Most marks are either trademarks (used in connection with goods) or service marks (used in connection with services). But there are a few other kinds of marks.
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the U.S. government’s petition for a writ of certiorari in a case challenging provision of the federal trademark statute. In In re Brunetti, 877 F.3d 1330 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found the portion of the Lanham Act that proscribes registration of trademarks comprised of “immoral and scandalous matter” unconstitutional.
At the beginning of this new year, it helps to remind ourselves why we engage in this work, why trademarks matter, and, more particularly, why registration matters. Trademarks symbolize the goodwill of a business; they are the emblems of the brand owner’s reputation. Registrations strengthen and protection those important symbols.
The iconic Chuck Taylor sneaker was involved in a recent case that has the attention of trademark watchers. The bone of contention was the familiar look of the Chuck Taylor sneaker worn by generations of American kids (and adults), and whether shoes imported by Skechers and others were infringing.
Only three months ago we wrote about rebranding. Just two months ago we wrote about beloved brand nicknames. Then, last month, two companies announced plans to rebrand to abbreviations of their current marks. Coincidence? Probably, but we are going to take the opportunity to revisit those topics anyway.
We recently looked at the idea of state universities claiming a (limited) monopoly on the right to use the name of their state on clothing and other items. At first blush it seems surprising that anyone can have the exclusive right to a state name, but trademark law allows it in the right circumstances, and with limitations.
One of the facts of modern life is that you will be the target of scams. Sometimes it's the son of the former defense minister of Nigeria. Sometimes it's someone trying to trick you into paying them money to do something with your trademark.