasta. It has stores in Key Largo, Tavernier and Homestead.

Attorney Justin Klein tells NJ. com the company’s owners are proud New Jersey natives who created the logo to honor their home state. The company also won in U.S. District Court in 2015.

Authority spokesman Tom Feeney says the agency is exploring its appeal options.

Sourced from NBC New York

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China is on course to overtake the USA as the world’s leading source of foreign trademark applications by 2020 according to new research released today by CompuMark, the industry leader in trademark research and protection solutions. Trademark-filing trends are a powerful indicator of economic activity. In the past two years alone, the number of Chinese trademark applications to foreign registers has doubled, with Chinese applicants filing nearly 120,000 foreign trademark applications in 2017.

The report Chinese Brands Go Global was compiled by CompuMark’s Custom and Managed Solutions Team using SAEGIS®, the world’s largest trademark database, analyzing 62.6 million active trademarks across 186 trademark registers in over 200 countries. It assessed domestic and foreign trademark applications by Chinese brands, made between 2014 and 2017.

The number of US trademark applications made by Chinese brands has increased by 800% since 2014. Of the 120,000 foreign trademark applications made by Chinese brands in 2017, more than 50,000 applications were filed in the USA. This equates to around 10% of all applications made to the US trademark registers in one year, indicating that the USA is now the major market for Chinese brands and marking a shift in focus away from the traditional target markets of mainland China’s close neighbors in Southeast Asia.

Trademark applications contain information about markets (registry country), time (filing date), source (applicant country) and business activity (classes and specifications). The report goes on to reveal where in the world Chinese trademark applicants are filing, wherein China applicants are from, and which Chinese industries are fueling the growth in global trademarks.

Domestically, the Chinese trademark register also continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. With more than 1.4 billion consumers, the Chinese market is seen as a key target for international brands so global brands flock to register trademarks there. As a result, China’s domestic trademark register is the largest in the world, accepting more than five million new trademark applications in 2017.

Globally, 60% of trademark applications in 2017 were on the China register. More applications were submitted in a week in September 2017 than were submitted to the European Union register in all of 2016. And the proportion of global trademark applications filed in China is still growing.

Jeff Roy, President of CompuMark explained, “Trends in trademark applications can serve as powerful indicators of economic activity. China is a great example of this. By filing volume, our report shows that in just 4 years Chinese brands have jumped from number 10 in the world to number two. These applications tell a story that may reveal or even serve to forecast the trajectory of regional or global commerce. If current trends continue, Chinese brands are likely to challenge US brands for global supremacy in the near future.”

Rob Davey, Senior Director, Managed Solutions & Global Markets at CompuMark, said: “China, with its allure as the world’s largest single market and a population with growing purchasing power, has featured prominently on the radar of global brand owners. But our exclusive analysis by CompuMark’s data-analytics experts shows that Chinese trademark applicants are having a significant impact on the world’s trademark registers. Trademark registers outside of China—especially those in the US and Europe—are seeing Chinese applicants playing a far greater role in their markets.”

Download the China Brands Go Global report here or pick up a copy at CompuMark’s booth (101) at the Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association, Washington State Convention Center, Seattle from May 19 to 23, 2018.

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In October 11, 2016, Kikkoman Corporation, the world’s leading producer of soy sauce, filed an application for trademark registration at the Japan Patent Office (JPO) for the following three-dimensional colored mark for soy sauce in class 30.

Red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser

Iconic red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser was introduced in 1961 and has been in continuous production ever since. It was developed by Kenji Ekuan, a Japanese Navy sailor former naval academy student who dedicated his life to design when he left the service. Its unique shape took three years and over a hundred prototypes to perfect, but the teardrop design and dripless spout have become a staple of restaurant condiments all around the world. The bottle’s design hasn’t changed over the past 50 years.

JPO Examination/Acquired distinctiveness

The JPO examiner initially notified her refusal due to a lack of inherent distinctiveness in relation to say sauce.

In a response to the office action, Kikkoman argued acquired distinctiveness of the 3D bottle arising from uniqueness of its shape and substantial use for over five decades.

According to a news release from Kikkoman, over 500 million of the bottles have been sold since the design was first introduced and distributed in approximately a hundred countries worldwide. Red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser has already been registered as 3D mark in US, EU, Ukraine, Norway, Russia, Australia.

In March 30, 2018, the JPO granted trademark registration based on Article 3(2) of the Trademark Law by finding acquired distinctiveness of the 3D color mark as a source indicator of Kikkoman.

[TM Registration No. 6031041]

by MIKAMI MARKS IP LAW FIRM

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We at Fellows and Associates have just gone live with the data collection phase of our 7th annual salary survey (www.fellowssurvey.com) and I thought I would delve a little deeper into something that has been nagging at me for some time.  Does taking a career break negatively impact your earning potential?

We added the question of a “career break” into our 2017 survey for the first time and it is these results which I have analyzed in more detail for the purposes of today’s question.

Now it may seem like the question will have an obvious answer as how could a hiatus in employment have a positive effect?  Perhaps we’re all in for a surprise.  Some may also think this relates solely to females given that even in this day and age of improved workplace equality and paternity rights it is still most frequently the fairer sex that tends to stay at home with the child(ren) for any period of time. Whilst it does bear out that of those that took a career break 70% were women, it is by no means restricted to women alone, especially when we consider that career breaks can occur for many reasons. Unemployment, sabbaticals or other personal issues that could include mental health concerns or caring for loved ones may also require one to take time away from their career. In fact, only 45% of the career breaks were due to maternity leave.

One glance at these figures tells us that, overwhelmingly, no, a career break does not negatively impact one’s earning potential. Except perhaps at the highest levels, and even then, you may be able to argue that any differences could be down to any number of contributing factors. Have I read that right? Well, that surprised me, if I’m honest.  So, I looked at the data from different angles.  Specialism and experience had no bearing on the outcome. Although there were one or two exceptions to the rule, those that had taken a career break fared better than their counterparts who had not taken one. Looking at it from a male / female perspective by experience, however, saw that half the time men were better off than women having taken a career break at the same point in their careers (part and newly qualified), whereas once they had a few years’ experience to Partner designate level then women having taken a career break outperformed the men that had taken one.

How could this be? Surely pausing your career would put you behind your peers that had not?  Or is it that those that returning from a career break feel refreshed, eager for mental stimulation following maternity leave or perhaps even with the desire to prove that any break taken simply has no bearing on their ability to perform?  Is a welcome side effect of this extra effort, drive, and determination a demonstrative increase in pay?

Given that high salaries rarely occur without the productivity and company profits to back them up perhaps there’s an argument to be made in favor of firms being more inclusive and encouraging career breaks?

If you have any thoughts on the matter please get in touch with me at michele.fellows@fellowsandassociates.com or if you would like to participate in this year’s survey please head to www.fellowssurvey.com.

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Rapper Dr. Dre has lost a trademark infringement suit against obstetrician-gynecologist, Dr. Drai. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office dismissed Dr. Dre’s challenge.

Dr. Drai, legal name Draion M. Burch, was hoping to trademark the name Dr. Drai for his medical and motivational speaking services, his books, videos podcasts and other productions. Dr. Dre, legally known as Andre Young, has attempted to block the application for many years, based on the grounds that it could cause confusion between the two brands and falsely suggest a connection between them.

Dr. Dre didn’t issue a comment after the ruling. But buried in the 49-page document is a quote from Dr. Drai which summed up how he felt about the matter:

“I was just appalled how someone would think that I wanted to be them and I actually went to medical school.”

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This week, Burberry have taken the steps to once again protect its signature check-print merchandise. The British fashion label has filed a trademark infringement suit against US megastore Target. Burberry are alleging that the retailer has been selling products that bear “blatant reproductions” of its trademark check, a print introduced in the 1920s and used on countless designs since.

According to the suit, Burberry sent Target a cease-and-desist letter in early 2017 after finding “unauthorized copies” of the pattern on items in the chain’s stores including eyewear, luggage, and water bottles. Rather than complying with the letter, Burberry alleges, Target several months later began selling scarves — a Burberry mainstay — also bearing the check print, which were “superficially indistinguishable” from the real deal (albeit at a small fraction of the price).

The case was filed at a New York Federal Court.

“Target’s well-publicized history of collaborating with popular brands and fashion designers to promote and sell Target-exclusive limited-edition collections further heightens the risk of such consumer confusion,” the lawsuit contends.

Burberry is seeking $2 million for each alleged trademark infringement, plus fees, punitive damages and any profits stemming from the items’ sale.

Photo credit /Shutterstock

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For the second time in nine years, the International Trademark Association (INTA) will host the world’s largest and most widely attended trademark event in Seattle, Washington, from May 19 to May 23. INTA’s Annual Meeting will bring together more than 10,500 trademark practitioners and other intellectual property (IP) professionals from 150+ countries to Seattle for this historic 140th Annual Meeting.

On May 20, Neil Lindsay, Vice President of Global Marketing, Prime & Engagement at Amazon.com, Inc., will give the keynote address at the Opening Ceremonies. Mr. Lindsay has built cross-category and cross-channel programs to drive demand, accelerate engagement, and build a brand for Amazon’s consumer business worldwide. In a fireside chat format, he will share with attendees significant lessons learned and insights from his career.

“From clean technology to global health, and from startups to many of the world’s top global brands, Seattle is undeniably an epicenter of innovation,” said INTA President Tish Berard. “We are thrilled to be able to anchor our discussions about critical issues that impact brands, such as the rise in counterfeiting and the importance of trademark protection, in a city that can teach us so much about what it takes to succeed.”

In addition, she said, “The Annual Meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity for a free-flowing exchange of ideas on best practices and benchmarking, as well as an exceptional forum for networking.” Ms. Berard also will address the attendees at the Opening Ceremonies.

Since INTA’s last Annual Meeting in Seattle in 2009, attendance at this annual gathering has increased significantly, by more than 3,000 professionals from around the world. It is no coincidence that INTA is once again drawn to Seattle. As Seattle’s thriving business climate continues to evolve, the greater Seattle area is ranked as a global startup hub and a leader in information and communications technology.

The Annual Meeting, which is being held at the Washington State Convention Center, will draw trademark and other IP professionals from major corporations and law firms, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized enterprises, service providers, and government officials, including high-level officials from national, regional, and international IP offices. Collectively, INTA members contribute almost US $12 trillion to global gross domestic product (GDP) annually. For comparison, the 2016 annual GDP of the top three markets was $11.2 trillion (China), $16.4 trillion (European Union), and $18.6 trillion (United States).

The Annual Meeting programming will cover timely topics, such as strategies for battling counterfeit goods in the global marketplace—including enforcement against counterfeiters of sports merchandise; IP issues in the era of artificial intelligence and other innovations; and influencer marketing insights into return on investment. In addition, speakers will explore major international issues, such as Brexit and its impact on various IP rights, and privacy and data protection compliance in light of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which takes effect this month.

The extensive program offers more than 300 educational opportunities, an expansive Exhibition Hall, and networking opportunities at more than 15 official receptions, including a concert by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and a Grand Finale at the 74-acre Seattle Center.

In conjunction with this event, INTA will sponsor several corporate social responsibility initiatives, including collaborating with Dress for Success Seattle to collect professional clothing items for women seeking employment.

To learn more and to register for the 2018 Annual Meeting, visit www.inta.org/2018AM.

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Liberty Media, Forumla One’s owners, have trademarked the word ‘shoey’ to claim the rights and royalties over the increasingly popular phrase. The Shoey is a podium celebration popularised by Daniel Ricciardo where a driver drinks champagne from a shoe.

Ricciardo performed the famous action after he won the Chinese Grand Prix, a few weeks ago. The Australian has even managed to involve celebrities like Sir Patrick Stewart and Gerard Butler in the unique celebration.

F1’s branding department Formula One Licensing was granted a trademark registration to the word ‘Shoey’ on 24 August 2017. the word has been registered in 25 countries, namely the United States, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom among others.

The registration covers flasks, glasses, bottles, mugs, sculptures, and figurines. So one can expect shoe-shaped merchandise over the coming months. This strategy is a perfect weapon for F1’s drive to appeal to a younger audience.

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