This is the Redskins’ appeal of the TTAB decision cancelling their REDSKINS registrations. This is a de novo appeal to the US District court in the Eastern District of Virginia.
Justia.com Opinion Summary: Fortres develops and sells a desktop management program called “Clean Slate” and holds a federally-registered trademark for use of that name to identify “[c]omputer software used to protect public access computers by scouring the computer drive back to its original configuration upon reboot.” When Warner Bros. Entertainment used the words “the clean slate” to describe a hacking program in the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, Fortres experienced a precipitous drop in sales of its software. Fortres sued, alleging that the use of the words “clean slate” in reference to the software in its movie infringed its trademark in violation of Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1114, 1125, and Indiana unfair competition law. The district court dismissed, reasoning that Fortres had not alleged a plausible theory of consumer confusion, upon which all of its claims depend, and that Warner Bros.’ use of the words “the clean slate” was protected by the First Amendment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed without reaching the constitutional question. Juxtaposed against the weakness of all the other relevant factors, the similarity of the marks is not enough to establish confusion. Trademark law protects the source-denoting function of words used in conjunction with goods and services, not the words themselves.
43(b)log discussion here.
Judge Posner awards fees against the Conan Doyle Estate. Special word search game: find the words ‘violate the antitrust laws’ in this decision.
Bonus reference to the Happy Birthday copyright scheme, uh, dispute.
Narrator of ‘Honey Badger Don’t Care’ video, registers the phrase, and sues t-shirt company.
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority operates the Garden State Parkway. It owns a federal registration for its logo. There are rest stops on the Garden State, and people stop there and eat pizza. Defendant has two pizza restaurants in Florida, and aspires to be a franchisor for Jersey-themed restaurants. It uses a logo apparently based on the Garden State Parkway logo.
Which cheap joke should we go for: Someone is in one of Defendant’s restaurants and thinks “wow, how did I find myself in a rest area on the Garden State Parkway?” or “Why would Defendant think that rest areas on the Garden State Parkway was an association worth evoking?”
[click here for rimshot] Chicago Cubs sue guy who wears Cub mascot costume, who allegedly hit a fan.
Largest Filer of Trademarks in U.S. Accused Of Fabricating Documents Relating To Trademark Priority in Civil Suit
The largest filer of trademarks in the United States is Raj Abhyanker PC. It is my understanding that Raj Abhyanker is the principal behind Trademarkia, the search database. I’m not quite clear as to the relationship between Trademarkia, and his law firm, which appears to do business under the name LEGAL FORCE. The two entities seem to co-market under the Twitter handle LF FORCE.
Mr. Abhyanker is involved in two lawsuits in the ND Cal with the company, Nextdoor Inc. Nextdoor accuses Mr. Abhankyer of various torts including cybersquatting, and Abhankyer accuses Nextdoor and co-defendants of, inter alia, theft of trade secret, in 3:12-cv-056670EMC. A summary judgement decision below summarizes some of the story. Mr. Abhankyer accuses Nextdoor of patent infringement in Fatdoor v Nextdoor, 5:2014cv02335.
Law360 now reports that Abhankyer’s attorneys (who were associated with Legal Force) moved to withdraw. The hearing was in camera, but the article notes that Nextdoor has alleged that Abhankyer has proffered fabricated evidence with regard to his alleged priority in the NEXTDOOR trademark. Its allegations are in the second document embedded below, page ten of its ‘opposition to motion.’ Mr. Abhankyer’s responses, characterized in the Law360 article, are contained in docket numbers 251 and 255 on Pacer.
The attorneys’ motion to withdraw was granted (which is not a reflection on the veracity of any allegations they may have made, other than that they can no longer function effectively as Mr. Abhankyer’s representatives.
This is a complex case, with 277 documents in the record less than two years in. We recommend looking at the original court documents before coming to any conclusions.