Descriptive Phrases Are For Everyone’s Use – Vanilla Java Porter Denied Trademark Registration

Some bad news for Atwater in its quest to trademark “Vanilla Java Porter” is good news for those hoping ingredients and styles and variants don’t end up receiving registration forcing breweries to have to challenge registrations to get them undone in order to use common terms in their labeling.  You’re correct if you think this […]

It’s Official – Trademark Prohibition on “Disparaging” Marks is Unconstitutional

Here’s the opinion released in USPTO v. Tam.  More to follow along with the assessment as to how this decision might impact other government regulations that place prohibition on “disparaging” or even “offensive” commercial speech.  In parsing through this multi-part-concurring opinion, it appears the decisive factor is the First Amendment analysis offered in Part II […]

Second Circuit Puts Thumb On Scale Bringing Back Whole Foods Overcharging Case

The plaintiff brought this class action alleging that Whole Foods systematically overstated the weights of pre-packaged food products and overcharged customers as a result.  The products are prepackaged cheeses, cupcakes, the items weighed add priced prior to shelving – where the prices is based on the weight of the food.  The complaint had cited a […]

Naming Your Product Or Restaurant After An Element From A Larger Story? That’s Probably Trademark Infringement And You’re Probably Liable… Viacom Shuts Down Krusty Krab Themed Restaurant Infringing on SpongeBob Universe

We’ve written before about the potential liability associated with using some famous reference to a movie or a book as the name of your business or product.   Just think about it for a second, there’s a reason you want to use the name.  The association you’re looking to achieve between your product and the […]

Brooklyn Coffee Shop Sues Starbucks Because Unicorn Drinks Were So Last Year

In typical Brooklyn fashion, a coffee/juice shop in the borough says it was first on the Unicorn drink scene and arguing it developed, garnered favorable press attention for serving its Unicorn Lattes several months before Starbuck’s unleashed its Unicorn Frappuccino.   The End Brooklyn has filed a federal suit (you can read the complaint here) stating […]

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

McDonald’s Again Accused of Failing to Obtain Clearance Over Street Art in Advertising

Apparently the Dashielle Snow fight over McDonald’s allegedly using his work without permission as part of the interior decor for their restaurants wasn’t enough to get McDonald’s to up its copyright/permissions clearance game as now, new allegations of improper co-opting for commercial purposes have been made by some New York street artists.  Artnet news reports […]

Inflating Your Products’ Online Reviews Could Subject You to Suits For False Advertising and Unfair Competition

A good lesson in considering the method by which you garner online reviews and some valuable guidance for companies in conducting their online activities. This decision from a federal court in Utah in a Lanham Act suit between two vitamin companies provides a decent roadmap for how not to garner increased positive online reviews and […]

Millercoors Wins “Not From Australia” Lawsuit Over Claims That Foster’s Marketing Misleads Drinkers

In one of latest wins for brewers against deceptive labeling lawsuits brought against domestically made beers over branding that arguably conveys they are imported, Millercoors has scored a win for its Foster’s brand against a putative class action looking to cash in against the company.  The lawsuit (you can read the amended complaint here) alleged that […]

Kerrygold Wins TRO Against Irishgold Competitor To Stop Wisconsin Sales

The Wisconsin story of Kerrygold butter churns on as Wisconsinites may be forestalled for a little longer in achieving Irish butter satisfaction.  Last week Ornua Foods, which controls the rights to the Kerrygold brand in the U.S. brought an action against the Wisconsin-based Old World Creamery, alleging it had been in discussions with Old World […]

Lawsuit Challenges Wisconsin’s Unconstitutional Ban On Foreign Butters That Don’t Submit to the State’s Arbitrary Grading Process

Protectionist statutes meant to insulate dominant state industries by restricting or banning sales of foods and beverages that compete with local products aren’t just inane, they’re unconstitutional.  That hasn’t stopped the State of Wisconsin from keeping (and mildly enforcing) a law dating back the the 1950s that requires the grading of any butter sold in […]