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Cohen Law > Blog (Page 16)

T.I.’s Clothingline Sued by Akoo for Trademark Infringement

Recently, Akoo Clothing, launched by rapper T.I. (real name Clifford Harris, Jr.), received considerable media attention for a sexually explicit billboard in New Jersey that was protested and subsequently taken down. The publicity stunt may have backfired though, as the billboard also got some unwanted attention from Akoo International, a social music television network. Akoo International filed suit for trademark infringement against the clothing label Akoo, stating that they own the registered trademark and have used the name for years. Both parties operate in the music industry, and Akoo International was concerned that consumers could easily confuse the brands. “Our primary obligation...

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GM Trademark Infringement

For years, private manufacturers that made replicas of classic sports cars have been tolerated by the auto industry. They create interest and foster goodwill towards automobile brands by idolizing certain models of cars. But according to an article in the Detroit News, GM is cracking down on one small time replica manufacturer, alleging trademark infringement. GM filed suit against Mongoose Motorsports LLC, an Ohio-based auto parts retailer and part-time manufacturer of the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport. The Grand Sport is one of the rarest and most valuable sports cars ever; only five were built. Mongoose Motorsports sells a replica Grand Sport...

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Trademark Rejection of Khoran Wine

Last week, a panel of five TTAB judges shot down an application for wines bearing the trademark name Khoran. The decision was made based on the trademark’s similarity with the holy text of Islam, the Koran. The panel rejected the application on the basis of disparagement. In re Lebanese Arak Corporation. In previous cases, the board has rejected marks that are belittling to a specific group of people. When filing trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, applications can be rejected for a number of reasons, such as likelihood of confusion in view of an earlier filed application,...

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Cybersquatting of New Domain Names

Here’s some interesting news: The likelihood of cybersquatting remains high for .com’s but is much less ICANN’s new domains. According to a recent study by a top-level domain (TLD) consulting firm called Minds+Machines, internet domains other than .com (such as .net, .biz and .info) aren’t currently pursued by cybersquatters. Furthermore, the study suggests that the new assortment of generic top-level domains (gTLD’s), recently created by ICANN will not attract cybersquatters either. These domains include .mobi, .cat, .name, .asia, .pro, .tel and .travel. The study was conducted thusly: Minds+Machines examined domain name registration of more than 1,000 Fortune 100 brands. They reason...

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AMEX Black Card Trademark Infringement

American Express’s Centurion Card, also known as the “black card” has become an iconic status symbol in American pop culture. The card has no limit and a whopping 2,500 annual fee. Introduced in 1999, the card quickly gained attention in books, rap songs, and TV shows. American Express really had a hit on their hands. But they didn’t trademark it. Visa actually owns www.blackcard.com, more recently in mid 2009, granted issuance of a registered trademark for Black Card. Last month, Amex filed a complaint with the New York district court, alleging that Visa has: “perpetrated a scheme to confuse the public and...

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Baseball Trademark Infringement Slugout with Major League and Upper Deck Trading Cards

Last week, Major League Baseball settled a trademark infringement case against the Carlsbad, CA based trading card company, Upper Deck. Upper Deck failed to completely eliminate the MLB logo from some lines of their 2010 baseball cards. Although Upper Deck’s 2010 baseball cards did not display MLB’s logo on any of its packaging or cards, the logo was visible in certain photos, on several of the players’ uniforms and hats. Upper Deck failed to airbrush off the logos. And yes, even a minuscule MLB logo on a player’s hat is still a trademark. Exclusive rights to a trademark mean exclusive rights. In...

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Trek Trademark Infringement…Dismissed!

In true David vs. Goliath style, an obscure California winery held its ground in court yesterday against Trek, the largest U.S. manufacturer of bicycles and related products. Novato-based Trek Wines was sued by Trek Bicycle Corporation in October 2009 for trademark infringement, in the matter of Trek Bicycle Corporation v. Trek Winery, LLC, in the Western district court in Wisconsin. Trek Bicycle Co. accused the winery of federal and state trademark infringement when three cases of their wine made it to Wisconsin (Trek bikes’ home state) last year. U.S. District judge Barbara Crabb granted Trek Wine’s motion to dismiss, stating that...

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Facebook Patent Unleashed!

Facebook obtains potentially powerful patent on Newsfeed technology In 2006, Facebook filed a patent application on its much-imitated Newsfeed technology. Last week the patent was granted. Facebook has yet to announce any plans for legal action, but Web sites all over must be feeling more than a little apprehensive. After all, Twitter is essentially one big news feed. Google, Myspace and Flickr all use a similar technology. The USPTO granted coverage to “the generation of activity elements associated with a user through a social network, tethering an information link associated with at least one these activities, limiting access to material in question...

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Software Patents and Business Methods Patents, Are They Patentable?

Are software and business methods patentable? If you have been Googling the topic recently, you may have heard that the US Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit have heard a series of different cases during the past few years regarding it. Before I get into the history below, the short answer is still generally yes for software patents, with exceptions, but probably not for pure business methods, with exceptions of course! Some of the earliest cases in the 70’s held that abstract ideas are not patentable, thus computer software which is composed of algorithms/mathematical concepts were held not to be patentable....

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Copyright Infringement Harry Potter Style

A 36 page children’s book from a now-deceased and totally obscure British author may have lead to Harry Potter. Last week, the Associated Press reported that J.K. Rowling and her publisher are being sued for copyright infringement. The estate of Adrian Jacobs, who died penniless in 1997, alleges that Rowling’s fourth book, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” was lifted from “The Adventures of Willy the Wizard,” written by Jacobs in 1987. The trustee of Jacobs’ estate, Paul Allen, is suing for over $500 million pounds. According to Rowling: “The claims that are made are not only unfounded but absurd, and...

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