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May 2016 Archives

Heinz Declares Victory in Condiment Wars; Patent Holder Vows to Fight On

LITIGATION UPDATE. As we originally reported way back in 2012, Chicago inventor Scott White has been waging an ongoing war with Kraft Heinz Co. over rights to an innovative design for ketchup and other condiments that White had dubbed the "CondiCup." White, a former risk manager for the Chicago Housing Authority, had claimed that Heinz stole his idea for the flexible condiment package after he had applied for registration of a patent for the design and had entered into negotiations with Heinz for a license to use the design for its ketchup and other dippable condiments. White filed suit against Heinz for patent infringement and Heinz contested the efficacy of the underlying patent on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the "P.T.O."). Unfortunately, for White, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal District Circuit recently ruled in favor of Heinz and affirmed an earlier 2013 P.T.O. decision finding that many of White's claims were too obvious to be patentable and therefore canceling the patent.

Where's the Beef? It's in The Kitchen

Believe it or not, even the rich and famous get embroiled in trademark disputes. In this instance, those two are Kimbal Musk, restaurateur and lesser known brother of Elon Musk (the co-founder of PayPal) and Wolfgang Puck, the German-born celebrity chef. And, the two are fighting over the right to use the unlikely trademark "The Kitchen" in relation to their respective restaurants.

How powerful are registered trademarks? Just ask the New Zealand Rugby Union

Trademarks can be powerful. If you don't agree, just think of brands like Nike, McDonald's and Mercedes-Benz that rely on their trademarks to define their reputations in the marketplace and to drive consumers to buy their products. Where would they be without their trademarks?

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob Trademark Infringer?

If you're a fan of Nickelodoen's popular cartoon series SpongeBob Squarepants, then you probably wouldn't be surprised if Plankton, the nemesis of SpongeBob's boss, Mr. Krabs, tried to use some ruse or another to make use of Mr. Krab's valuable "Krabby Patty" trademarks. Plankton is always on the hunt for the secret formula to Bikini Bottom's favorite burger recipe (while Mr. Krabs, usually with SpongeBob's unwitting assistance, is always able to foil him at the last minute). So, why wouldn't Plankton try just as hard to make off with a Krabby Patty trademark or two?

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