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28 Nov 0
2015 05 15_twitter hashtag

Is That Hashtag A #Trademark?

Hastags – a pound sign followed by a word or series of words with no space between – are ubiquitous on social media. People use them to spark and continue conversation about various topics on social media platforms. But can they be trademarked? #Trademark Applications Increasingly, companies are seeking to protect hashtags as trademarks. In 2015, applicants submitted […]

4 Nov 0

Little Pet Shop, Big Right of Publicity Problem

When Hasbro introduced a hamster named “Harris Faulkner” to its “Littlest Pet Shop” line of animal character toys, it drew a multi-million dollar lawsuit from real-life television journalist Harris Faulkner. The complaint, filed in New Jersey, included claims for violation of the right of publicity under New Jersey common law and false advertising and false […]

21 Oct 0

Dilution of Famous Trademarks

Part 1 of this series about famous marks discussed the well-known marks doctrine. This post discusses trademark dilution. Famous Brands and Dilution Owners of famous marks can prevent others from using marks that “dilute” the famous mark under federal law. See 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c). Prior to 1996, trademark owners relied on state laws that may or […]

13 Oct 0
Time Travel and Television

Coming This Fall: A Timely Copyright Dispute

  The fall television season is upon us, with networks busily promoting their new shows in hopes of creating the next lucrative franchise. And new creative endeavors often bring us interesting intellectual property issues. This time, it’s a copyright dispute involving time travel. Ok, not really. But it does involve a show about time travel. […]

4 Oct 0
famous show

Trademark Tools and the Price of “Fame”

Everyone may have his or her fifteen minutes, but there’s always a price to pay for fame. For brand owners, fame brings special challenges as it brings imitators, fans, and social commentary. This is the first in a series of posts about trademark law tools that are specific to famous marks. I recently moderated a […]

22 Sep 0
big bright idea

Should You File a Provisional Patent Application?

Watch out for misleading information! Some websites say you can file a patent application for just a few hundred dollars. You can even do it yourself! “Just complete our simple online questionnaire! Obtain peace of mind that your intellectual property is protected!” Well, it’s not that easy. Your mother was right. If it sounds too […]

19 Aug 0

The Billion Dollar Copyright

The use of photographs and other digital images on the web can be a tricky business. Copyright owners are increasingly taking steps to police their images by monitoring web content using automated means like web scrapers. Many online content creators have had to learn the hard way about the pitfalls and best practices in the […]

16 Aug 0

Trademark Lessons From Crazy Horse Strip Clubs

Better known for juicy tales of mobsters, adult film stars, and general shenanigans, the now-closed Las Vegas strip club “Crazy Horse Too” plays a role in providing important lessons in trademark law. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently put to rest a dispute over the “Crazy Horse” trademark for strip clubs in the United […]

12 Aug 0

Will the Washington Redskins Trademark Dispute Join The Supremes Dance Party?

The trademark disparagement lawsuits continue. As some of our readers may already know, we’ve been tracking and writing about the Washington Redskins football team’s efforts to keep their federal trademark registrations for the REDSKINS name. We’ve also discussed and posted about the dance rock group called “The Slants” entering the fray at the U.S. Patent […]

9 Aug 0

What Does Brexit Mean for European and UK Patents? (Part 2)

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War II, in large part because many Europeans felt that countries which trade and work closely with each other are less likely to go to war and attempt to invade their partner states. Now, the EU is […]