17
Oct/02

Grille vs. Grille


The Seventh Circuit will be hearing arguments this week on Daimler Chrysler’s allegation that the grille of the Hummer is confusingly similar to that of Daimlers Jeep.  Here are photos of the grilles in question.



17
Oct/02

Is Resistance Futile Against the .ORG?


ICANN has re-delegated the administration of the .org TLD to the Internet Society and Afilias (the .info registry).  Here are the comments from the losing bidders about perceived short-comings in the bidding process.

Most risque pun under the circumstances here.



17
Oct/02

Food and Gas This Exit


A reader forwarded me this item on Quaker Steak & Lube Restaurant.  The author must have had motor oil on the mind because the article contains the seemingly unprovoked quote:

“Quaker Steak & Lube says it doesn’t have problems with trademark infringement with the Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., manufacturer of Quaker State oil and parent company of Jiffy Lube oil change shops. Quaker Steak & Lube is a registered name.”

True, not only does it have a registration but the registration is 22 years old, meaning Quaker State lost the chance to cancel it on infringement grounds approximately a decade and a half ago (registrations achieve incontestable status after five years of continuous use – see section 15 of the Lanham Act).

Now, turning away from this specific fact pattern (so as to avoid nasty letters from lawyers for the involved parties), say that 15 years ago, there wasn’t a Federal Trademark Dilution Act so a famous mark owner couldn’t stop a non-infringing but none the less dilutive use.  What happened when the FTDA was passed in 1996 – was it retroactive?  Section 43(c) didn’t say explicitly one way or the other.  There were some domain name cases where the FTDA was applied retroactively but I think that those were result-oriented decisions where the Dilution Act was mangled in ordered to get at cyber-squatters.  In the case of 25 years of coexistence, barring compelling circumstances (i.e. the trademark owner was in a coma during that time),  it’s something it just has to live with.

Thanks to the blogger formerly known as Tuffy Stone for this.



16
Oct/02

Counterfeit Products on the Internet


Fortune.com article on counterfeit products on the Internet.



16
Oct/02

Self-Help for Motion Picture Copyright Owners


This Washington Post article discusses a new technology which increases the distortion when a camcorder attempts to record the image on a movie screen (but does not alter the image to the naked eye).  Successful application of the technology could reduce movie piracy.



16
Oct/02

SCIONISM


SCION is a new brand from Toyota, to be rolled out in June 2003.  It means offspring (or a shoot from a plant).  BusinessWeek published the name in March when someone spotted the trademark application (once again showing the value of trademark databases).  Register.com appears to have handled the domain name registrations for Toyota, and obtained SCION.COM, SCIONSUCKS.COM and SCIONCARSSUCK.COM. 

A Toyota spokesperson said in an AdAge article:

“I don’t think a lot of people know how to pronounce” Scion . . .  “We’ll take care of that with a few million dollars of marketing.”

I would have said “Pick a name people know how to pronounce and save a few million dollars.”  So it’s a good thing I’m not in marketing.

 

Via David Galbraith.



16
Oct/02

Aquarela do Brasil


They’ve got a girl from Ipanema, a lot of nuts, an awful lot of coffee, and Ronaldo, in Brazil.

They also have an online trademark database, which we have added to the Schwimmerlegal Trademark Metasearch.  Check it out after you check out Ronaldo’s official website.



16
Oct/02

More Trademark Work for Jeb Bush


The American Association of Retired Persons doesn’t endorse political candidates.  Florida Governor and part-time trademark lawyer Jeb Bush sent out a mailer to senior citizens illsutrated with a photo of Bush from an AARP gathering, showing Bush wearing an AARP button standing in front of an AARP sign.  AARP is now protesting the mailing, arguing that it falsely suggests that Bush is endorsed by AARP.

File this with the AFLAC DUCK and the various stupid domain name tricks we’ve seen during this campaign.



15
Oct/02

Aquarela do Brasil


They’ve got an awful lot of coffee, a girl from Ipanema, a lot of nuts and Ronaldo.  Brazil also has an online trademark database which has been added to the Schwimmerlegal International Trademark MetaSearch.  After you see Ronaldo’s offical site, try out the MetaSearch.



15
Oct/02

More Trademark Work for Jeb Bush


The American Association of Retired Persons doesn’t endorse political candidates.  Florida Governor and part-time Trademark Lawyer Jeb Bush sent out a mailing to Florida seniors featuring a picture of him speaking to the AARP, wearing an AARP button and standing in front of an AARP banner.  The AARP has protested the mailer, and says that this mis-leadingly implies that the AARP endorses Bush.  
There is some law on the use of symbols in political speech (see e.g. Brach van Houten Holding v. Save Brach's Coalition, 856 F. Supp. 472, 31 USPQ2d 1786 (ND Ill 1994) (Regarding union’s use of trademark of employer) but on the whole, I wouldn’t say that there is a myriad of decisions on this fact pattern.
 File this with the AFLAC DUCK and the various stupid domain name tricks we’ve seen during this campaign