Posts Tagged: "trade dress"

Federal Circuit Maintains Full-Court Press on Converse’s Chuck Taylor Trade Dress

On October 30, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision from the International Trade Court invalidating the Converse Chuck Taylor sneaker design trade dress.  Converse Inc. v. ITC, No. 2016-2497, 2018 WL 5536405 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 30, 2018).  At first glance, this appeared to be great news for Converse.  However, the decision highlights multiple obstacles that Converse, and other brand owners, will continue to face as they seek to enforce product design trade dress in the US.

YETI Lawsuit Asserts Breach of Settlement Agreement Claims Against Wal-Mart

The suit, filed in the Western District of Texas, alleges that the mega retailer has been infringing on its IP related to trade dress covering aspects of YETI beverage holders in violation of a settlement agreement stemming from previous litigation activity which had played out between the two companies… The allegedly infringing products include 20- and 30-ounce beverage holders and a “Koozie” beverage container which are the same size and shape as the YETI trade dress. These products had previously been the subject of patent and trademark litigation played out between YETI and Wal-Mart

Crocs Chase Dawgs With Motion for Sanctions After Allegations of Bad Faith Litigation

On December 1st, Niwot, CO-based shoe manufacturer Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX) filed a motion for sanctions against Las Vegas, NV-based rival firm USA Dawgs Inc., which outlined a series of harassing legal moves in which Dawgs has engaged in recent years. Crocs is asking the District of Nevada to award Crocs costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by a lawsuit which Crocs alleges that Dawgs has pursued in bad faith.

Protecting Branded Apparel IP Assets: Pursuing Counterfeiters and Their Profits

Branded apparel companies face many challenges in protecting their IP assets, including the unavailability of copyright protection for fashion designs, the length of time necessary to secure a design patent, the challenge of securing secondary meaning required for a trade dress claim before the market is flooded with knock-offs, and the geographic and practical impediments to pursuing counterfeiters, who are often foreign-based and/or judgment proof.  Perhaps mindful of the limited statutory protections for IP assets and the significant damages being incurred at the hands of infringers, various courts, particularly in the Second and Ninth Circuits, have in recent years taken steps to enhance the alternatives available to apparel companies confronted by the scourge of knockoffs.  Specifically, such court decisions have (1) expanded the scope of potential contributorily liable actors, and (2) broadened the means of freezing and attaching assets of foreign counterfeiters.

2nd Circuit upholds most of district court judgment in trademark case brought by Swiss army knife maker Victorinox

On Tuesday, September 19th, Victorinox AG, the manufacturer of the well-known Swiss army knife, saw a successful outcome of an appeal decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, which affirmed in part a judgment in a trademark case filed in the Southern District of New York. The 2nd Circuit’s decision upholds a $1.75 million judgment entered in district court against Dallas, TX-based e-commerce company B&F System over the sale of red-handled, multi-functional pocket knives that infringed upon Victorinox’s registered trademark.

Willful trademark infringement alleged after defendant admits infringement, promises to cease

According to the complaint, when the 2015 arose the defendant gave written representations that they had indeed infringed on the trademarks and trade dress of WRB, that the trademarks and trade dress were valid and enforceable, that they would cease any further use of the trademarks or trade dress, and that they promised to pay costs and attorneys’ fees in addition to any remedies available under the law. Unfortunately, the willful trademark infringement did not stop there according to WRB.

IP Strategies for Digital Health Products and Services: What Can You Protect in a Data-Driven World?

Disruptive innovation, like what we are seeing in the health care industry, often causes disruption elsewhere, and the legal landscape is no exception. The life cycle of digital health products and services — from conception to promotion — presents a unique set of legal challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the matrix of issues facing these products. As a lawyer, these are the kind of projects that remind us of law school exams — lots of issues and, often, no clearly defined answers or solutions… This article explores some of those tools and why one might choose to pursue one or, in the more probable case, some combination of them.

How Trade Dress Can Help Game Developers Level Up

A developer asserting trade dress protection must, therefore, establish that a game’s design does not yield a utilitarian advantage by demonstrating that “the product feature serves no purpose other than identification of the game developer.” A developer must also identify alternative designs that offer the same functional features as the asserted trade dress. Alternative designs available to competitors ensure that a developer is not monopolizing a useful or aesthetically pleasing game feature.

The Differences Between Design Patents and Trade Dress

Design patents cover visual, nonfunctional characteristics embodied in, or applied to, an article of manufacture. They may relate to the configuration or shape of an article, the surface ornamentation applied to an article, or to a combination of the two. Ultimately, a design patent protects only the appearance of the article and not its structure or functionality. Trade dress is a type of trademark that refers to the image and overall appearance of a product. Trademarks protect brands and the goodwill associated with the brand. A trademark is used to identify the source of goods or services and is used to distinguish the goods and services of one seller or provider from another. Trade dress can include product packaging, product shape and color, and the look and feel of a restaurant or retail store.

Trademark Cases of the United States Supreme Court

In 1879 the United States Supreme Court first had the opportunity (and necessity) to address whether Congress had been granted in the Constitution the power to enact legislation to protect trademarks. Since 1879 there have been many cases involved trademark issues that have wound up the top Court in the United States. But a summary start to finish of all Supreme Court trademark cases is even a bit ambitious for us in a single article. Thus, what follows is a summary of those trademarks issues that have reached the Supreme Court over the last generation.

Two of My Favorite Things: Whiskey and Trade Dress

Which brings us to the recent gem of an opinion from the Sixth Circuit. Maker’s Mark has been using red sealing wax on its bourbon bottles since the 1950’s, which it trademarked in 1985 (Reg. No. 1469925). Then, in 1997, the company making Jose Cuervo brand tequila started using red sealing wax on some of its special bottles, which were sold beginning in 2001. Needless to say, the Kentucky bourbon company took issue with the tequila company’s use of dripping red sealing wax and requested that such practice immediately stop. Cuervo said “Nope”, so in 2003, Maker’s Mark sued them. It appears that Cuervo stopped using the dripping wax seal in favor of a straight edged seal around 2006, but it countersued to cancel the mark.

The Top 5 IP Mistakes Tech Startups Make

One of the costliest mistakes a startup can make is mismanaging intellectual property rights. A company needs to not only manage its own IP rights, but also avoid those of third parties, including competitors. To be on the safe side, therefore, intellectual property management should include efficiently protecting the startup’s IP rights while also avoiding the IP rights of others.

Understanding Intellectual Property Basics

Intellectual property is probably best thought of (at least in general terms) as creations of the mind that are given the legal rights often associated with real or personal property. The rights that are given are a function of statutory law (i.e., law created by the legislature). These statutes may be federal or state laws, or in some instance both…