Tag Archives: Trademarks

The Impact of President Trump’s IP-Related Appointments

By Steve Hall and Kate Van Namen

sclaes with copyspace showing law justice or court concept

Having been sworn in as the Forty-Fifth president of the United States, Donald Trump will now appoint individuals who will leave their fingerprints on the intellectual property landscape.  Although it might not happen overnight, at some point in 2017 the President is expected to appoint a Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and a new Supreme Court justice to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia.  These are at least two of the significant appointments by President Trump related to intellectual property.

The USPTO Director sets the tone for hiring and promoting administrative judges, examiners, and supervisors – individuals who, collectively, exercise great power with respect to the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.  Also, the Director serves as the principal advisor to the President on domestic and international intellectual property policy matters.

Undoubtedly, the criteria for USPTO Director candidates will revolve around jobs.  The President has expressed the need for strengthening U.S. patents worldwide and preventing misappropriation of intellectual property as substantial factors in protecting jobs in this country.  Candidates who do not go to sleep at night thinking about Continue reading The Impact of President Trump’s IP-Related Appointments

SEC Throws Penalty Flag on Bush Tailgate Koozies

By Will Gibbons

The so-called “SEC Primaries” on March 1, 2016 could have as much to do with deciding the Republican presidential nominee as the Southeastern Conference does with college football’s national championship. With that in mind, candidate Jeb Bush has toured the SEC this fall, and while he is undoubtedly watching great football, he is also pursuing votes.

Photo from usatoday.com
Photo from usatoday.com

As Bush canvasses the crowds across southern tailgates, which have included the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee campuses, staffers have passed out koozies emblazoned with the letters “J-E-B,” in a circular logo similar to that of the SEC. That is until recently, when SEC officials called the logo into question.

The Conference’s position was simple—that it does not endorse candidates for public office (good business practice even in the right-leaning South), and because of that, Bush’s logo presented a Continue reading SEC Throws Penalty Flag on Bush Tailgate Koozies

Patent Litigation on Reach of Raging Bull Decision to go to Round Two in Federal Circuit

By Will Gibbons

Could a case on the boxing classic Raging Bull lead to a patent litigation prizefight of sorts? In an en banc hearing ordered on December 30, 2014, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, a federal appellate court with special jurisdiction over patents and trademarks, will decide whether the Supreme Court’s essential elimination of a litigation defense involving copyright cases should also apply in patent cases.

intellectualpropertyThe defense in question is the doctrine of laches. Laches is an equitable defense that bars recovery when a party claims it has been legally injured, but unreasonably delays pursuing any legal action in a way that prejudices the opposing party. The defense has been asserted in many kinds of cases, including contract, tort, copyright, and patent cases.

A Supreme Court case involving a copyright and the laches defense, Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (2014), has triggered a ripple effect that may reach into patent law. In that case, Paula Petrella, daughter of the co-author of the screenplay that evolved into Raging Bull, alleged copyright infringement against MGM. MGM countered that Petrella delayed too long in bringing the action, as she had renewed the copyright in 1991 and first threatened suit in 1998. However, the Supreme Court rejected MGM’s position and held that Continue reading Patent Litigation on Reach of Raging Bull Decision to go to Round Two in Federal Circuit

Commentary: Trademarking Tragedy

By Carl Eppler

It may not seem intuitive to connect intellectual property rights with a human tragedy, but indeed, the two intersect more often than we realize. This is likely not the proper forum to opine on the propriety of such an intersection, or the motives of those who mine its connections, but it is a topic ripe for discussion because it is so common in today’s world.

In the wake of the Paris Charlie Hebdo massacre on January 7, 2015, people from around the world began showing their solidarity with the victims under the hashtag “#jesuischarlie.” “Je Suis Charlie!” also became a rallying cry for the multiple demonstrations that followed the attack. Forty-eight hours later, someone in the U.S. filed a trademark application for “Je Suis Charlie.” You can check out the filing for yourself.

On its face, the filing appears legitimate — the applicant, the Je Suis Charlie Trust, is seeking to trademark the phrase for “[p]romoting charitable giving that reflects the core values of the donor by providing a method to identify the donor’s core values and to select charities that foster those values.” The application claims the first use of the mark in commerce was “at least as early” as the day of the attacks, though it is unclear how Continue reading Commentary: Trademarking Tragedy

Analysis: The Washington Redskins trademark case — landmark decision or momentary legal fracas?

By Carl Eppler

I recently wrote an analysis of the Washington Redskins trademark case that was published in the Nashville Post.  The article, “Analysis: The Washington Redskins trademark case – landmark decision or momentary legal fracas?” examines the controversial case, and explains the legal process and implications of the ruling. 

Click here to read the full article.