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trademark wars

China Trademark Office Strips Burberry of Its Stripes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2013 05:23 PM

Burberry can now consider itself a member of an elite club that already claims Michael Jordan, General Motors, and Apple among its ranks. All four have dealt with trademark issues in China.

China’s national trademark office told the British luxury brand that it can no longer trademark its signature beige-black-and-red pattern on leather goods there, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Chinese government had “received an application challenging Burberry's trademark to the pattern,” and it sided with the local company.

Burberry, of course, will appeal. After all, sales for the brand went up nearly 20 percent in the year ending March 31 compared with the previous year, with China accounting for 14 percent of the brand’s overall retail and wholesale revenue. "A decision like this will not move the needle [on sales], because when you travel around Asia you find so many fake products already," Bernstein Research analyst Mario Ortelli told the paper. But that surely won't make the people at Burberry feel any better.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Hells Angels Are Ready to Ride Over Young Jeezy Trademark Infringement

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2013 06:57 PM

The Hells Angels aren’t exactly a brand most folks want to tangle with. 

Rapper Young Jeezy and retailer Dillard’s clearly didn’t get the memo. The pair are on the wrong end of a trademark lawsuit filed by the group that hasn’t exactly shied from confrontation during its history. The suit is over the perception that Jeezy’s 8732 Apparel line and some hats, shirts, and vests being sold by Dillard’s, have images that are “conducingly similar” to the trademarked Hells Angels Death Head.

“Guys live and die for that patch,” the lawyer for the Angels, Fritz Clapp, said, the Daily Mail reports. “It's not just a piece of clothing.” The Angels would like all of the goods with the logos to be handed over so there can be “supervised destruction.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Culinary Creators Face Trademark Woes When it Comes to Foreign Foods

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 9, 2013 12:43 PM

A trademark case out of London hits close to home for one of the culinary world's hottest trends: pho. But it raises a much larger issue as trends cross cultural divides and enterprising types look to cordon what they believe is a unique market. 

Recently, a small Vietnamese restaurant in London called Mo Pho was asked to change its name due to the fact that Pho Cafe, a British chain of Vietnamese restaurants had trademarked the term "pho" several years earlier. Except in Vietnamese, pho is a simple term for "noodle soup," kind of the English equivalent of "cheeseburger." What the case suggests is that any general food term is protectable by trademark—provided it's in a foreign language.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cracker Barrel Settles for Abbreviated Brand Name in Battle with Kraft

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 7, 2013 02:51 PM

Kraft and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. have been battling in court for months over the use of the Cracker Barrel name, which Kraft has been using for nearly 60 years for one of its cheese brands. But a tug of war started when the restaurant chain sought to sell a line of branded products to various retail outlets.  

After a months-long legal battle, Cracker Barrel’s first products will be shipped to retailers this week—but without the Cracker Barrel name. Instead, it will be sold under the name "CB Old Country Store," according to the Tennessean. And from the looks of it, Cracker Barrel isn’t going to be shipping out any cheese products, instead focusing on “maple and smoked bacon, spiral ham and four types of lunch meat: oven roasted turkey, smoked turkey, smoked ham and honey ham.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cadbury and the Color Purple: Nearly a Century of Use Couldn't Trademark It

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 07:23 PM

It isn't any easier to trademark the color purple than the color red, apparently. Several months after Louboutin's failed effort to trademark the color red broadly for shoe soles in the US, Cadbury has been knocked down by a UK court over its attempts to trademark the use of purple in its chocolate wrappers.

Cadbury lost its five-year court battle to Nestle over whether Cadbury could register a distinctive shade of purple as a trademark, a specific shade—defined as Pantone 2685C—that it has used on its Dairy Milk bars and other sweets since World War I.

"The mark ... lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration," one of the judges in the case said, according to The Guardian.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Kraft Proves Bigger Cheese in Courtroom as Judge Bars Cracker Barrel Line

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2013 01:48 PM

A judge dealt a severe blow to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's bid to expand its brand presence outside the retail operations attached to its 600-plus restaurants. He sided with Kraft Foods in issuing a temporary injunction against the Tennessee-based restaurant chain's selling of branded packaged hams and other meats under its marque because it's too similar to Kraft's long-existent Cracker Barrel cheese brand.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman gave Kraft the victory saying that the restaurant chain's plans to sell Cracker Barrel Old Country Store branded, packaged meats through supermarkets, club stores and other retailers would infringe on Kraft's Cracker Barrel brand by confusing consumers. The Chicago-based hometown judge indicated that Kraft "is likely to prevail" in its long-term bid against the restaurant chain's brand-expansion effort as well.

"The court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims," the judge's order said. "Kraft need only show a 'better than negligible' chance of success on the merits, and has more than sufficiently carried this burden."Continue reading...

trademark wars

Wendy’s Gets Frosty Over Trademark Suit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 24, 2013 11:41 AM

Since the start of the burger franchise in 1969, Wendy's has been serving up its signature Frosty frozen dairy dessert. While milkshake-type desserts can be found at nearly every burger joint around, Wendy's is set on protecting its swirled confection, filing a trademark infringement suit against fellow Ohio company United Dairy Farmers. 

Since 2005, UDF, which distributes homemade brand ice cream, has been doling out chocolate and vanilla shakes called “Frosties” and “Frosty Malts” in grocery stores and UDF convenience stores. Wendy’s is not happy about that or the fact that UDF is serving up the Frosties in similarly red-and-yellow colored cups, according to the Columbus Dispatch.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Illinois Church Takes Adidas Head On Over Adizero Trademark

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2013 12:47 PM

Goliath Adidas is starting to feel the little pings of David’s slingshot. The company is headed to court against an Illinois church, the Christian Faith Fellowship Church, over the trademark for its Adizero apparel and shoes.

The church trademarked “Add a Zero” back in November 2006, claiming on its website that it is “a Prophetic word spoken to our congregation in the early 2000s.” It was intended to help raise money for the church, its food pantry, and its childcare center, according to the Christian Post.

Adidas tried to trademark “AdiZero” in 2009, but was rejected due to the existence of the “Add a Zero” trademark. A lawyer for the church tells the Post that Adidas asked the US Patent and Trademark office to cancel the church’s trademark last year. The office finally said that it wouldn’t do that about two weeks ago. With that, Adidas offered the church 5,000 to buyout the trademark, which the church readily declined.Continue reading...

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