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Trademarks

Sep 09, 2019

Food and Liquor Brands: What You Need to Know About Trademarks

In a recent federal court ruling, a judge articulated once again why famous brands enjoy greater rights than those that lack renown.

The case pits two giants in wholly unrelated fields— clothing versus alcoholic beverages.

The lesson? Food, beverage, and liquor sellers should exercise caution and select brand names that are not the same or are not similar to those of existing “famous” brands, even in completely unrelated fields. » Read More

Apr 18, 2019

How to Grow Your Food Business: Tips and Best Practices in Great Supply at SFA Business Summit

Last week, I was fortunate to attend the Specialty Food Association’s Business Summit, a two-day conference in Chicago featuring essential tips and best practices for how to grow a specialty food company.  Over 150 food companies attended.  Our firm was honored to be one of the sponsors for the event, as you can see from the photo of our table at the opening night reception below. » Read More

Mar 27, 2019

Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Brand Round-Up: Four Lessons to be Learned

Part Two

This post is a continuation of a prior one, with key lessons for owners of established and emerging food, beverage, and restaurant brands – all culled from recent cases. Click here for Part One.

Lesson Three:   Consider even “Unrelated” Products when Choosing Your Brand and Enforcing Your Rights

Food and beverage companies may be precluded from obtaining registration due to third parties’ brand use for seemingly unrelated goods, and vice versa. » Read More

Mar 20, 2019

Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Brand Round-Up: Four Lessons to be Learned

Part One

So many food and beverage brand decisions have been making their way through the Trademark Office and the courts recently, I thought it would be a good idea to blog about some of them, and more importantly, about four key branding lessons they teach to emerging and established food and beverage companies, as well as restaurants. » Read More

Feb 19, 2019

Beware the Trademark Scammers

Sometimes, it seems not a day goes by without a client calling about a trademark-related scam. To help you avoid becoming another victim, I am writing about two of the more common fraudulent schemes.

The first involves the transmission (via snail mail or email) to the owner of a trademark registration of a notice that looks official, and may even be labeled “Patent and Trademark Office.”  The notice requests payment to “renew” a trademark registration, warning that if it is not received by a specific date, the trademark registration will expire. » Read More

Feb 12, 2019

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Says “Yes, You Canna!” Register CANNABIS CANNIBALS for Entertainment Services

In In re Jeffrey Butscher, Serial No. 87572095, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) reversed the Examiner’s refusal to permit the trademark registration of the mark CANNABIS CANNIBALS for “entertainment services, namely, an ongoing series featuring animated cannabis smoking cannibals provided through network or cable TV and the internet.”  According to the Applicant’s IMDb page, “Cannabis Cannibals stories the irreverent and comedic life of two weed smoking cannibals, who move to America in pursuit of becoming Reality TV Stars, while at the same time battling their unique eating disorder.”

The Examiner asserted that the CANNABIS CANNIBALS mark merely describes the subject matter of the entertainment series, (i.e., cannabis smoking cannibals).  » Read More

Jan 29, 2019

There’s a Latte to Consider When Seeking Registrations of Color and Geometric Shape

Marks:  In re Starbucks Corp. (TTAB Jan. 17, 2019)

As part of any trademark application, the applicant must submit a drawing of the mark and a specimen showing use of the mark in commerce in connection with the underlying goods and services identified in the application.  » Read More

Jan 23, 2019

Cigars and Wine go Together Like…

In another noteworthy opinion on relatedness of goods, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), on remand from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“CAFC”), found wine to be related to cigars.  In this cancellation proceeding, Joseph Phelps Vineyards, LLC, owner of the mark INSIGNIA for wine since 1979, petitioned to cancel Fairmont Holdings mark, ALEC BRADLEY STAR INSIGNIA, for cigars, tobacco, cigar boxes, cigar cutters, and cigar tubes. » Read More

Jan 17, 2019

Choosing Your Restaurant Brand: Tips From a Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Attorney

I’ve been practicing long enough to know that it’s not easy for my clients to find brands they like, much less ones that are free for them to use without worrying they will get a claim that they’ve violated another party’s rights.  » Read More

Dec 20, 2018

Are You on the Trademark Naughty or Nice List?

Santa’s making a list and checking it twice.  With the help of his trademark elves, he’s going to find out whether brand owners have been naughty or nice when it comes to using their trademarks properly.  Those on the Nice List get rewarded with the ultimate Christmas present… enforceable trademark rights!  » Read More

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