Duluth Trading Company Takes it Easy and Don Henley Takes Them to Court

Maybe Duluth Trading Company should’ve known better. Maybe it was just living life in the advertising fast lane. But on October 6, 2014, the Wisconsin clothing company circulated an ad to its customers imploring them to “Don a Henley and Take it Easy.” The “Henley” the ad refers to is the famous, three-button long sleeve shirt that has become a symbol of relaxation and “cool” since it was first placed on store racks. But in invoking the surname of Eagles’ co-founder and lead singer Don…
Continue reading...

“World’s Most Interesting” Case Settled

On Monday, the parties in the “World’s Most Interesting” trademark suit filed a stipulation to dismiss the suit.  In 2013, the Mexican brewer of Dos Equis beer filed a trademark and copyright infringement suit against KCI, Inc. (“KCI”), a New Jersey company that offers storage area network (SAN) maintenance services, over its advertising campaign themed “The Most Interesting Man in the World,” a U.S. registered trademark of the brewer. The complaint alleged that KCI filed trademark applications for the marks “The Most Interesting SAN Architect…
Continue reading...

Cubs Bring Trademark Infringement Suit Over Fake Mascot Billy Cub

The Chicago Cubs filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against five individuals who allegedly have been dressing in a fake mascot costume near Wrigley Field.  The complaint claimed that these individuals in their “Billy Cub” outfits not only engaged in “mascot-like activities” but also participated in “unsavory actions.”  Like the genuine Cubs mascot Clark the Cub’s costume, the outfit includes Cubs cap and jersey with “Billy Cub” and the number 78 on the back. The fake mascots solicited tips near the ball park for dancing or…
Continue reading...

Trademark-Bullying Against Bills Fans

Texas A&M, the owner of the “12th Man” trademark, filed two complaints against four Buffalo Bills fans who infringed on the trademark when they included the term in their website 12thManThunder.com.  The fans may not have known, but the Bills have been paying Texas A&M licensing fees to use the term on the Bills Wall of Fame. The story then became rather emotional than legal when it was known that one of the Bills fans is Charles “Chuckie” Sonntag, a double amputee who had…
Continue reading...

Snooki Wins Trademark Lawsuit

Back in August of 2013, reality television star Nicole Polizzi, known to her fans as Snooki, brought a $2.4 million lawsuit against Excell Brands and its perfume “Snazzy.”  Polizzi alleged trademark infringement of her perfume brand “Snooki.” The brand “Snazzy Woman” by Excell Brands is marketed in a box containing similar leopard print and what Excell calls a disclaimer: “Our version of Snooki by Nicole Polizzi.”  While the smell and packaging may be similar, the text of the name “Snooki by Nicole Polizzi” on the…
Continue reading...

Washington Redskins Trademark Registration Cancelled

The Washington Redskins six trademark registrations have been cancelled by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The office reasoned that the registrations were “disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered.”  Reviewed by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the decision was based on federal trademark law that prevents registration of trademarks that “may disparage” certain groups or individuals or “bring them into contempt or disrepute.” “The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks…
Continue reading...

Godzilla Settles with “Mechahopzilla”

Godzilla’s rights-owner Toho Co. Ltd. announced a settlement of the intellectual property litigation with New Orleans Lager & Ale Brewing Co. (“NOLA”).  Toho had filed a lawsuit against NOLA when it had come out with a beer called ‘Mechahopzilla’ and used a logo allegedly similar to Mechagodzilla, a character from the 1974 film Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla.  While no monetary award was reported, the agreement calls for NOLA to rename its beer and change some aspects of its advertising and packaging that are affected by…
Continue reading...

Merriman Lawsuit May Be “Lights Out” for Nike

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman is suing apparel giant Nike. Merriman’s company, Lights Out Holdings LLC, filed suit in California claiming that Nike infringed his trademark in “Lights Out” after Nikeintroduced a “Lights Out” line of merchandise. Merriman earned the “Lights Out” nickname in high school when he knocked out four opposing players in one game. Merriam secured a federal trademark in “Lights Out.” It has been used in several off-field ventures and is largely associated with Merriman’s persona. According to the suit, although Nike…
Continue reading...

Michael Jordan Wins in 7th Circuit Case over Supermarket Ad

On February 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a claim brought by Michael Jordan against Jewel Food Stores.  Jordan’s lawsuit alleged that the grocery store misappropriated his identity for the store’s commercial benefit by running an ad in Sports Illustrated that congratulated the ex-player on his 2009 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Though the ad didn’t feature Jordan himself, it prominently displayed a pair of red and white gym shoes featuring…
Continue reading...

Coinye Shutting Off “All of the Lights”

“Coinye West” is closing up shop because Kanye West isn’t happy.  On January 14, 2014, Kanye West filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the virtual currency now known as Coinye.  The currency, which started as a joke, announced through its website, “Coinye is dead. You win, Kanye.” Earlier this month, the currency’s founders discussed Coinye West in an interview with Vibe. They talked about the soon to be launched currency.  Referring to Kanye, they said “I think he’s gonna love that there’s a…
Continue reading...