Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 21, 2011 12:00 PM
Starbucks is suing a South Dakota communications company to protect three letters it holds dear: SDN.
The acronym for Starbucks Digital Network, which provides free web access and exclusive content to in-store users and via a smartphone app, is being challenged by broadband service provider South Dakota Network, which operates as SDN Communications, over rights to use the acronym trademark.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 30, 2011 12:00 PM
Members of the Mongol Motorcycle Club aren’t exactly known to be the nicest fellas in town.
They’ve got murder, drug trafficking, money laundering, and plenty of other things on their record. The long arm of the law has tried a lot of things to try and put a stop to the gang’s actions, including a 28-month undercover stint by an ATF agent that resulted in 53 convictions.
Now federal prosecutors are messing with the Mongol brand. A request was made last week to “block members of the notorious Mongols motorcycle gang from wearing or distributing its trademarked logo or using its name,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Club was started in 1969 by some Hispanic Vietnam vets who weren’t allowed to join the Hells Angels.
Today, they're a thoroughly modern motorcycle club, with a Facebook page, a Twitter feed, a YouTube channel, a website — even an online store. But they may not sell merchandise bearing their logo much longer.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 15, 2011 04:00 PM
Turns out Apple doesn’t own the letter “i” after all.
Having just announced its iCloud computing service, joining its existing iTeam (iTunes, iBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, iWeb) on its lengthy trademark list, Apple is being sued by iCloud Communications, a Phoenix company that provides telephone services via the Internet; a classic David vs. Goliath case.
Apple in no newcomer to trademark disputes, and as befits a Goliath, has always won – or settled, including litigation for the appleimac.com domain name in 1998; the domain name itunes.co.uk in 2005 vs. Cyberbritain Group Ltd; the iPhone trademark in 2007 vs. Cisco Systems; the iPad trademark in 2009 vs. Fujitsu; the iAds name in May 2010 vs. Innovative Media Group, LLC; and (in an ongoing dispute) Amazon over the term “App Store.”
The tech behemoth’s very name itself, was the subject of dispute when Apple Corps, founded by The Beatles, filed a trademark infringement suit in 1978 — a spat that was finally laid to rest with Apple's iTunes deal with The Beatles in November.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on June 6, 2011 03:00 PM
On May 26, The L.A. Times quoted a Disney spokesman reasoning that "Out of deference to the Navy's application for these trademarks, we have withdrawn ours." It was the end of the weeks-long outrage over Disney's move to trademark "Seal Team 6" just two days after that unit was reported to have killed Osama Bin Laden. In those weeks, the Navy itself had moved to trademark "Navy Seals."
One positive outcome of Disney's bold move was that it appears to have lit a flame under the butt of the Department of the Navy. On May 25th, the day before Disney's withdrawal, the Navy made its latest application to trademark both "Marine Ops: The Crucible" and "Marine Ops."Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 23, 2011 10:00 AM
The Navy Seals' next mission? Trademark themselves before Disney does.
Last week we reported that NovaLogic, Inc. had attempted to trademark "Seal Team 6" in both 2002 and 2004, years before Disney applied for the same trademark just days after the announcement identifying that specific team as the one that killed Osama bin Laden. Both of NovaLogic's applications were dormant at the time of Disney's application.
They weren't the only ones sensing a branding opportunity. On May 13, ten days after Disney's post-bin Laden application, the U.S. Department of the Navy filed two trademark applications.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on May 16, 2011 03:00 PM
Just two days after a team of Navy Seals shot Osama bin Laden in the face, another of the world's most feared special ops teams, Disney's lawyers, sprang into action. On May 3, two days after the Al Qaeda leader's death was announced by President Obama, Disney applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for ownership of the mark "Seal Team 6."
Online commenters, uncharacteristically, were outraged. One wrote "How low can Disney Corp go? I think the answer is very very exceptionally very low."
The application included designation for Christmas products, which has led to some interesting speculation. As the Seal Team's "bulletproof dog" begins to get more and more attention, it's not hard to imagine Disney developing that avenue.
But what hasn't been mentioned is that somebody beat Disney to trademarking "Seal Team 6." Twice.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on November 4, 2010 12:07 PM
In a battle that reminds us a little of Starbuck's recent legal action against a British coffee shop, a burger joint in Brooklyn (Brooklyn Burger) is being sued for using the "the classic cursive 'Brooklyn' lettering made famous by the Dodgers." When the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn that is, which is more than a half century ago.
So is the team in the right or is it just bitter about how its season ended? Or is there more going on here than meets the eye? Also, it appears the burger joint benefits from the same trademark protections it's decrying.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 4, 2010 03:00 PM
Pop quiz: What brand is inherently represented by shirtless men wearing nothing but bow-tie collars and sleeve cuffs? If you answered "Chippendales," the iconic all-male erotic dance revue founded in the late 1970s, you're wrong. The correct answer is every brand ... or no brand at all.
At least, that is, legally. According to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and now affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, the "Cuffs & Collar Mark" is "not inherently distinctive." Sorry, Chippendudes!Continue reading...