Trademark

Beware of Nicknames and Trademarks

  You might think that you are just using an innocent nickname but on the other hand maybe you are not.  Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel teamed up with JMAN2 Enterprises LLC in December during football season to trademark, “Johnny Football.” However, neither the company nor Manziel cannot proceed to make money until he is out of the NCAA. A man named Eric Vaughn has allegedly been selling t-shirts that say, “Keep Calm and Johnny Football,” which clearly utilizes the name,

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Coke’s “Zero” victory in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

By Gabrielle Sherwood| Editor: Tikwiza Nkowane| www.amdlawgroup.com A three-judge panel on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) granted Coca-Cola rights to trademark the term "Zero" for its soft drink products. This decision was a major victory for the company. Since 2003, Coca-Cola has been trying to win exclusive rights to the no-calorie beverage brand name-and they finally have. There were many valid arguments against granting rights to trademark the

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The Secret is Out!

By Breanna Pendilton | amdlawgroup.com    As mentioned in a previous blog, British luxury shirt retailer Thomas Pink filed an infringement action about a year ago against Victoria’s Secret with a court in London, alleging that the Victoria’s Secret PINK line confuses customers by marketing and selling products under the label “PINK” which is also a name under the Thomas Pink brand.  Well, the verdict (or should I say “the secret”) is out!  Judge Colin Birss ruled against Victor

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The Red Sole

By Caroline Lau | amdlawgroup.com  Earlier this past June, designer shoe company Christian Louboutin filed a lawsuit in a New York court against Charles Jourdan, also a French shoemaker, for trademark infringement. The unmistakable red lacquered sole is Louboutin’s trademark, over which Louboutin asserted infringement on the part of Jourdan and the retailer DSW for selling red-soled shoes. Accusing the Jourdan shoes of being “counterfeit”, Louboutin also targeted DSW for selling the sh

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First Step to Federally Protecting Your Trademark

By Ann Marie Sallusti | amdlawgroup.com Trademarks are not just a mark on a product.  Trademarks make products identifiable to consumers and are essentially the product that is being sold.  Trademarks “may” be federally registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but registration is not mandatory in the United States. Unlike most countries, the United States follows the first to use rule when protecting trademark rights. The first to use rule protects the tr

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Tips for Marketing Your Fashion Business in China – International Business Law – Case Study #4

Many fashion and apparel brands are looking to expand their market internationally, and they have their sights set on China. Although China is an infamously difficult place to do business, here are 8 ways to help empower your chances of success competing in the Chinese market.   Plan and act early. Filing a trademark application takes a great deal of time. It’s in your best interest to act quickly. It’s also wise to identify and potential conflicts before you enter the market.It's b

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TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT versus PUBLIC DOMAIN

By Eliana Rocchi | amdlawgroup.com The expression “Public domain” is generally used with reference to the works that belong to everyone and are available for public use. The concept comes from copyright law. It identifies those creative works that are not protected by copyright and thus may be used freely by the public. In other words anyone can copy them or modify them or generally use them in any way they wish. But when does that happen? Nowadays, copyrights in a work are acquired au

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Michael Kors… Or Michael Yours…and Hers…and His

By Breanna Pendilton | amdlawgroup.com The Michael Kors brand is arguably one of the most expensive and well-known labels in today’s fashion world. But these same characteristics, (expensive and well-known) are exactly what’s destroying the reputation of this brand. Outlet stores and small business are jacking down the prices, and while the good ole’ Michael Kors’ stores still exist, customers are much more apt to buying them cheaper at other discount stores and retailers. The word

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Merchandise Designers, Hold the Confetti! The Redskins’ Name and Logo are Not Open for Business…

By Ozelle Martin | amdlawgroup.com There is a well-known professional football team in the National Football League (NFL) called the Washington Redskins, and its logo features a Native American man wearing a feathered headdress. While the franchise has been in existence for over 80 years, there has been much debate surrounding the connotation of the term “redskins.” Moreover, a quick search of the Oxford dictionary defines the term as “an American Indian” with a note that the term is de

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Biz Owners Must Know the Difference Between Copyright & Trademark

It is easy to confuse a trademark with a copyright because they are both in the intellectual property field of law. It is important for small business owners to know the difference between the two to protect their products and/or services.        A trademark can be a word, symbol, and/or design, and can also refer to service marks.  Trademarks and service mark simply allow a customer know where the goods and/or service came from.  Sometimes, a customer will want to continue buying from

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Why Not Register Trademark-Infringing Domain Names?

By Sophie Sun | Editor: Kristen Daly | www.amdlawgroup.com One mistake that an investor may make during domain name registration is the registration of a trademark-infringing domain name. Such a domain name causes several questions to arise: what is the intent of the registrant at the time of registering that domain name? If the registrant registers a domain name and has good faith intent to create a website in one of those areas, does he or she have to worry about registering the domain name

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“Hangouts” vs. “Hanginout”: Google’s Social Media App was Challenged by Trademark Infringement

By Sindy Wenjin Ding | amdlawgroup.com Are you a user of “Hangouts” on your smartphone? Google is having trouble to keep using “Hangouts” as the name of its newly launched video-focused social media app. A California-based company, Hanginout, Inc. filed a lawsuit against Google, Inc. in late November 2013, claiming that Google, Inc. has infringed its trademark for its video-focused social media app. The smaller company located in Carlsbad claims that the first use of "Hanginout" in com

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Why Retailers Like Nasty Gal And Forever 21 Get Away With Knockoffs

(By Kelsey Laugel – www.amdlawgroup.com) At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards in May, Nasty Gal, an American-based retailer that specializes in providing more affordable versions of designer clothing, claimed credit for Taylor Swift’s white Balmain jumpsuit. For comparison, the average Balmain jumpsuit can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 while the Nasty Gal version retails for $78. After copying Balmain’s design and then tweeting to claim credit for it, Nasty Gal received instantaneous

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Getting Out of the Weeds: Why Cannabis Products Can Be Patented but not Trademarked

By Gabrielle Sherwood|www.amdlawgroup.com Cannabis: patentable but not trademarkable Cannabis is legal for recreational or medicinal use in almost 30 states, and this number is likely to grow. However, cannabis remains illegal under federal law. As a result, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will not register trademarks for retailers of cannabis, or for products that contain cannabis. However, what is especially interesting is that the USPTO will grant patents involv

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Fight OVER Evil: The Yankees Win A Lawsuit

The Yankee’s successfully took an intended insult and created something great when they adapted to the title “Baseball’s Evil Empire”. When Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino threw the phrase at the team in 2002, he probably did not predict that it would help them win a lawsuit.             With the help of the Major League Baseball industry, a corporation was brought to its’ knees after trying to coin the phrase themselves and sell merchandise with it. T-shirts, hats, pants,

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