Best Global Green Brands 2014

trademark wars

Gucci Loses 7 Trademarks to Guess in Latest Legal Ruling

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 6, 2013 06:33 PM

Gucci and Guess have been tussling over trademarks for years, but the Italian fashion house took a hit from its American counterpart on its own turf last week.

The Court of Milan turned out an 83-page ruling that “rejected all claims” that Gucci had filed against Guess, according to a press release. Not only that, “the Italian Court has ordered the cancellation of certain of Gucci’s diamond pattern, G logo, and ‘Flora’ pattern trademarks” along with its “rights in a ‘Square G’ logo.” 

This is a big blow to Gucci, which had received “minimal monetary damages and narrow injunctions on a handful of logos” in a similar case against Guess in New York that was decided last year. That “minimal” amount added up to $4.66 million, though Gucci had hoped to make a $120 million payday. This time, Guess scored a victory that allows it to use its famed Quattro G logo pattern without worry of infringing on any trademarks.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Brands Grapple for "Boston Strong" Trademark as Donations Stream In

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 26, 2013 03:37 PM

Two days after the Boston Marathon bombing, while the police were still trying to track down the perpetrators and the public was still reeling from the first major act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11, two companies were filing trademark applications for “Boston Strong.”

Custom T-shirt company Born Into It of Woburn, Mass., and an individual, Kerim Senkal, of Allston, Mass. both aimed to use “Boston Strong" on apparel and accessories, The Huffington Post reports.

Another related trademark application came from Boston Beer Co., the maker of Samuel Adams, which brews up an annual 26.2 Brew for the Marathon each year. The plan would be to rename the beer Boston Strong 26.2 with the idea that it would help raise money for victims of the tragedy, the Boston Globe reports. The company claims that it would allow other beverages to use the trademark as long as 100 percent of the money made all went to related charities.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Frito-Lay Loses Trademark Battle Over Popular Corn Chip

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 15, 2013 11:50 AM

PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay Scoops Corn Chips may identify itself as “a unique combination of great taste and good fun rolled into one great snack,” but a jury in Texas has a few quibbles with just how unique its name is.

Frito-Lay North America came after Medallion Foods and Ralcorp Holdings for their Bowlz and Cupz chips that appeared in Walmarts and Krogers, respectively, around the time of this year’s Super Bowl, FoodProductDesign.com reports. Frito-Lay was not amused and wanted $4.5 million for their troubles as well as the disappearance of any products that come close to looking like Scoops.

After just five and a half hours, the 10-person jury ruled against Frito-Lay. “This was a very complicated trial, and we were fortunate to have an extremely smart jury that understood the issues and delivered a just verdict,” said John Ward, whose firm Ward & Smith helped represent Medallion, according to IPWatchdog.com. “This jury digested almost 40 pages of complex instructions and returned a verdict in our clients’ favor on all issues submitted.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Close, But No Cigar: Cohiba Battles with US General Over Fabled Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on April 3, 2013 06:06 PM

It’s been in the hands of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and now it’s in the hands of a slew of lawyers. The Cuban Cohiba, considered for decades to be the nation’s best cigar and a symbol of high-end swank the world over, has been spending a fair amount of time in court over the last 16 years.

In that time, the issue has been between the General Cigar Co. and Cubatabaco, the Cuban state tobacco company. The pair have been battling over the cigar’s trademark in the United States. Recently, the U.S. Trademark and Appeal Board dismissed Cubatabaco’s petition that was trying to keep General from using the cohiba name in the United States, Cigar Aficionado reports.

That General won the latest round did not sit well with folks in Cuba, where the Havana Times headlined its story about the case with “Cuba’s Cohiba Trademark Theft Gets OK.”

There are, of course, two different cohibas.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Lindt Loses Out on Epic Easter Bunny Suit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 29, 2013 11:36 AM

For more than a decade, Swiss premium chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli has been trying to keep German chocolate maker Confiserie Riegelein from wrapping its chocolate bunnies in gold foil—a Lindt signature—but the fight is finally over and to Lindt's dismay, gold bunnies abound. 

Germany's Federal Court of Justice rejected a final appeal by Lindt & Spruengli on Thursday, Reuters reports. "We are very glad that this case has found a happy ending for us after some 12 years," Peter Riegelein, head of Confiserie Riegelein said in a statement, according to the wire service. "The sitting gold-wrapped bunny has been a firm part of our offering for at least a half century. Now it is finally clear that it can stay as it is."Continue reading...

trademark wars

Belgian Chocolatiers Look to EU for Product Trademark

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 28, 2013 01:37 PM

When consumers pick up a bottle of Champagne, they know it’s from France, and when they scarf down some Prosciutto di Parma, they know it’s from Italy. Now, manufacturers of Belgian chocolates are trying to legally protect their chocolate so that when folks pick up products with the phrase “Belgian chocolate” on it, you can be sure it's from Belgium.

After all, chocolate is big business in Belgium. The Telegraph reports that there are “over 200 chocolate firms, more than 2,000 chocolate stores and museums drawing thousands of sweet-toothed visitors every year.” Exports of the product are worth $5.1 billion. That’s a lot of cacao.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Reddit Sensation Grumpy Cat Readies for Trademark Battles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2013 02:28 PM

You want to make Reddit sensation Grumpy Cat really grumpy? Try using her name on a product without prior authorization.

The owners of the cat that took social media by storm five months ago have filed for a trademark for the name "Grumpy Cat" as well as the cat’s likeness. After all, their little kitty, whose name is actually Tardar Sauce, has since gotten her own website, Facebook fan page, retail space, an appearance on the Today Show and her own commercial for Friskies cat food, according to SmallBizTrends.com.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Italy’s Jesus Jeans In Throwdown Over the Lord's Name

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 26, 2013 03:12 PM

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Some American apparel manufacturers attempts to start up clothing lines that contain the name “Jesus” have been thwarted by the Italian maker of Jesus Jeans, which trademarked its name in the U.S. back in 2007. 

Jesus Jeans, which is apparently considering making an eventual marketing push in the States, is more than happy to have its legal team send cease-and-desist letters to anybody who is trying to make money selling pretty much any type of clothing with the Jesus name on it.  

The founder of Jesus Surfed, Michael Julius Anton, is ready to face off legally against Jesus Jeans, a fight that plenty of other manufacturers, such as "Jesus First," "Sweet Jesus," and "Jesus Couture," among others, are willing to join in, the Wall Street Journal reports. One manufacturer, “Jesus Up,” is still trying to work out an agreement. "How anyone can claim the name Jesus for themselves and put a trademark on it is beyond me," said Jesus Up founder Jeff Lamont, who also told the Journal that the company name had come to him in a message from God.

Wherever the message came from, Lamont was late to the game on the trademarking front. Jesus Jeans had been trying to trademark its name in the States since 1999 and finally succeeded in 2007. It has still been rejected in plenty of other countries, though such as Germany, Switzerland, China, Hungary and Ireland. However, such countries as Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the Netherlands have allowed the trademark. The European Union gave it the “Jesus” community trademark, which is good across the entire Union. Continue reading...

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