WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Dec. 11 reply brief supporting its petition for certiorari, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) defends its decision to deny registration of a trademark it deemed vulgar, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the scandalous-marks provision of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Andrei Iancu v. Erik Brunetti, No. 18-302, U.S. Sup.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A licensee of certain trademark and distribution rights argues in a Dec. 10 merits brief to the U.S. Supreme Court that a bankruptcy filing does not empower a debtor to rescind any agreements or revoke any licensed intellectual property rights that it could not do outside of the bankruptcy context (Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC, No. 17-1657, U.S. Sup.).
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With remand instructions from the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on the proper standard for considering attorney fees awards under the Lanham Act, a Virginia federal judge on Nov. 28 denied an internet domain registrar’s fees motion for a second time, determining that although the defendant prevailed on the false advertising claims brought by Verisign Inc., it did not establish that the case was exceptional (Verisign Inc. v. XYZ.com LLC, et al., No. 1:14-cv-01749, E.D. Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 203037).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A North Carolina federal judge’s decision to dismiss claims of false patent marking and false advertising under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125, was affirmed Dec. 10 by a per curiam panel of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals (Gordon Gravelle v. Kaba Ilco Corp. et al., No. 18-1937, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34613).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Allegations that various defaulting respondents imported spine boards, cervical collars, CPR masks, training manikins and product literature that infringed the trade dress of two medical device makers were erroneously rejected by the International Trade Commission (ITC) as inadequately pleaded, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 7 (Laerdal Medical Corp., et al. v. International Trade Commission, No. 17-2445, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34465).
ATLANTA — The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 3 disagreed with a Georgia federal judge that allegations that a protein-powder supplement label violates the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a), fail (Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. HBS International Corp., No. 17-13884, 11th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 34051).
CHICAGO — In a Nov. 30 ruling, the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals wrote that it “cannot say” a Wisconsin federal judge abused her discretion in awarding attorney fees and costs to a plaintiff as a sanction for a defendant’s contempt of a consent judgment that resolved claims of trademark infringement (Seventh Avenue Inc. v. Shaf International Inc., No. 18-1829, 7th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33595).
LOS ANGELES — A nonprofit organization that provides services in the gaming industry sued another gaming entity on Dec. 3 in a California federal court, asserting claims for trademark infringement and violation of California’s unfair competition law (UCL) in relation to the alleged use of its trademarks (GameChanger Charity v. PlayNext Inc., No. 8:18cv2142, C.D. Calif.).
PORTLAND, Maine — On Dec. 4, hours after docketing a complaint for trademark infringement, a Maine federal judge entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) in the case, enjoining a defendant from using any trademark, logo, design or source designation online that is a copy, reproduction, colorable imitation or simulation of a plaintiff’s trademarks, trade dress and logos (Symetra Life Insurance Co. v. Guy Emerson, No. 18-492, D. Maine, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205039).
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Dec. 11 in an insurance dispute where an insurer sought a declaration that it did not owe a duty to defend a medical supply company in an underlying lawsuit for trademark infringement based on an exclusion in the commercial general liability policy at issue (West Bend Mutual Insurance Company v. Ixthus Medical Supply Inc., et al., No. 2017AP909, Wis. Sup.).
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A North Carolina federal judge on Nov. 29 rejected efforts by a trademark owner to intervene in a dispute over the “Drifters” mark that was originally filed in 1982 (Larry Marshak v. Michael Bridge, No. 82-566, W.D. N.C., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200951).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Efforts by the family of the late conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly to block a relative from trademarking “Schlafly” in connection with a craft brewery were unsuccessful on Nov. 26, when the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that the mark meets the requirements for registration (Phyllis Schlafly Revocable Trust and Bruce Schlafly v. The Saint Louis Brewery, No. 17-1468, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33093).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 27 ruling, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated a New York federal judge’s determination that a prevailing defendant is entitled to an award of attorney fees under the Lanham Act (Sleepy’s LLC v. Select Comfort Wholesale Corporation, et al., Nos. 15-3560, 16-3595, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 33202).
LOS ANGELES — In a verdict rendered Nov. 16, a California federal jury sided primarily with Monster Energy Co. on claims that a defendant infringed the “Monster” trademarks on a variety of products, including food, clothing, hats, gloves and more (Monster Energy Company v. Integrated Supply Network LLC, No. 17-548, C.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a decision issued Nov. 20, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that under the balancing test established in Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994 (2d Cir. 1989), the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1051 et seq., applies to expressive works only where the public interest in free expression is outweighed by the public interest in avoiding consumer confusion (Christopher Gordon v. Drape Creative Inc., et al., No. 16-56715, 9th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32796).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Nov. 15, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals vacated and remanded a dismissal by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of opposition by appellant Omaha Steaks International Inc. to an application to register the “Greater Omaha Providing The Highest Quality Beef” trademark (Omaha Steaks International Inc. v. Greater Omaha Packing Co. Inc., No. 18-1152, Fed. Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 32317).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a Nov. 8 respondent brief, a clothing manufacturer who had his trademark registration denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) as too offensive supports the federal government’s petition for certiorari, telling the U.S. Supreme Court that a definitive standard is needed as to what constitutes a scandalous and nonregistrable mark under the Lanham Act (Andrei Iancu v. Erik Brunetti, No. 18-302, U.S. Sup.).
DETROIT — In a Nov. 8 holding, a Michigan federal judge granted three defendants summary judgment because the manufacture of a machine from a copyrighted technical drawing cannot form the basis of an infringement action (RJ Control Consultants Inc., et al. v. Multiject LLC, et al., No. 16-10728, E.D. Mich., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 191187).
NEW YORK — In a Nov. 2 holding, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed that the trademarks “Universal Church” and “The Universal Church” are generic in the context of ministerial and religious worship services and that a New York federal judge did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of various defendants accused of infringement (The Universal Church Inc. v. Calvin Toellner, et al., No. 17‐2960, 2nd Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31153).
ST. LOUIS — In a Nov. 2 ruling, the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals partly found in favor of both parties embroiled in a protracted trademark dispute, upholding a South Dakota federal judge’s rejection of post-trial motions by a defendant accused of infringing the registered “Sturgis Bike Week” mark while also finding that a plaintiff failed to establish that its related registered “Sturgis” and unregistered “Sturgis Motorcycle Rally” and “Sturgis Rally & Races” marks are valid (Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. v. Rushmore Photo & Gifts Inc., et al., Nos. 17-1762, -1869, -2712 and -2731, 8th Cir., 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 31147).