Part of a lawyer’s professional competence includes technological competence. Therefore, every lawyer should have a basic understanding of the business and legal implications of the blockchain and its varied and various use cases.
Tonya Evans (Widener University Commonwealth Law School) – Moderator
Darrell Mottley (Banner Witcoff)
Shontavia Johnson (Drake University Law School)
Kevin Jordan (JP Morgan Chase)
Summary – Our panelists will discuss a variety of hot topics and recent developments in patent, trademark, and trade secret law, including:
The internet of things as an emerging technology/industry, and related IP and regulatory issues
Intersection between the First Amendment and Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act regarding registration of immoral, scandalous, or disparaging trademarks, including the impact of trademark cases
Overview of trade secret law and its viability as an alternative means of IP protection
CLE Info: The NBA IP Law Section is looking into obtaining CLE accreditation in the following jurisdictions: CA, GA, IL, NY, TX, and VA. For questions regarding CLE accreditation, please contact Bill Barrow (wbarrow[at]mayerbrown.com).
Cost: This webinar is free for NBA IP Law Section members and costs $30 (plus processing fees) for non-members.
The Connecticut brothers who built a successful clothing company that embodies the prepster lifestyle of Martha’s Vineyard have stirred up a nor’easter for a Rehoboth Beach T-shirt shop.
Vineyard Vines LLC, a company started by Ian and Shep Murray in 1998, has sued Rehoboth Lifestyle Clothing Co. for selling tops and sweatshirts that say “rehoboth” and are embroidered with big smiling whales. The jaunty-tailed whales bear a striking resemblance to the iconic trademark seen on the Murrays’ high-end ties, shirts, jackets, dresses and other products, the lawsuit alleges.
The way the Stamford, Connecticut, company sees it, Rehoboth Lifestyle is infringing on its registered trademark and diluting its “famous trademark,” according to a lawsuit filed in federal court. Vineyard Vines clothing, which has been spotted on movie stars and several presidents, is pricey, with a cotton dress shirt selling for $128 on the company’s website. […]
I doubt a court would find that the Vineyard Vines whale, even as popular, well-known and iconic as it may be, is indeed a “famous mark” as that term is defined under the Federal Trademark Dilution Act. Bigger ‘fish’ have tried and failed. The short list includes: XEROX, KODAK, COCA-COLA, and REEBOK. Read more about trademark dilution and famous mark cases. But it seems that Vineyard Vines has a strong case in establishing the “likelihood” of confusion. Actual confusion of consumers is not required.
I was quoted in the article to explain why it is important for trademark owners to police and to protect their marks. The consequences of not doing so could be extremely costly to their brand and business. And the failure to police may also lead to “genericide”, causing the owners to lose their exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the sale of its goods and services. Common examples of well-known companies whose marks became generic
In the article, I also explained the general purposes of trademark law. Read the full article:
So what do you think? Are consumers likely to be confused, even if initially, by the local t-shirt company’s mirror-image, stylized pink whale? More specifically, is it more likely than not that some consumer might be confused? If so, what’s the harm?
The IP-meets-reality world according to Professor Evans:
So if you’ve ever wondered what intellectual property law professors do after the semester ends and grades are submitted (except for recuperate from hip surgery), this post may clear it up.
We sleep, travel, surf the Interweb, research and write law review articles, blog, review lesson plans and, of course, catch up on guilty pleasure t.v. (one more day until Orange is the New Black!!!!! … but I digress).
Sometimes if we’re lucky, those to-dos (such as they are) converge into a perfect storm. At least that’s what just happened to me.
Case in point. This afternoon, I was flipping through cable news channels and overwhelmed with the horror that is the escaped murderer debacle in New York. I needed something less intense, less serious, less scary, less … real. So I clicked on over to Bravo to catch the “reality” du jour. I landed on one of my fave Real Housewives franchises (yeah, I said it): Real Housewives of New York.
“In this globalised world, it’s increasingly easy for British expats to buy the creature comforts of home – English tea, Irn-Bru or that most beloved British staple, Cadbury chocolate. But in the United States, consumers will soon have trouble finding the “proper” Cadbury chocolate made with the British recipe.
Chocolate giant Hershey Inc has successfully blocked the import of many British sweets because, it says, it creates “brand confusion” with Hershey’s products.”
On Wednesday, June 18th, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB), an administrative arm of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), ruled the NFL Washington “Redskins” trademark should be canceled on the grounds that it is disparaging to Native Americans.
If you’re an early bird, tune into The Matt McGill Morning Show onWVON 1690AM “The Talk of Chicago” (wvon.com) Thursday June 19th at 8:05 AM ET/7:05 AM CT to hear me analyze what the cancellation ruling says and, more importantly, what it means. If you’re not in Chicago or able to tune in via the radio, listen live at
About the Matt McGill “The Talk of Chicago” Morning Show
Matt McGill is one the country’s premier morning-drive personalities. As a host on one of the nation’s only Urban Talk radio stations, McGill’s morning show is the only locally produced program which targets affluent African-American adults in what is the largest market in the country. McGill offers substantive conversation mixed with his own brand of observational humor, making him a favorite amongst Chicago’s movers and shakers; business and community leader; as well as politicians.
On February 9th, The Huff Post and other media outlets reported the grand opening of a store in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, “Dumb Starbucks”. The clever prankish parody even caught the attention of Forbes:
‘Although it looks like Starbucks, smells like Starbucks and even acts like Starbucks (the super-friendly baristas asking for your name were hired off Craigslist), the whole thing is an elaborate goof on Starbucks culture. A list of Frequently Asked Questions posted on premises compared the place to Weird Al Yankovic’s homage to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Dumb Starbucks, you see, is the “Eat It” of $6 coffee drinks.’ Source: Forbes.com
Amazingly, people stood in line for hours for the Dumb Starbucks java, which reportedly was whatever the local grocery store had on hand for the few days Dumb Starbucks remained open. The locals and media alike seemed to get a big kick out of the entire thing. Starbucks execs? Um, not so much. The Dumb Starbucks mastermind, Comedy Central comedian Nathan Fielder from Nathan for You, explained the method to his parodic madness and the Starbucks response to Jimmy Kimmel recently:
The store shutdown for reasons completely unrelated to the trademark vs. parody debate. It seems that Fielder not only caught the attention of the coffee giant, Starbucks, but also the local health department. The Health Department cited code violations for selling coffee without a permit. And there is no word on whether Fielder will attempt to secure the necessary permissions to re-open. But what is sure to re-open and remain so is the debate on whether the First Amendment and parody trumps trademark law. Continue reading “‘Dumb Starbucks’ parody shuts down but debate over trademark law & parody continues”→