Posts made in June, 2013

When Imitation Exceeds Flattery

Posted by on Jun 25, 2013

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  Good artists borrow; great artists steal.  Nowhere are these old adages more apt than the hidden focus groups and team meetings of the fashion industry.  What’s trendy this season is often only good for the clearance rack in six months time – leading to enormous pressure to constantly produce products on the cutting edge.  Invariably, similar looking articles of clothing and other apparel are going to hit the shelves.  At what point does imitation cross the line?  The Trademark infringement case of Gucci America Inc v. Guess Inc examines this question in detail. In 2012 the U.S. District Court for the Southern...

Read More

Beyond the Words and Logos: Trade Dress Rights

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013

When people think about trademarks, the first things that come to mind are words and logos that embody a brand. So, why then, would companies invest millions into product packaging? Well, not only does well-thought out product packaging help to grab consumers’ attention, but it pushes the brand beyond the words and logos – into the realm of acquiring trade dress rights. Trade dress, like trademarks, are protected by the Lanham Act, the primary federal trademark statute of law. Examples of trade dress include the shape, color, and arrangement of a product’s packaging like a children’s clothing line, magazine cover, the décor of a restaurant chain, and wine bottle...

Read More

The Supplemental Register and Your Descriptive Mark

Posted by on Jun 11, 2013

Now, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is fully aware that not every business owner or organization is going to seek to employ fanciful marks like “Kleenex.” More likely than not, marks are going to be considered descriptive with words that describe an ingredient, quality, feature, purpose, or characteristic of the product or service. Marks like “Kara’s Cupcakes” or “Make Up Forever” are descriptive marks that will likely first need to apply to the supplemental register before receiving full trademark protections on the principal register. The principal register is reserved for marks that pass the hurdles of trademark registration in that the marks are...

Read More

Degree of Protection & The Spectrum of Distinctiveness

Posted by on Jun 4, 2013

So, you’ve got a mark in mind that you want to register, what do you do next? Find a trademark attorney, but before you do that, it’s important to understand how much protection your mark may receive or if it can be registrable as a trademark at all. A prospective trademark owner, whether the mark be the name of the entity, the name of a product, or a slogan is analyzed for registrability based on the mark’s connection to its classes of goods or services. After the classes of goods or services are identified in connection to an applicant’s mark, the trademark examiner will attempt to place the mark on a spectrum of distinctiveness: generic, descriptive,...

Read More