Creators of popular movies, TV shows, books, and video games are sometimes savvy enough to register unique characters and fictional places with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, but a federal court ruling in a case involving SpongeBob Squarepants shows that a fictional business need not be trademarked in order to benefit from trademark protection. [More]
If you’re a fan of Breaking Bad, you’re undoubtedly very familiar with the show’s Los Pollos Hermanos — heck, you might even go so far as buy a T-shirt with the fictional restaurant/meth distributor’s logo on it. And that’s exactly why the artist who created the restaurant’s logo is suing Sony Pictures: he says the company made money off merchandise featuring the Los Pollos Hermanos logo without his permission. [More]
The term “Jedi” has been around for nearly 40 years and phrases like “Jedi mind trick” get thrown around so frequently you might forget that it’s a term that George Lucas created — and trademarked — for use in the Star Wars universe of movies, books, TV shows, variety specials, and merchandise. Which is why Lucasfilm — now a subsidiary of Disney — is suing the operator of programs that teach students how to use their lightsabers. [More]
If you’re going to make a shirt using a trademarked name and logo, you’d better have permission from the trademark holder. Just ask TopShop, which was called out for selling a $700 leather jacket, complete with an apparently unauthorized use of name and logo for the band Against Me! [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]
While there may be some Chipotle customers who are excited to try the company’s new burger concept, dubbed Tasty Made, there’s at least one party that’s not so jazzed: an East Coast burger business called Tasty Burger that claims Chipotle is ripping off its name and logo. [More]
Last week, AT&T launched a new loyalty program dubbed AT&T Thanks, offering rewards to customers, especially those who bundle together wireless and pay-TV services from the company. This morning, Citi fired back at the Death Star, alleging that AT&T is stomping all over Citi’s “ThankYou” trademark. [More]
Back in 2014, Great Harvest Bread Company trademarked what it thought was a neat slogan: “Bread. The Way it Ought to Be.” So when fellow baked goods peddler Panera Bread introduced its slogan, “Food as it should be” in 2015, that hit a little too close to home for Great Harvest. [More]
Do you recognize Burberry’s distinctive plaid on sight? The British company assumes that most clothing shoppers do, and has filed a lawsuit against JCPenney for using a similar plaid in scarves and coats that it has sold recently. [More]
When it comes to famous faces, not just anyone can cash in and use those well-known likenesses for their own financial gain. That’s why the highest court in the land has turned down an appeal from clothing companies that wanted to peddle T-shirts bearing the image of reggae legend Bob Marley.
Ages before there was an Internet, and certainly long before Pinterest ever came onto the scene, folks were pinning things — to bulletin boards, to computer dashboards and docks. But the folks at Pinterest believe they have an exclusive trademark of the online use of phrases like “pin it.” Unfortunately for them, a federal judge disagrees. [More]
Beyoncé, Jay Z, Others Claim Retailer Is Selling Products Bearing Their Likenesses Without Permission
When you’re as famous as Beyoncé, Jay Z, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams or Rihanna, your face is literally your fortune — and fans are most definitely willing to pay to get a piece of their favorite artists. That’s why those musicians are jointly suing a Paris clothing company, alleging that it’s been peddling products using their likenesses without having the right to do so.
When someone mentions the Batmobile, do you pause and say, “Hold on — which Batmobile? Batman’s car or just like another car that’s shaped like a bat, has crime-fighting technology and ferries around a caped crusader?” Probably not, because everyone knows what the Batmobile is and who it belongs to. That entitles it to copyright protection, the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals said on Wednesday, affirming a district court’s judgment in a copyright and trademark infringement action brought by DC Comics against a maker of Batmobile replicas. [More]
While Burger King might be technically older than McDonald’s Corp., it’s certainly not older than the Book of Kells, a 9th Century illuminated manuscript of the New Testament Gospels. But when Trinity College Dublin tried to trademark the Book of Kells name and related “BK merchandise,” Burger King’s legal eagles objected, claiming it would infringe on the fast-food giant’s marks. [More]
If you’re the kind of person who favors fruity flavors in your e-cigarette, hey, that’s your choice. But Ferrara Candy doesn’t to be tied to any flavor of vape liquid, and is suing an online e-cig company claiming it infringed on its trademark for Fruit Stripe gum with one of its offerings.
The folks at IMAX need to learn when to take a compliment. When someone name-drops your brand as an aspirational standard, you should smile and appreciate the respect. What you shouldn’t do is demand that a news website retract an entire story just because someone mentions your brand. [More]
You’ll have to excuse us if we’re not in the greatest spirits today, as we’re in mourning for the loss of Walmart.horse, the nonsense website that Walmart spent actual time and money to shut down and acquire. [More]