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Intellectual Property

Apr 26, 2021

Intellectual Property – No jurisdiction over trademark suit

Where French trial and appellate courts previously declared the French Republic, and not a California company, is the rightful owner of the domain name, the French Republic was immune from’s trademark and cybersquatting suit. Background In 1994, a California corporation, Inc. purchased and registered the domain name and trademarks for “”[...]

Apr 9, 2021

Intellectual Property – Trademark Board appeal process clarified

Where a party can appeal an initial decision of the Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to either the Federal Circuit or district court, and the Federal Circuit remands to the Trademark Board which issues a second decision, there is legislative history, circuit precedent and policy that supports allowing that second decision […]

Mar 3, 2021

Intellectual Property – Laches was defense to Lanham Act claim

Where a defendant that was sued for unfair competition under the Lanham Act argued the suit was filed too late, because a § 43(a) claim is equitable in nature, the affirmative defense of laches, rather than statute of limitations, was the correct legal standard. Background This appeal arises out of an action brought by Bayer […]

Feb 18, 2021

Intellectual Property – End of challenged conduct moots injunction appeal

Where NIKE stopped an advertising campaign after the district court found it infringed on Fleet Feet’s trademarks, NIKE’s cessation of the campaign mooted its appeal of the preliminary injunction. Background In 2019, NIKE Inc., NIKE USA Inc. and NIKE Retail Services Inc. launched an advertising campaign with the tagline “Sport Changes Everything.” Fleet Feet Inc. […]

Feb 2, 2021

Intellectual Property – Apple prevails in dispute over use of ‘ipad’

Although a website operator began using “ipad” three years before Apple released its iPad in 2010, because Apple acquired use of the mark from another company that predated the website operator’s use, the mark obtained secondary meaning and Apple qualified as an “intervening junior user,” the website operator was permanently enjoined from any commercial use […]

May 14, 2020

Intellectual Property – No trade dress protection for chicken feeder

Where the shape and color scheme of a chicken feeder served a functional purpose, the feeder was ineligible for trade dress protection. Background In this trade dress infringement case, CTB Inc. appeals rulings granting summary judgment in favor of Hog Slat Inc. on the grounds that plaintiff’s trade dress registrations, which cover the shape and […]

Apr 5, 2020

Intellectual Property – Copyright Act – Termination Provisions – Trusts & Estates – Artist’s Widow – Special Administrator

Plaintiffs, James Brown’s adult children, allege that defendants—Brown’s widow, his youngest child, his estate’s personal representative, and the limited special administrator and limited special trustee of Brown’s estate and trust—have entered into agreements which violate the termination provisions of the Copyright Act. On defendants’ motion to revise the court’s denials of their[...]

Dec 5, 2019

Intellectual Property – Trademark Infringement – Attorneys – Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Appeals – Stay Motions – Arbitration

Because the court’s preliminary injunction does not impede the defendant-attorney’s ability to practice law—it only prohibits him from infringing on his father’s firm’s trademarks—the injunction does not implicate South Carolina Rule of Professional Conduct 5.6. The court grants plaintiff’s motion to amend the preliminary injunction and denies defendants’ motions to stay (1) enforc[...]

Nov 21, 2019

Intellectual Property Case not ‘exceptional’ under Lanham Act

Where the district court’s conclusions that one party was prevailing and that this case was “exceptional” under the Lanham Act were both rejected, an award of attorneys’ fees was reversed. Background Citi Trends Inc. filed a declaratory judgement action against Coach Inc. and Coach Services Inc. The district court exercised its discretion to decline to […]

Sep 25, 2019

Intellectual Property Copyright – Civil Practice – Declaratory Judgment – Trusts & Estates – James Brown Compositions

Plaintiffs allege that defendant Hynie has entered into an agreement which violates provisions of the Copyright Act, circumventing plaintiffs’ statutory interests while enhancing Hynie’s compensation. Plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to state a claim for a declaratory judgment. Defendants’ motion to dismiss is denied. Background Defendant Hynie was married to the late singer, James B[...]

Sep 18, 2019

Intellectual Property Failure to disclose license for trademark was sanctionable

Where a company licensed the use of a trademark without disclosing that the company itself was under a license to use that mark, and failed to disclose the license at any point during the discovery process, barring the company from asserting trademark infringement claims and raising any equitable defenses was an appropriate sanction. Background L&L […]

Aug 23, 2019

Intellectual Property Trademark Infringement – Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Attorneys

A son, who has the same name as his father (except for the “Jr.” designation), and who is in the same business – personal injury law – may not use marks that are confusingly similar to those that the father has spent substantial sums to promote. The court grants plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction […]

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