TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on Dec. 29 authorized an e-cigarette pod manufacturer to withdraw $250,000 for legal fees and living expenses out of approximately $20 million the judge froze Dec. 22 to prevent the manufacturer from spending profits it allegedly earned through infringing Juul Labs Inc.’s trademark by repeatedly using the hashtag “#juul” to market its products.
SAN FRANCISCO — A trial court correctly found that a tech firm did not use its asserted “Memoji” trademark in commerce, per the Lanham Act, Apple Inc. argues in a Dec. 22 brief in the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, asserting that the appellant only released its defective app in a quest to initiate litigation and to reserve the trademark.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A manufacturer of dog toys tells the U.S. Supreme Court in a Dec. 16 brief that the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals correctly found a squeaky toy resembling a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc.’s whiskey to be an expressive work protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, asking the high court to deny the distillery’s petition for certiorari regarding trademark infringement and dilution in the context of a humorous commercial product.
MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota Indian tribe fails to state plausible claims that a Las Vegas casino business diluted the tribe’s casino trademarks by blurring or tarnishing, a federal judge held Dec. 21 in dismissing the dilution claims in the tribe’s trademark infringement lawsuit, though with leave to amend (Prairie Island Indian Community v. Radisson Hotels International, Inc., et al., No. 20-1234, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 239671).
HOUSTON — In a Dec. 17 order, a federal judge in Texas denied a defendant’s request to stay an infringement action while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB, or board) considers a request to cancel the “512” trademark (ClipBandits LLC v. Edmund Samora, No. 20-3054, S.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 236457).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Dec. 16 holding, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found no error in a California federal judge’s dismissal of copyright and trade dress infringement allegations levied in connection with decorative wood products (Crafty Productions Inc. v. Fuqing Sanxing Crafts Co. Ltd., et al., No. 20-55010, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 39494).
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge in Texas did not err in granting a trademark infringement defendant summary judgment based upon a plaintiff’s failure to establish that its “Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam” trademark had acquired secondary meaning, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 14 (Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam v. Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, No. 19-20544, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 39003).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its Dec. 14 order last, the U.S. Supreme Court denied without comment a petition for certiorari by one of several parties that was hit with a default judgment ruling and terminating sanctions for discovery misconduct in a lawsuit over trademark allegations over counterfeit ink cartridges, with the high court declining to consider the petitioner’s arguments that he was improperly lumped in with other defendants who engaged in the discovery failures (Artem Koshkalda v. Seiko Epson Corp., et al., No. 20-483, U.S. Sup., 2020 U.S. LEXIS 6023).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Dec. 15 ruling, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a false advertising and false patent marking plaintiff’s effort to undo an award of attorney fees on behalf of a prevailing defendant, instead agreeing with an Arizona federal judge that the case was litigated unreasonably (ThermoLife International LLC v. American Wholesale Fitness, LLC, Nos. 20-15163, -15807, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 39312).
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In a Dec. 11 order, a federal judge in New Mexico granted partial summary judgment on counterclaims by a husband and wife that their former business partners are liable for copyright and trademark infringement (Volker Strobel, et al. v. Uwe Rusch, et al., No. 18-656, D. N.M., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 233676).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board did not err in rejecting an effort to register “Brew Science” as a trademark on grounds that the proposed mark would be descriptive of the services identified in the underlying application, a panel of the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled Dec. 11 (In re: Christopher Coles, No. 20-1236, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 38849).
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee-based franchisor’s lawsuit against the owners of a former franchise in Maryland who are accused of continuing to use trademarks, trade secrets and proprietary information after the termination of a franchising agreement can proceed in federal court in Tennessee, a federal judge ruled Nov. 23, finding that the defendants waived their personal jurisdiction defense because they agreed to the entry of a permanent injunction and because the franchise agreement includes a forum-selection clause (Gus’s Franchisor LLC v. Terrapin Restaurant Partners LLC, et al., No. 20-2372, W.D. Tenn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219040).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an order issued Dec. 4, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals announced that it will not revisit its July 2020 determination that “an absence of proprietary rights” in a trademark “does not in itself negate in interest” in cancellation proceedings or a “reasonable belief of damage” (Australian Therapeutic Supplies Pty. Ltd. v. Naked TM LLC, No. 19-1567, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 37920).
ST. LOUIS — In a dispute over two franchises’ unauthorized use of a window distributor’s trademarks, a Missouri federal judge on Nov. 30 stayed the litigation pending a ruling on the scope of the company’s trademark license by a North Carolina state court. However, the judge agreed to dismiss false advertising and trademark dilution claims, as well as claims against a franchise employee (Window World International LLC, et al. v. Jill O’Toole, et al., No. 4:19-2363, E.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 223071).
MIAMI — Efforts to dismiss a declaratory judgment complaint involving a Swiss cross trademark and logo were denied Dec. 2 by a federal judge in Florida, who instead found that there is a “substantial controversy” between the parties (Swiss Brand Limited Inc. v. Wenger S.A., No. 20-21095, S.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 225522).
MINNEAPOLIS — In a Dec. 1 opinion, a federal judge in Minnesota rejected a German corporate defendant’s effort to dismiss allegations that it infringed the “Betty Ford” trademarks, ruling that the defendant had sufficient minimum contacts with the “nation as a whole” (Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, et al. v. My Way Betty Ford Klinik GmbH, No. 20-409, D. Minn., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 224511).
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Nov. 23 held that because an underlying complaint fails to accuse an insured of making false statements about the underlying claimants' products, there is no claim of disparagement under Pennsylvania law “that is actually or potentially within the scope of the Policy to trigger a duty to defend” (Vitamin Energy, LLC v. Evanston Insurance Company, et al., No. 19-3672, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218779).
MINNEAPOLIS — Instagram LLC in a Nov. 20 brief asked a Minnesota federal court to deny a television network operator’s motion for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit where the social network provider is alleged to have infringed the channel’s “REELZ” trademark with the recent launch of its “Reels” app (Hubbard Media Group LLC, et al. v. Instagram LLC, et al., No. 20-1750, D. Minn.).
TRENTON, N.J. — In a Nov. 24 holding, a federal judge in New Jersey said allegations that a corporate defendant infringed the copyrighted table pad protectors and piano covers of a competing family business should proceed (Internet Products LLC, et al. v. LLJ Enterprises Inc., et al., No. 18-15421, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220090).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a Nov. 23 holding, a federal magistrate judge in California agreed with YouTube LLC that allegations that it contributed to trademark infringement when it failed to take down a cryptocurrency scam quickly enough must be dismissed (Ripple Labs Inc., et al. v. YouTube LLC, No. 20-2747, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 218207).