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November 2015 Archives

Back to the Trademark Dispute

When Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled from 1985 to 2015 in a modified DeLorean DMC-12 in the second movie of the Back to the Future trilogy, they visited the town square of fictional Hill Valley and the courthouse played a key role in getting them back to their own time. Little did they know, but in the real year 2015 a real courthouse (albeit in real New Jersey) was the setting for a legal battle over the intellectual property rights associated with the DeLorean brand.

Put a Pin in it: The Pinterest v. Pintrips Trademark Battle

Pinterest-Logo-300x300.pngIn the world of trademarks, the success or failure of trademark infringement lawsuits are measured by the "likelihood of confusion" standard. Broadly speaking, this means that if consumers are likely to be confused (or, better yet, actually are confused) about the source of a particular good or service based on similarities between the competing trademarks of the two companies, then only one trademark should be allowed to exist and to serve its primary purpose as a 'source identifier.'

First, it Was Toy Hamsters. Now, it's Toy Nazis.

Last month we reported on the unusual "right of publicity" case involving Harris Faulkner and Hasbro ("A plastic hamster by any other name..."). You may recall that Hasbro, a toy manufacturer, released a line of plastic toy animals with real sounding names, including a toy hamster named "Harris Faulkner." It turned out that Harris Faulkner is also the name of a FOX News personality who is very protective of her name and her public persona. She was so upset by the use of her name in relation to a plastic toy rodent (and, at least as she claims, a similarity between the facial features of the toy and of herself) that she filed suit against Hasbro for $5 million alleging, among other things, infringement on her right of publicity. The case is just getting underway in New Jersey District Court.

Officially, the Korean War Isn't Over, but the Korean War Stamp Litigation is Done

Stamp-300x205.jpgM.A.S.H., the popular television sitcom of the 1970's, was on the air for 12 ½ years, 9 ½ years longer than the actual Korean War (June 1950 to July 1953) which served as the setting for the series. Oddly enough, a battle over the copyrights in a U.S. Postal Service stamp commemorating the Korean War has them both beat for duration as it approaches the two decade mark.

Made in the USA? Well, Mostly

When you're out shopping at your favorite big box store and you come across a pair of blue jeans prominently displaying the label "MADE IN THE USA," does it affect your decision to purchase and, equally important, just what does that label mean to you? Does it mean the jeans were designed in the USA or that the fabric was made in the USA or that the cut pieces were sewn together in the USA?

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