Adidas Falls Short in Protecting Trademark Registration of “Three-Stripe Mark” in EU Court

Adidas AG fell short in its efforts to protect broader trademark rights to its three-stripe mark, as the European Union ruled the design was not distinctive enough for protection. This decision invalidated its 2014 trademark registration on “three parallel equidistant stripes of identical width” which are applied on products “in any discretion.” “Adidas does not prove that that mark has acquired, throughout the territory of the EU, distinctive character following the use which had been made of it,” the court wrote in its decision summary
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Stephen Curry’s “Holey Moley” Faces Trademark Complaint in California Court

Fun Lab IP Co. Pty. Ltd. filed a trademark complaint in California federal court against Los Angeles-based Eureka Productions, claiming that the title of Eureka’s upcoming ABC game-show, Holey Moley, infringes on a popular Australian mini-golf chain of the same name. The show, which is hosted by two-time NBA Finals MVP and executive producer, Stephen Curry, and is advertised as a competitive mini-golf competition, will involve head-to-head matches between 12 contestants. Each episode, contestants will compete for a $25,000 prize on what an
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Heisman Trophy Trust Sues HeismanWatch.com

On Wednesday, October 3rd 2018, the Heisman Trophy Trust, the organization behind the famed Heisman Trophy, filed a trademark claim against HeismanWatch.com, a website that tracks the competition for the award. The trust submitted their compliant to New York federal court, positing that the website has used the Heisman trademarks without their consent or permission to capitalize on its fame.  The website HeismanWatch.com has been managed by owners Chase Leavitt, Joseph Middleton, and Kimball Dean since 2014, and has podcasts and social media…
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NFL Enterprises LLC Settles Patent Dispute

On July 10, 2018, NFL Enterprises LLC reached a settlement with OpenTV Inc. While the details of the settlement were not disclosed, the two parties did terminate their ongoing proceeding before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Patent Trial and Appeal Board and their ongoing lawsuit in the United States District Court of California. Back in May 2017, OpenTV and Nagravision SA filed eight patent infringement claims against the NFL Enterprises claiming that various video content used by the NFL Enterprises viewers on their…
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Gaining Momentum: Opposition in Redskins Lawsuit Enter Into Similar ‘Slants’ Case

On Friday, July 24, Amanda Blackhorse and the other Native Americans challenging the Washington Redskins over the team’s trademark registrations jumped into a parallel case in the Federal Circuit.  The other case involves The Slants, a band that was refused a trademark in 2013 due to the name being offensive to Asian-Americans, and the en banc Federal Circuit’s decision could weigh heavily in the challengers’ case against the football team. The Slants are currently arguing that the government’s ban on disparaging trademarks violates the First…
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From Football to Cheerleading: Washington Redskins Voice Support for Band’s Trademark Case

By now, most people are aware that last summer, the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration after finding the team’s name and logo to be disparaging to American Indians.  Last week, however, the team took a serious interest in a lower-profile case involving a band called the Slants. Previously, the USPTO refused the band’s two trademark applications, declaring that “slants” is disparaging to people of Asian descent.  On Thursday, June 18, the team threw its support behind the band,…
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Rise and Fall of an Empire (Distribution, Inc.)

In the pilot episode of Fox’s smash-hit series Empire, Cookie Lyon, explaining why, after her release from jail, she’s returning to her husband Lucious Lyon’s fictional record label, Empire Entertainment, says simply: “I’m here to get what’s mine.”  This is, of course, in reference to the formerly-jailed matriarch having taken the rap for Lucious to the tune of 17 years behind bars for drug-running while he built his music “empire.” Coincidentally, it also may sum up the thinking over the last couple of months…
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Oprah Free to Say “Own Your Power”

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty ruled that Oprah Winfrey may use the phrase “Own Your Power,” ending a trademark battle that started in 2011.  Ruling in favor of Oprah, the judge found that Oprah demonstrated that the phrase “lack[ed] the requisite distinctiveness” to warrant trademark protection. The suit was brought by Simone Kelly-Brown, a motivational speaker and business coach, who runs Own Your Power Communications, Inc.  She argued that the phrase was registered in 2008.  Then in 2010, the Oprah…
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Washington Redskins Argue a Violation of their Free Speech

The Washington Redskins fought back against the recent decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelling the team’s  trademark protection over the use of the term ‘redskin’ as many Native American groups find it disparaging. The court papers filed Monday by the team argue the law denying registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional because it infringes on the team’s First Amendment right to free speech.  The team’s attorneys argue the cancellation of the trademarks disfavors the team and singles them out, “interfering with the…
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