Topic: Trademark

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#trademarked?

In August of 2018, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), which decides cases certain trademark cases, refused rapper will.i.am’s attempt to register a hashtag as a trademark. Specifically, i.am.symbolic,llc (will.i.am’s company), attempted to register #WILLPOWER for a variety of apparel goods. The Trademark Examining Attorney refused his application because WILLPOWER WEAR  was already … Continue reading

Grumpy Cat back in court

We previously reported on Grumpy Cat Limited’s big win in a copyright and trademark suit. As a recap, Grumpy Cat—the social-media-famous grimacing feline, or rather the holding company owned by her “parents”—filed a lawsuit after the defendants went beyond the scope of a licensing agreement to market a variety of Grumpy Cat-themed coffee products. According … Continue reading

Trademarks, social media and lessons learned

On June 14, 2018, a federal trial court in New York issued a decision relating to a restaurant owner’s claim that the restaurant manager was using the owner’s trademarks on social media in violation of the federal trademark law known as the Lanham Act. The trial court denied the owner’s claim, in a ruling that … Continue reading

Personal Brands, Social Media, and the Lanham Act

On July 14, 2017, a federal trial court ruled on an interesting issue: could models and actresses, whose popularity on social media was a strong factor in determining their earning capacities, maintain a lawsuit under the Lanham Act against a “swingers club” that used their photos without consent?  In a case where social media played … Continue reading

Crowdfunding platforms and IP enforcement

In today’s world, intellectual property owners are well aware that social media users frequently post infringing content. Companies and brand owners have developed various strategies for enforcing their intellectual property rights on social media, utilizing methods such as demand letters and takedown requests. Often there are so many infringing uses that brand owners must be … Continue reading

That’s My Mark! Enforcing Trademark Rights on Social Media

It is no doubt surprising and frustrating for brand owners when they find that someone has appropriated their trademarks on social media. A few of the common scenarios include: small competitors modifying logos and passing them off as their own; unauthorized distributors using logos and trademarks on their social media advertising; and social media users … Continue reading

Germany: Can you be sued for tweeting #Rio2016?

The answer depends on who you are: For consumers there is little risk involved. Companies, however, did receive letters by the German Olympic Committee in recent weeks warning them about stealing intellectual property, similar to the letters send by the United States Olympic Committee. In particular Twitter accounts should not reference any Olympic results, share … Continue reading

Don’t congratulate #TeamCanada at #Rio2016: Olympic social media rules in Canada

With the Rio Olympics well underway, Canadian brands need to be aware of the “do’s and don’ts” of advertising and social media content involving the Olympics and Olympic athletes. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) have long been aggressive in enforcing illicit use of the term “Olympics”, the five rings … Continue reading

Social media risks during the Rio Games

In just four days, the world’s attention will turn to Rio de Janeiro and the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.  At the same time, sports enthusiasts will turn to social media to express their support for the Games, for their countries’ teams and for their favorite athletes. Individuals, news outlets, and official Olympic sponsors are … Continue reading

Can You Trademark a Hashtag?

#Yes! In the United States, a hashtag can be trademarked if it serves a source-identifying function for the trademark owner’s goods or services. Hashtags, which started on Twitter as a way for users to follow conversations on particular topics, are words or phrases that follow the pound or hash sign (“#”). Since their inception, hashtags … Continue reading

A recipe for confusion: TTAB denies registration of “JAWS” for online cooking show

Diving head first into the deep end, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), recently decided whether a chef’s application to register “JAWS” for an online cooking channel should sink or swim. In re Mr. Recipe, LLC. The precedential decision is useful for anyone wishing to learn more about the role that a famous trademark, … Continue reading

Authentication on social media platforms

Engaging with customers online is quickly becoming the norm as consumers increasingly use social media to ask questions, seek customer service, and participate in dialogue with a business or their brand. The use of social media to deliver customer service allows businesses to be at the forefront of our digital age. That said, businesses could … Continue reading

Social Media & IP Enforceability

Social media channels represent an exciting medium to reach out to the public and potential collaborators. Social media can also play an important role in helping generate positive buzz for organizations seeking to develop a market for their products or services.  For example, many of today’s companies gauge the depth of market interest in their … Continue reading

Legal considerations for social network APIs

An application programming interface (API) is a library or structured set of software tools that provides an interface to a backend software platform, such as a social networking platform, without providing direct access to the underlying source code of the platform. For example, Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™, LinkedIn™, Google Plus™, and Tumblr™ offer APIs so that … Continue reading

Consumer confusion with marketing on social media

Social media often serves as a powerful mechanism that trademark owners can employ to promote and expand their brands, but a case currently pending in the Southern District of California illustrates just how easily social media can also be used to spread consumer confusion. In Faegin v. LivingSocial, Inc., No. 14CV00418-WQH-KSC, 2014 WL 5307186, at … Continue reading

Beware of counterfeit advertisements on social media

Despite the efforts of brand owners and entities providing online advertising space to police against counterfeit goods, advertisements for counterfeit goods on social media continues to be a recurring problem. Moreover, the appearance of many of these advertisements as genuine and leading to websites that contain the logos and trademarks of the brand owner or … Continue reading

Facebook blocks Facemba

In September, we blogged on the successful opposition by Facebook to a trade mark registration in Australia for ‘Friendbook’. Facebook has had further success in the Australian Trade Marks Office, protecting their brand through a successful opposition to an international registration of the trade mark FACEMBA. Application 1504587 for the word mark FACEMBA was an … Continue reading
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