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Preview: LexisNexis® Mealey's™ Trademarks Legal News

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5th Circuit: Fraud Upon PTO Does Not Make Case Exceptional
NEW ORLEANS - A Texas federal judge properly ruled that fraud upon the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does not automatically render a case exceptional, thereby triggering an award of attorney fees, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled March 1 (Stacey Vetter v. Christine McAtee, No. 15-20575, 5th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 3698).



Texas Magistrate Judge Recommends Trademark Lawsuit Should Proceed
AUSTIN, Texas - Efforts by a defendant to obtain judgment on the pleadings on allegations that it committed false advertising and trademark infringement should be denied, a Texas federal magistrate judge recommended March 3 (University Loft Company v. Blue Furniture Solutions LLC, No. 15-826, W.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30767).



Texas Federal Judge Grants Dickey's Motion For Injunction In Infringement Dispute
SHERMAN, Texas - A Texas federal judge on March 6 granted Dickey's Barbecue Pit Inc.'s motion for preliminary injunctive relief in a dispute with former franchisees who are alleged to have kept selling Dickey's trademarked products after a franchise agreement was terminated, saying that the barbecue franchisor is likely to prevail in its trademark infringement suit (Dickey's Barbecue Pit Inc., et al. v. Celebrated Affairs Catering Inc., et al., No. 4:17-cv-00127, E.D. Texas, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30814).



Magistrate Criticizes Discovery Responses In Copyright Case, Scolds Entire District
NEW YORK - In a Feb. 28 ruling, a New York federal magistrate judge not only found a copyright and trademark defendant's discovery responses to be noncompliant with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34, he also took the opportunity to criticize attorneys throughout the district for continually failing to comply with December 2015 amendments to the rule (James H. Fischer v. Stephen T. Forrest Jr., et al., No. 1:14-cv-01304 and 1:14-cv-01307, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28102).



Indiana Federal Judge Says Noble Roman's Failure To Act Caused Infringement
INDIANAPOLIS - An Indiana federal judge on Feb. 27 granted a gas station and convenience store operator's motion for summary judgment on Noble Roman Inc.'s claims for violation of the Lanham Act, saying that Noble Roman's delay in taking action to protect its trademarks led to the defendant's continued infringement (Noble Roman's Inc. v. Hattenhauer Distributing Co., No. 1:14-cv-1734, S.D. Ind., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 27022).



Judge Allows Testimony On Lost Profits, Royalty Damages In Patent, Trademark Suit
SAN JOSE, Calif. - In a patent and trademark infringement dispute between competitors in the fitness and exercise equipment industry, a California federal judge on March 6 refused to exclude expert testimony on lost profits damages and royalty damages (Fitness Anywhere LLC v. WOSS Enterprises LLC, No. 14-01725, N.D. Calif.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 31505).



Judge Excludes Expert In Trademark Lawsuit For Lack Of Experience
GREENBELT, Md. - A federal judge in Maryland on Feb. 21 excluded the testimony of an expert in a trademark infringement lawsuit on grounds that his opinions were "non-substantiated proclamations on the ultimate questions of law and he lacked the requisite training education or experience in the relevant field of proffered expertise" (JFJ Toys Inc., et al. v. Sears Holdings Corporation, et al., No. 14-3527, D. Md.).



Michigan Federal Judge Denies Relief, Dismisses False Advertising Case
DETROIT - A request for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief barring the host of a training program on tinnitus care from providing participants with a "Tinnitus Care Provider Certificate" upon completion of the program was rejected Feb. 21 by a Michigan federal judge, who found instead that the plaintiff lacks standing to levy claims of false advertising under Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act (Academy of Doctors of Audiology v. International Hearing Society, No. 16-13839, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23652).



New Jersey Federal Judge Denies Injunction In Trademark Case
TRENTON, N.J. - Citing the dates upon which a plaintiff and defendant first began using a disputed trademark, a New Jersey federal judge on Feb. 24 denied the plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief (Watch Yo Mouth LLC v. Denbigh and Associates LLC, d/b/a Skyler Innovations, No. 17-717, D. N.J., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 26258).



Judge Orders BMW To Show Cause As To Why UCL Case Should Not Be Transferred
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on Feb. 21 ordered a car manufacturer to show cause as to why its claims for violation of California's unfair competition law and trademark infringement should not be transferred to another venue (BMW of North America, LLC, et al. v. Michael Chambers, et al., No. 17-0846, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24096).



Judge Finds Salesman Did Not Infringe On Trade Secret With Boat Design
TAMPA, Fla.- A Florida federal judge on Feb. 16 granted judgment in favor of a boat maker, finding that customer information did not constitute a trade secret and that a reasonable jury could not find that it infringed on another company's trade dress when it manufactured an allegedly similar boat (Yellowfin Yachts Inc. v. Barker Boatworks, LLC, et al., No. 8:15-cv-990, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21745).



Med Tech Company Opposes Review Of Overturned $340M Antitrust Award
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a dispute over entitlement to a treble damages award for attempted monopolization under Section 2 of the Sherman Act, a medical technology company argues in a Feb. 15 brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no evidence that its alleged false advertising harmed competition or that it "tainted" the market by selling a flawed product (Retractable Technologies Inc. and Thomas Shaw v. Becton Dickinson & Co., No. 16-953, U.S. Sup.).



Firearms Distributor Opposes Review On Denial Of Profits Claim In Trademark Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A manufacturer and distributor of firearms argues in a Feb. 27 brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should decline review on whether a district court's refusal to allow amendment of a proposed pretrial order to assert a profits claim was an abuse of discretion (Clyde Armory Inc. v. FN Herstal S.A., No. 16-936, U.S. Sup.).



New York Magistrate Judge: Deny Sanctions In Copyright, Trademark Case
NEW YORK - A request for sanctions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1927 by a prevailing copyright and trade dress infringement defendant should be denied, according to a Feb. 13 ruling by a New York federal magistrate judge, who found that plaintiff's counsel did not commit fraud upon by failing to quickly correct perjured depositions (Crown Awards Inc. v. Trophy Depot Inc., No. 15-1178, S.D. N.Y., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20393).



6th Circuit Reverses Cancellation Of Trademark Ab Initio
CINCINNATI - An Ohio federal judge's grant of summary judgment on a counterclaim seeking to void the "IntelliJet" trademark was reversed Feb. 3 by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (NetJets Inc. v. IntelliJet Group LLC, No. 15-4230, 6th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2062).



Lanham Act Claims Over Political Ad Dismissed, Copyright Claims Survive
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Jan. 31 refused to decide the question of whether inclusion of an altered, copyrighted song in a 30-second advertisement critical of former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold qualifies as a fair use under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 107, deeming such a determination inappropriate in response to a motion to dismiss (Roger Nichols, et al. v. Club for Growth Action, No. 16-220, D. D.C., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12820).



California Federal Judge: Plaintiff Not Barred From Calling Products Similar
LOS ANGELES - A defense motion in limine seeking to prevent a plaintiff from referring to an allegedly infringing jewelry line as "similar" to a jewelry line made by the plaintiff was denied Feb. 6 by a California federal judge (Brighton Collectibles LLC v. Believe Production Inc., No. 15-579, C.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16594).



Florida Federal Judge Sides With Ford In Trade Dress, Infringement Case
ORLANDO, Fla. - Allegations that Ford Motor Co. committed tortious interference were rejected Jan. 30 by a Florida federal judge, who found that trademark and trade dress-related demand letters sent by the automaker to distributors of allegedly infringing products were not objectively baseless (Silverhorse Racing LLC v. Ford Motor Company, No. 16-53, M.D. Fla., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12213).



$500M Verdict Returned In Trade Secrets Trial Involving Virtual Reality Software
DALLAS - A Texas federal jury on Feb. 1 ordered four defendants - including Facebook Inc. - to pay a combined $500 million in actual damages to two virtual reality (VR) technology companies for copyright and trademark infringement, conversion, violations of a nondisclosure agreement and false designation (ZeniMax Media Inc., et al. v. Oculus VR Inc., et al., No. 14-cv-1849, N.D. Texas, Dallas Div.).



Trademark Dispute Between Competing Restaurants Ends With Defense Verdict
BALTIMORE - A Maryland federal jury on Jan. 19 sided squarely with a restaurant accused of unfair competition and trademark infringement by a competitor (Cava Group Inc. v. Mezeh-Annapolis LLC, et al., No. 14-355, D. Md.).



6th Circuit Partly Vacates Decision Voiding Trademark Applications
CINCINNATI - When an intent-to-use (ITU) trademark applicant proceeding under Lanham Act 1(b) lacks a bona fide intent to produce some, but not all, of the goods and services listed in the application, the application "should not be voided in its entirety absent fraud or other egregious conduct," a divided panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 23 (Kelly Services Inc. v. Creative Harbor LLC, No. 16-1200, 6th Cir.; 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1131).



Illinois Federal Judge: Australian Must Defend Trademark Claims In United States
CHICAGO - Efforts by an individual defendant accused of trademark infringement to obtain dismissal on jurisdictional grounds were rejected Jan. 25 by an Illinois federal judge, who noted that the person - as owner and director of a co-defendant corporation - would be "be significantly involved in the case regardless of the claims against him personally" (Deckers Outdoor Corporation v. Australian Leather Pty. Ltd., et al., No. 16-3676, N.D. Ill.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11087).



7th Circuit Affirms: Shape, Design Of Bag Are Functional
CHICAGO - Allegations of trade dress infringement by the maker of personal care kits were properly rejected by an Illinois federal judge, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded Jan. 27 (Arlington Specialties Inc. v. Urban Aid Inc., No. 14-3416, 7th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1506).



Michigan Federal Judge Overturns Verdict In Favor Of False Advertising Plaintiff
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A May 2016 jury verdict that a defendant committed false advertising and corresponding $3.8 million award were thrown out on Jan. 30 by a Michigan federal judge (A.L.S. Enterprises Inc. v. Robinson Outdoor Products LLC, No. 14-500, W.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11946).



Plaintiffs In Philadelphia Restaurant Battle Fight Attempt To Dismiss Case
PHILADELPHIA - Plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging intentional infringement and misappropriation of intellectual property, unfair competition and breach of fiduciary duties that has the owners of a 116-year-old restaurant fighting over its name and franchising on Jan. 18 filed an opposition to a motion to dismiss their lawsuit for failure to state a claim, saying they have alleged more than enough facts to support all of their claims (Karen Castagna, et al. v. James Rubino Jr., et al., No. 2:16-cv-05066, E.D. Pa.).



New Jersey Federal Judge Dismisses Complaint In Tony Luke's Name Battle
CAMDEN, N.J. - A New Jersey federal judge on Jan. 30 granted a defendants' motion to dismiss a trademark infringement and unfair competition complaint in a family feud over control of the name of the Tony Luke's sandwich empire for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (TR Worldwide Phillyfood LLC v. Tony Luke Inc., et al., No. 1:16-cv-01185, D. N.J.).



Panel Upholds Lanham Act Judgment Without Expert Testimony On Actual Injury
RICHMOND, Va. - Without expert testimony, a seller of internet domain names could not establish the elements of its Lanham Act claim, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Feb. 8, finding that there was no evidence that the seller suffered an actual injury as a direct result of a competitor's conduct (Verisign Inc. v. XYZ.com LLC and Daniel Negari, No. 15-2526, 4th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2264).



Judge Refuses Dismissal Of Claims Related To Online Sale Of Hair Products
SAN DIEGO - A California federal judge on Feb. 7 refused to dismiss a hair product company's claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and intentional interference with contractual relations, finding that a retailer had notice that it was potentially selling unauthorized products online and that it showed that a valid contract exists (Unite Eurotherapy Inc. v. Walgreens Co., et al., No. 16-cv-01706, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18116).



Federal Judge Remands Company's UCL Claims Related To Trademark
OAKLAND, Calif. - A California federal judge on Feb. 10 granted an exclusive licensee's motion to remand its claims for violation of California's unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims related to the alleged unauthorized use of a trademark, finding that it did not waive its right to remand the action (SWC Inc. v. Elite Promo Inc., No. 16-cv-07071, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19513).



Counterclaims Did Not Allege Advertising Injury, 10th Circuit Affirms
ATLANTA - The 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Feb. 8 found that underlying counterclaims against an insured failed to assert facts that constituted an "advertising injury" under general liability and excess insurance policies, affirming a lower federal court's finding that the insurer did not have a duty to defend its insured (IVFMD Florida, Inc. v. Allied Property & Casualty Insurance Co., No. 16-15127, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2218).



Government Tells High Court Not To Review Drug Trademark Dispute
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The federal government argues in a Jan. 24 opposition brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should not review a ruling that held Bayer Consumer Care AG (BCC) and Bayer Healthcare LLC (Bayer, collectively) could sue under Sections 14(3) and 43(a) of the Lanham Act over a foreign brand name the company never used in the United States because concerns that it would dramatically change U.S. trademark law were "overblown" (Belmora LLC and Jamie Belcastro v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, et al., No. 16-548, U.S. Sup.).



University Opposes Supreme Court Review Of Trademark Case Over Use Of Name
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New Jersey university argues in a Jan. 20 opposition brief that the U.S. Supreme Court should not review whether the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect an alumni association from trademark infringement claims in connection with its use of the words "alumni association" in conjunction with the university's name (Alumni Association of New Jersey Institute of Technology v. New Jersey Institute of Technology, No. 16-798, U.S. Sup.).



Firearms Seller Seeks Review Over Denial To Assert Profits Claim In Trademark Suit
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A seller and distributor of firearms, in a trademark infringement lawsuit, petitioned on Jan. 25 for writ of certiorari to ask the U.S. Supreme Court whether a district court's refusal to allow it to amend a proposed pretrial order to assert a profits claim was an abuse of discretion (Clyde Armory Inc. v. FN Herstal S.A., No. 16-936, U.S. Sup.).



Company Seeks High Court Review Of Res Judicata Ruling Under B&B Hardware
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A software company in a Jan. 18 petition for writ of certiorari asks the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is bound by B&B Hardware Inc. v. Hargis Industries Inc., 135 S.Ct. 1293 (2015), "in a trademark declaratory action brought solely to relitigate the likelihood of confusion issue after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board had already rendered a final judgment determining likelihood of confusion" (M2 Software Inc. v. M2 Technology Inc., No. 16-909, U.S. Sup.).



Belmora Argues Courts Recognize Limits To Suing For Trademark Cancellation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a Feb. 8 reply brief, Belmora LLC argues to the U.S. Supreme Court that courts "generally recognized that the principle of territoriality imposed a real limit on who could sue for cancellation of a trademark or unfair competition under the Lanham Act" (Belmora LLC and Jamie Belcastro v. Bayer Consumer Care AG, et al., No. 16-548, U.S. Sup.).



Alumni Association: 1st Amendment Bars Trademark Case Over Use Of Name
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an alumni association from trademark infringement claims in connection with its use of the words "alumni association" in conjunction with the university's name, the alumni association argues in its Jan. 30 reply brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, because it cannot identify who its members are without using the university's name (Alumni Association of New Jersey Institute of Technology v. New Jersey Institute of Technology, No. 16-798, U.S. Sup.).



Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Dispute Over Disparaging Trademarks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - An attorney representing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) defended the constitutionality of the Lanham Act's disparagement provision on Jan. 18 in oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court (Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Simon Shiao Tam, No. 15-1293, U.S. Sup.).



4th Circuit Upholds Enhanced Award For DirecTV In Trademark Case
RICHMOND, Va. - A North Carolina federal judge did not err in rejecting a jury award of $760,000 in favor of a marketing company that had accused DirecTV LLC of violating the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA), the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 29 (Exclaim Marketing LLC v. DirecTV LLC, No. 15-2399, 4th Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23378).



Missouri Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Trademark Claim
ST. LOUIS - Although a defendant won dismissal Dec. 27 of allegations that it committed tortious interference with business expectancies, its motion was denied by a Missouri federal judge as it relates to trademark infringement (John Beal Inc. v. Roofpros Inc. and Web.com Group Inc., No. 16-1151, E.D. Mo.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178513).



New York Federal Judge Denies Dismissal Of Canon's Trademark Claims
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - A defendant's motion to dismiss, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), allegations that he infringed the "Canon" trademark was rejected Jan. 11 by a New York federal judge (Canon-U.S.A. Inc. v. F&E Trading, LLC, et al., No. 15-6015, E.D. N.Y.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4223).



Federal Circuit Upholds Cancellation Of 'The Emerald City' Trademark
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Findings by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board that a 2009 agreement regarding an as-then unregistered trademark constituted an assignment of the intent-to-use application in violation of Section 10 of the Lanham Act were proper, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 13 (Emerald Cities Collaborative Inc. v. Sheri Jean Roese, No. 16-1703, Fed. Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 22073).



Former Franchisee Enjoined In Texas Trademark, Breach Of Contract Action
HOUSTON - A former franchisee accused of breach of contract was ordered by a Texas federal judge on Dec. 23 to refrain from conducting any business in any manner "that gives the general public the impression" that the franchise agreement is still in force or that the franchisee is "in any way" associated with the franchisor (Fantastic Sams Franchise Corporation v. Gerald Mosley, No. 16-2318, S.D. Texas; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177941).



Mississippi Federal Judge Allows Git-R-Done Trademark Case To Proceed
JACKSON, Miss. - A request for summary judgment by a defendant accused of infringing the "Git-R-Done" tagline of the fictional character "Larry the Cable Guy" when it named its convenience store "Giterdone" was denied Dec. 28 by a Mississippi federal judge (Git-R-Done Productions Inc. v. Giterdone C Store LLC, No. 15-386, S.D. Miss.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179201).



2nd Circuit: Confusion Unlikely In Copyright, Trademark Dispute
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge did not err in granting a copyright and trademark defendant summary judgment in a dispute with Louis Vuitton (LV) Malletier S.A., the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 22 (Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. My Other Bag Inc., No. 16-241, 2nd Cir.; 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 23014).



New York Federal Judge: New Infringement Claims Barred By Settlement
NEW YORK - A longstanding dispute over the trademarked phrase "Get Lucky" was dismissed Dec. 22 by a New York federal judge, on grounds that the latest claims by plaintiff Marcel Fashions Group Inc. are barred by the terms of a 2003 settlement (Marcel Fashions Group Inc. v. Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc., No. 11-5523, S.D. N.Y.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177483).



9th Circuit: Dismissal Of Karaoke Company's Trademark Case Was Proper
SAN FRANCISCO - Allegations by a karaoke music producer that a defendant's practice of "media-shifting" karaoke tracks from physical compact discs to digital files violates the Lanham Act were correctly dismissed by an Arizona federal judge, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 18 (Slep-Tone Entertainment Corporation v. Wired for Sound Karaoke and DJ Services LLC, No. 14-17229, 9th Cir.).



Texas Federal Judge Denies Summary Judgment On Dilution Claim
HOUSTON - Although granting Viacom International Inc. summary judgment on allegations that a proposed "The Krusty Krab" restaurant would represent trademark infringement, a Texas federal judge on Jan. 11 denied Viacom's request as it relates to trademark dilution (Viacom International Inc. v. IJR Capital Investments LLC, No. 16-257, S.D. Texas.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3948).



New Jersey Federal Judge: Disgorgement Of Profits In Label Dispute Not Justified
TRENTON, N.J. - A plaintiff's request for disgorged profits in connection with allegedly false and misleading juice labels was rejected Dec. 23 by a New Jersey federal judge, acting in response to a defendant's motion for summary judgment (MB Imports Inc. v. T&M Imports LLC, et al., No. 10-3445, D. N.J.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178530).



Virginia Federal Judge: Third-Party, Online Sales Do Not Confer Jurisdiction
ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A defendant's distribution of allegedly infringing smart phone and tablet applications through third-party, online retailers is an insufficient basis for the exercise of personal jurisdiction in a trademark case, a Virginia federal judge ruled Dec. 22 (Michael Zaletel v. Prisma Labs Inc., No. 16-1230, E.D. Va.; 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177730).



Little Caesar Enterprises Sues Restaurant Corporation Alleging Breach Of Contract
DETROIT - Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. on Dec. 6 filed a breach of contract, trademark infringement, unfair competition and trade dress infringement lawsuit against a New York restaurant corporation in Michigan federal court, alleging that the defendants failed to adhere to the franchisor's standards and repeatedly failed to provide financial records (Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. v. Creative Restaurant Inc., et al., No. 2:16cv14263, E.D. Mich.).



Wal-Mart, Amazon Targeted By Rap Group For Trademark Violations
NEW YORK - Asserting damages in excess of $50 million, the iconic rap group Run-DMC filed suit Dec. 29 in New York federal court against retailers Wal-Mart and Amazon.com Inc. over clothing and accessories that directly infringe the "RUN-DMC" trademark (RUN-DMC Brand LLC v. Amazon.com Inc., et al., No. 16-10011, S.D. N.Y.).



Band Member Argues That Disparagement Clause Is Contrary To 1st Amendment
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A member of an Asian-American rock band argues in his Dec. 9 response brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that the Lanham Act's disparagement clause is contrary to the First Amendment and, alternatively, that the clause does not bar the registration of his trademark and is unconstitutionally vague (Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Simon Shiao Tam, No. 15-1293, U.S. Sup.).



U.S. Supreme Court Asked To Overturn Trademark Ruling In Favor Of Oprah Winfrey
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a trademark infringement suit against Oprah Winfrey, an entrepreneur and her communications company in a Dec. 15 petition ask the U.S. Supreme Court to answer whether an appeals court "erred in dissecting the literal element of a composite mark, the greatest commercial impression, thereby requiring identical use rather than a colorable imitation of that mark for determining trademark infringement, thus circumventing a likelihood of confusion analysis in violation of the Lanham Act and the anti-dissection rule" (Simone Kelly-Brown and Own Your Power Communications Inc. v. Oprah Winfrey, et al., No. 16-803, U.S. Sup.).



Alumni Association Asks High Court To Review Trademark Case Over Use Of Name
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A New Jersey technology alumni association on Dec. 9 petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to answer whether the First and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect it from claims of trademark infringement in connection with its use of the words "Alumni Association," in conjunction with the name of a state university (Alumni Association of New Jersey Institute of Technology v. New Jersey Institute of Technology, No. 16-798, U.S. Sup.).



PTO Says Lanham Act Declines To Link Government With Disparaging Marks
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Michelle K. Lee, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, argues in her Jan. 9 reply brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that 15 U.S. Code Section 1052(a) does not restrict speech but rather "declines to assist, and declines to associate the federal government with, marks containing disparaging terms" (Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office v. Simon Shiao Tam, No. 15-1293, U.S. Sup.).