Federal law prohibits the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office from registering trademarks deemed “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous,” or that “disparage… persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols.” This has resulted in disputes like the cancellation of the Washington Redskins trademark. This morning, the nation’s highest court agreed to hear arguments in a case seeking to throw that rule out. [More]
Can you effectively recreate a supermarket by buying a bunch of that store’s products, shipping them across the border and selling them in a store with a deliberately similar name? That’s the question at the center of a years-long legal battle between Trader Joe’s and its Canadian lookalike Pirate Joe’s. [More]
When Macy’s Inc. swallowed up a slew of department stores across the land — from Marshall Field’s to Filene’s, Abraham & Straus to Jordan Marsh — it rebranded many of them, turning the formerly regional chains into Macy’s stores. But in a new lawsuit brought by the company that echoes a suit from 2011 that was slated to come to trial soon, Macy’s says the California company behind the resurrection of Hydrox and Astro Pops is infringing on trademarks it held for many of those recognizable brand names.
Sometimes, we hurt the ones we love. Which is why even if we didn’t mean to be so harsh, many products we use every day have become the victims of trademark genericization, meaning they’ve morphed from a single product identified under a name to an entire product category. And when courts get involved it becomes “genericide,” which sounds even more murderous. Can’t you just imagine Law & Order: Genericized Trademarks? [dun dun] [More]