The State of Illinois is home to a big new battle over the rights to use marks related to male grooming. You have definitely heard the words “manscaping” and “manscaped” used before, and now they are basically the subject of a federal court trademark dispute.
In 2019, if you want a quick, easy way to send or receive money without paying a fee, you are likely using the app Venmo. It has become so popular that people will often ask to be Venmo’d money. As can be the case, a noun becomes a verb based on heightened usage.
As of August 3, 2019, trademark applicants and registrants based outside of the United States will need a U.S.-based lawyer if they want to extend their protections to the U.S. A new rule announced by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) states that the U.S.-based lawyer must be in good standing of a bar of the highest court of a U.S. state, commonwealth or territory.
The rock band Guns N’ Roses has been around since 1984 and is a known name in the music industry to just about everyone in the United States. While the band members have spent most of their lives creating and performing music, they are now going to be occupied with litigating a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court.
“Guns Up” is a slogan and hand signal used by Texas Tech University, originally as a way to counter the “Hook ’em Horns” symbol shown by the Texas Longhorns. It has grown in prominence to the point that the signal is often used as a victory sign at Texas Tech athletic events.
Myth: Filing one trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a mark and receiving a registration will protect that mark for use with all goods and services.
In some trademark cases, the plaintiff sues the defendant for trademark infringement based on what is considered to be a reverse-confusion theory. This means that the plaintiff believes that consumers will mistakenly believe that the defendant is the source, affiliate or sponsor of the plaintiff’s product or service.
I thought that one of the better Super Bowl XLIII advertisements was delivered by Expensify, because it simply demonstrated the value of its service in an effective manner. It appears that a competitor is trying to benefit from Expensify’s Super Bowl exposure, which has led to the filing of a lawsuit by Expensify for trademark infringement, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
Lululemon Athletica is suing Under Armour under claims of patent and trademark infringement, for allegedly copying a sports bra design. The “$52 Energy Bra – which has four straps that crisscross in the back – does it all,” according to Lululemon. Four of Under Armour’s sports bras, including “Under Armour’s Armour Eclipse Low Impact”, “Armour Shape Low Impact,” “Under Armour On the Move”, and “Under Armour Printed Scrappy Bra” sports bras, ranging from 20 to 40 dollars, are at issue.
Trademark suits can be quite complex for either side and Heitner Legal can help navigate you through that complexity. Heitner Legal has a great deal of experience when it comes to trademark lawsuits, having represented both Defendants who were being sued for trademark infringement, and having represented Plaintiffs who were suing someone else for the same, as well as transactional trademark work.
For Lululemon to succeed on trademark infringement, Lululemon will need to show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion as a result of Under Armour’s use.
Lululemon claims the similarities “may cause irreparable damage” to its reputation. Lululemon also added that the infringement in dispute was conducted knowingly, willfully, and in bad faith, and with knowledge of Lululemon’s rights, and marketed to the identical group of consumers as Lululemon via the same channels of trade.”
Moving to the other side, Under Armour’s strongest defense may be the fact that there is not a strong likelihood of consumer confusion, as a result of their own use of the design because of the Under Armour Logo being printed on the back. With the well-known Under Armour logo right on the sports bra, how are customers likely to confuse the designs?
An online golf apparel company called I Made Bogey is being sued by Tltleist. As Deadspin stated in its report, I Made Bogey “sells products with slogans you’d expect to see on the Wildwood boardwalk.” The majority of products on the site are parodies of Titleist, with the name “Titties.” Titleist, through its parent company, Acushnet, has filed suit against I Made Bogey for unfair competition, trademark infringement, and dilution, according to Bloomberg.
I Made Bogey sold hats, golf towels, sunglasses, ball markers, tees, and other products with “Titties” printed thereon. An Instagram post sponsored by I Made Bogey, using the hashtag “golf porn,” and also including a picture of the “Tittie’s hat” next to a naked woman’s torso was another issue in dispute.
Trademark suits can be quite complex, and Heitner Legal can help guide you through those legal issues. Heitner Legal has a great deal of experience when it comes to trademark lawsuits. That experience includes having represented both Plaintiffs who are suing someone else for trademark infringement and/or dilution, and having represented Defendants who were being sued for the same, as well as transactional trademark work.
In the aforementioned Titleist lawsuit against I Made Bogey, Titleist claims both trademark infringement and dilution. To prevail on trademark infringement, Titleist will need to demonstrate that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion as a result of I Made Bogey’s use of the mark. To also succeed on dilution, Titleist needs to show that either its reputation its tarnished or its brand name identity is blurred as a result of the “Titties” products from I Made Bogey.
As Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, has pointed out “I Made Bogey intentionally creates an unwholesome and undesirable association—one involving a patently offensive and obscene reference to sexual organs and sexual activity,” and that I Made Bogey “tarnishes plaintiff’s Titleist brand identity and reputation.” Acushnet also said that “I Made Bogey’s actions are offensive not only to women, but to consumers in general.” In addition to Acushnet’s statements, “Titties” is also written in a scripted font on I Made Bogey’s products just like “Titleist.”
On the other side, I Made Bogey’s defenses consist primarily of the parody and free speech defense. By definition, a parody is “a humorous or satirical imitation.” Under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, individuals are afforded free speech, and such free speech might include expression in a manner that may poke fun at something else. I Made Bogey’s argument is that there is not a likelihood of confusion as a result of their own use of the mark, and basically that the joke is obvious to consumers.