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SCOTUS Denies Cert to Batmobile Case

Throughout his many incarnations, Batman, the fictional crime fighter and protector of the peace in Gotham City, has faced a wide range of very odd foes. Names like The Joker, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze and Penguin are familiar to fans of the Batman comic books, television series, and, of course, movies. But, any true fan of the Caped Crusader will have a hard time recalling any episode or story arc that pitted him against a small group of highly intelligent men and women clad in imposing black robes and wielding the power to decide the fate of something as important to Batman as his beloved Batmobile. That is, until now.

TTAB Decides "ZERO" Is Registerable but May Not Be Enforceable

In February, I reported on the battle between Coca-Cola and some of its soft drink rivals over trademark rights to the word "ZERO" in an article entitled, "How many trademarks is Coca-Cola hoping to register with the USPTO this year? ZERO." Now, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the "TTAB") has issued a final ruling on the subject: The Coca-Cola Company can proceed with the federal registration of the "ZERO" trademark for use in relation to soft drinks with no calories, but it cannot prevent competitors from using the word "zero" in their own trademarks. Huh?

Summer Legal Briefing Events (June 8th Orange County, June 14th Riverside)

Hart | King's Manufactured Housing Practice Group leaders are gearing up for our Summer Seminars! Bill Hart, John Pentecost, Bill Dahlin and Robert Williamson invite all mobilehome park owners and managers to attend this informative event. We will have continental breakfast and Hart | King's panel will discuss new statutes and cases of interest which will have impacts upon you and your communities. We will also have plenty of time to answer your questions. For your convenience, we now have two different locations from which to choose. Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the DoubleTree Club by Hilton Hotel (7 Hutton Centre Drive Santa Ana, CA 92707) and Tuesday, June 14, 2016 at the Marriott Riverside at the Convention Center (3400 Market Street Riverside, CA 92501). For both of these events, registration and continental breakfast will begin at 8:30am and the program from 9am - 11am. For more information and to RSVP, contact James Moorhouse at [email protected] or 714-432-8700 ext. 339. 

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?

How Many Trademarks is Coca-Cola Hoping to Register With the USPTO This Year? ZERO

Coca-Cola is widely known as the single most recognized trademark in the world. Neither Pepsi, Ford, nor even the golden arches of McDonald's have been able to unseat the cursive script of the bright red and silver hallmark Coca-Cola soda can when it comes to international recognition. So then, why would the soft drink behemoth be so interested in trying to obtain a word mark registration as simple as the word "zero"?

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