Today’s Wall Street Journal has a profile on Old Navy, page B1, entitled “Silk and Leather At Old Navy?” In noting Old Navy’s attempts to raise some of its price points, the article stated that:
“. . . Old Navy designers looked at jeans from high-end brands liken Seven for All Mankind and Citizens for Humanity, which sell for more than $100. They took the garments apart, examined the stitching and fabrics, then asked Old Navy’s factories to create something similar. The result, called ‘special edition’ denim, will sell for $36.50 to $49.50 . . .”
I ran that by Barbara Kolsun, general counsel of Seven For All Mankind, who responded: “Old Navy should hire creative designers who don’t have to copy our designs and fits.”
We don’t have all the facts, but based on this Honolulu Advertiser article, it sounds like an ACPA threat was used to stop political speech.
WSJ (no free online version): “What happens when an eBay steal is a fake”(“The counterfeit market has become a major headache for the luxury-product industry — and for unwary consumers. Our reporter finds out what recourse people have when they buy fake goods through an online auction.”)
Four out of the five designer items the reporter purchased for the article turned out to be certainly counterfeit and the last one probably was as well. Two sellers provided refunds, eBay provided partial refunds on two others.
WSJ (no free online version available): The estate of Samuel Beckett does not allow any departure, not only from the text of his plays but from the extensive specific stage directions left by Beckett. It recently sought to enjoin an Italian production of ‘Waiting For Godot’ that cast women in the roles of Vladimir and Estragon.
Pacific Epoch: Yahoo lost an appeal to obtain the names YAHU.COM and YAHU.COM.CN in China. The article states that the current registrant’s name has the same pinyin, or phonetic rendering in roman characters, but uses different Chinese characters.
“‘Hooters’ Loses Its Appeal” re 11th Circuit affirmance of a lower court decision dismissing Hooters’ claim that a rival establishment infringed whatever rights it may have in the ‘Hooters Girl.’ Follow the links for interesting discussion regarding the extent to which an employee’s unifom can function as trade dress (pun intended).
NameProtect’s Trademark Insider for the 1st quarter ’06 is out. Highlights include:
-70,860 U.S. trademark applications were filed, up 10% over the comparable period in ’05.
-Greenberg Taurig filed the most applications among law firms (542).
-Mattel filed the most applications among companies (230).
It’s interesting how fragmented this field is. The largest player has less than 1% market share.
. . . unless you’re eBay. Incidental to doing a search, I noticed that there were a gazillion dead and soon to be dead trademark applications for businesses providing ancilliary services to eBay sellers (e.g. WE WILL SELL YOUR STUFF ON EBAY FOR YOU or JOE’S EBAY DROP SHOP). These applicants could possibly use these terms to truthfully describe their businesses, but they simply can’t own a trademark that incorporates the mark of another. Just trying to save you the $275 or $325.
We discussed ‘taste’ trademarks last week here.
Counterfeit Chic discusses the protection of scent, today.
‘Sight’ trademarks comprise 99.99% of all trademarks (my estimate).
Sound trademarks occur every so often (Intel’s ‘bah buh bo bah’, MGM’s lion roar, Tarzan’s yell, various jingles).
What about touch? Can a distinctive texture designate origin? (the feel of cotton?) (ultra suede – more like suede than suede itself?) I’m aware of one tactile mark – a German trademark registration for the word UNDERBERG in braille (courtesy the Non-traditional Trademark Archives).
JWelch emails me to suggest that a jar with a fuzzy label should be registrable (“reach for the fuzzy jar”).