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The Ruttler Mills Blog

10-14-16 Weekly Round-Up of trademark News

Daniel Mills, Trademark Attorney

Posted Friday, October 14, 2016 by Daniel Mills

Its not just the Chicago Cubs who are concerned about knock-off merchandise being sold outside its stadium. The company that owns the rights to the Broadway hit Hamilton are suing two companies for selling merchandise that allegedly infringes on Hamilton’s trademarks and copyrights. HamiltonCo is seeking damages and profits from the maker of the t-shirts and the website that is hosting the sales. Read More here.

Oprah Winfrey wins trademark dispute over OWN YOUR POWER. When your pockets are as deep as Oprah’s you get a lot of law suits. Oprah put the words “Own Your Power” on an issue of “O” magazine and was sued by Simone Kelly Brown, who owns the trademark for the phrase. The trademark of the phrase was not a word mark, which offers broad protection, instead it was of a stylized version of the mark with a further limiting claim of a light blue color. A very detailed breakdown and examples of the mark can be found here. Oprah and the rest of the defendants won dismissal in 2012. This latest ruling should put an end to the dispute. The lesson here is know what you have before you file suit, especially when poking a bear.

In a slight twist on the above lesson, even a giant bear should know what it has before doing the poking. MasterCard filed a trademark infringement suit in New Zealand against a sporting event called the World Master Games. The logos in question are not even close to being the same. A funny summery of the case can be found here. When you look at the logos in question, you will have to seriously question the decision to pursue this case.

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9-30-16-Weekly Round-Up of Trademark News

Daniel Mills, Trademark Attorney

Posted Friday, September 30, 2016 by Daniel Mills

Another week goes by and another set of trademarks in the news. Up to the plate first is a story about the Chicago Cubs, who are the favorites to win the World Series this years after a century of futility, bringing a federal lawsuit against 40 street vendors for selling knockoff merchandise right outside Wrigley Field. Clearly there is a violation of rights, but as the author of the article points out, I think there could have been another solution. Read about it here.

Last week there was news of the Las Vegas Raiders NFL team planning a possible relocation to Sin City, but next year the NHL will have a team in Las Vegas. That team has yet to unveil its name, logo, mascot, etc. but according to trademark applications at the USPTO, the top three contenders are SILVER KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147274), GOLDEN KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147269), and DESERT KNIGHTS (Serial no. 87147261). All of those sounds sufficiently Vegas-like to me, but I’m placing my bet on Golden Knights. Hockey in the Mojave - what a concept.

Harvard computer science class trademark for CS50 is one step closer to allowance. The class officially titled “Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I” is an extremely popular class and apparently is spreading to other universities and high school curricula. Initially refused for similarity with a previous registration and overly broad goods descriptions, Harvard has entered into a consent agreement with the prior registrants and narrowed the goods. Read about it in the Crimson here.

More next week!

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2016 National Trademark Expo

Daniel Mills, Trademark Attorney

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Daniel Mills

On October 21st and 22nd the USPTO will host the 2016 National Trademark Expo at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington DC. The expo is open to any owner of a federally registered trademark. It is a free event that includes exhibits, educational programs, and kid activities. The keynote speaker this year is Kevin Haley of Under Armor, Inc.

There is a wide variety of exhibitors that span a broad range of trademark owners including the US Navy, VELCRO, Coca-Cola, and UPS. This is a great way for trademark owners to learn to see how other owners leverage their trademarks to advance their brands.

Full details can be found here.

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Inherency of Provisional Application to Support Later Non-Provisional Application

Jim Ruttler, Patent Attorney

Posted Tuesday, September 27, 2016 by Jim Ruttler

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case this week that enhances the value of provisional patent applications.

Essentially, in Yeda Research v. Abbott, the Court held that a provisional application doesn’t have to disclose all the details so long as those details are inherent based on a later filed non-provisional which includes the details. This amounts to allowing general disclosures in provisional applications to have their gaps filled by later filed non-provisional applications having more details. The significance of this is that the provisional application retains its priority date despite the fact that it doesn’t include all of the details that are added later via a non-provisional date.

The case here involved a provisional application by Abbott that didn’t include the specific amino acid sequence of a protein. Right after filing this application, a reference surfaced with that amino acid sequence. Then, following this intervening art, Abbott filed a non-provisional with the amino acid sequence specifically spelled out. The provisional application was therefore important because otherwise Abbott’s patent application would have been filed after the intervening art. The Court allowed the provisional application to serve as priority despite the fact that there was no actual disclosure of the amino acid sequence under the theory of inherent disclosure.

Based on this decision, filing provisional applications - even if all the detail isn’t yet available - is good practice because there is a chance that that provisional application can help you overcome art that may surface while prototyping and engineering.

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9-22-16-Weekly Round-Up of Trademark News

Daniel Mills, Trademark Attorney

Posted Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Daniel Mills

Here is a summary of some of the interesting trademark headlines from the past week.

First Up - What do a an Asian-American rock band and the Washington Redskins have in common? - They both are on the same side of an argument over the 1st amendment and the USPTO over trademark rules that prohibit disparaging marks. Read More Here

There can be only one - GRACELAND. A Danish man who is a very big Elvis fan and memorabilia collector named his museum in Randers, Denmark Graceland. Well, that did not sit well with the folks in Memphis, Tennessee who own and operate the real home of the King of Rock and Roll. The court in Denmark agreed with GL SPE, LLC and ordered the Danish super fan to pay $75,0000.

What happens in Vegas may soon include NFL Football. A limited partnership called The Oakland Raiders has filed three trademark applications for LAS VEGAS RAIDERS for a variety of goods and services including: clothing, entertainment services in the nature of professional football games, and various decoration and trinkets associated with the team.

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