Category Archives: Intellectual Property, Copyright, and Trademark

NCAA Hopes for Slam Dunk in Trademark Infringement Suit

The NCAA, on November 13, 2017, asked for a default judgment and a permanent injunction against Kizzang LLC and its owner, Robert Alexander, for alleged trademark infringement of “March Madness” and “Final Four.” A judge had issued a stipulated order back in March under which Alexander and Kizzang agreed not to use “April Madness” or “Final 3” in its online fantasy games. The suit was originally filed in March 2017, less than a week before the NCAA’s annual Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. It…

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U.S. Army Shoots Back at Holding that “West Point” is Not a Registrable Trademark

An examiner at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused to register the U.S. Army’s military academy crest and the words “Army West Point” unless the Army disclaimed the words “West Point.” The examiner ruled that “West Point” was not a registrable trademark, but rather a “primarily geographically descriptive” name, referring to the town of West Point, New York. Last year, the Army applied to register the famous military academy’s crest — an Athena helmet on a shield with the words “Duty Honor Country West…

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Rutgers Goes on the Defensive in Trademark Infringement Suit

A New Jersey apparel company, Anger Sports, sued Rutgers University and an assistant head coach of Rutgers’ football team for trademark infringement earlier this month. Anger Sports, which owns the wordmark “Rare Breed Athletics,” registered its logos in May 2016. The company is alleging that the Scarlet Knights’ assistant head coach, A.J. Blazek, posted images on social media in February 2017 of a logo, confusingly similar to the Anger Sports logo, which is meant to represent the offensive line of Rutgers’ football team. The twitter…

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Game Developer Moves to Transfer Trademark Suit Outside of NCAA Home Ground

On August 31, 2017, defendant Kizzang LLC, a game developer, filed a motion in its case against the NCAA to either move the case from the Indiana Federal Court or dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction and venue. The suit stems from the allegations that Kizzang infringed on the NCAA’s trademarks, “March Madness” and “Final Four.” Kizzang claimed the NCAA filed the suit in the Indiana Federal Court only out of convenience and that none of its allegations included any direct contact with the…

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A Fight Over Baseball Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner’s Trademarks

Florida-based Honus Wagner Co. filed a complaint on July 5, 2017 in Florida federal court against an Indiana licensing management company for trademark infringement. Honus Wagner, considered by some to be the greatest shortstop ever, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1936 as one of its original five members. In the beginning of the Twentieth Century, no player was more dominant than Wagner. He led the majors in hits, runs, doubles, total bases, extra-base hits, runs…

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Aggies Allegedly Violate Own Honor Code in “12th Man” Trademark Dispute

On January 19, 2017, an Alabama book editor filed sui against Texas A&M’s athletic department and the fund-raising 12th Man Foundation, accusing both entities and  three school employees of posting the “heart” of his unpublished book “12th Man: The Life and Legend of Texas A&M’s E. King Gill” on its website “nearly word-for-word” in January 2014 without his permission. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Houston, begins by citing the Aggies Code of Honor, which states “An Aggie does not lie, cheat…

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Rawlings Defensive Over Easton’s Plan to Release Bats With Similar Logo

On August 15, 2017, Rawlings Sporting Goods Co. filed a lawsuit against Easton Diamond Sports LLC arguing that Easton ripped off Rawlings popular “5150” brand of bats with a new “S150” line that Easton planned to release pursuant to a recent equipment rule change. Starting January 1, 2018, Little League Baseball has banned the use of all 2 ¼ inch barrel baseball bats constructed with composite material in the barrel, unless approved. Little League bats will now be governed by the BBCOR bat standard

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Video Game Tattoos Copyright Infringement? NBA 2K Attempts to Close-Out Case

In February 2016, Solid Oak Sketches sued 2K Games and Take-Two Interactive Software claiming that it owned the copyrights to tattoos on several NBA stars, including Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and Eric Beldsoe. The tattoo designers sought actual damages, statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, but in August 2016, a New York federal judge ruled out the latter two. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain stated “in order to obtain statutory damages and attorneys’ fees, a plaintiff must have registered its copyright prior to the alleged…

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Start Your Engines: Legal Battle Over Earnhardt Name Revived

Kerry Earnhardt, the late Dale Earnhardt’s eldest son, applied through his Kerry Earnhardt Inc. company in 2011 to register “Earnhardt Collection” for both furniture and custom home design. In 2012, Dale Earnhardt’s widow and third wife, Theresa Earnhardt, filed an opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) seeking to block Kerry’s application. Theresa is Kerry’s stepmother and owner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., and already own a number of “Earnhardt” registrations for a wide variety of goods. In February of 2016, the TTAB dismissed…

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Titleist Calls Out Website Over Rules Violation for Product Line

On July 13, 2017, Titleist’s parent company, Acushnet Co., filed a complaint in Massachusetts federal court against imadebogey.com’s owner, Benjamin Russell, alleging his products infringe Titleist’s classic marks and offend its customers. The complaint cites unfair competition, trademark infringement and dilution. Imadebogey.com sells golf hats and other accessories with the words “Titties” and “Titlost” instead of “Titleist” in the same distinctive stylized script as the 84-year-old logo, including shirts and beer koozies. These are just some of their golf-related products sold on the website that…

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