Posts by trademarkeditor

Protecting “Pig Sooie” & Distinctive Sounds Through Trademark

Posted by on Aug 15, 2014

Earlier this summer, the University of Arkansas, home of the Razorbacks, secured trademark protection for its “Calling the Hogs” chant. Football and basketball fans may recognize the familiar “woo pig sooie!” cheer, which was granted trademark protection by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Registration Number 4558864: “The Mark consists of a sound. The Mark consists of a crowd cheering the following words “WOOOOOOOO. PIG. SOOIE!  WOOOOOOOO. PIG. SOOIE! WOOOOOOOO. PIG. SOOIE! RAZORBACKS!” This registration was unique in that the University gained protection for the sound of the call, and not the words or...

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TTAB Decides “What Would Jesus Do” Trademark Battle

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014

After a six-year legal battle, Tyler Perry has officially won the trademark rights to “What Would Jesus Do.” Kimberly Kearney, a reality TV star, originally registered the mark in 2007 intending to use it for a reality show of her own. Months later, Perry registered the same phrase, and later moved to have Kearney’s rights to it canceled. So what went wrong for Kearney? Ultimately, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) sided with Perry’s contentions that Kearney had abandoned the mark. See the decision.  In general terms, a mark will be deemed “abandoned” and void under the Trademark Act when “there has been no use of it in commerce in connection...

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Aereo’s Copyright Loss Leaves Much in the Clouds

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014

The Supreme Court recently held that Aereo, Inc., infringed on copyrights belonging to cable broadcasters, producers, distributors, and marketers with its online cable streaming service. See opinion here. As part of its service, Aereo provides each subscriber with their own antenna, which captures cable broadcasted airwaves. The system works similarly to a DVR, allowing a user to watch or record cable programming. The subscriber can access their personal antenna online, and view the programming moments after its original broadcast, or watch the recorded version later. When deciding the case, the Court focused on the issues of whether Aereo “performed,” or...

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Contributory Cybersquatting

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013

Does the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) provide a basis of liability for a domain name registration service if one of its registrants is guilty of cybersquatting?  The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s opinion that the ACPA does not provide for so-called contributory cybersquatting as a legal basis for liability. The dispute centered on a company known as Petroliam Nasional Berhad (“Petronas,”) a Malaysian petroleum company which owns the trademark “Petronas.”  Petroliam sued major internet domain name registration service provider GoDaddy.com for contributory cybersquatting because one of...

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Charbucks – Trademark Dilution?

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013

Is the use of the term “Charbucks” by a coffee company trademark dilution of the famous “Starbucks” coffee mark? The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York said that the use of “Charbucks Blend” and “Mister Charbucks” marks by Black Bear (a coffee company and micro roastery) had not been sufficiently proven by plaintiff Starbucks to be trademark dilution under the Lanham Act.  Plaintiff then appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Trademark Dilution is addressed by the Lanham Act.  Condensing a somewhat complicated situation, during the pendency of various iterations of the lawsuit, Congress...

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