Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law

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Attorneys’ Fee Decision Should put Louis Vuitton in a Good Mood, but will it Gain a Sense of Humor?

January 29, 2018 Loni Morrow and Jonathan Hyman

In December, the Second Circuit ruled that My Other Bag (MOB) was not liable for infringing Louis Vuitton’s trademarks and copyrights because MOB’s bags were a parody of the luxury giant.

Beware! A Trademark Trial and Appeals Board Decision Can Stop You in Your Tracks

January 29, 2018 Nicole R. Townes and Jeff Van Hoosear

It has been a few years since the Supreme Court decision in the case B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., and we are beginning to see the aftermath in the district courts.  In B&B Hardware, the Supreme Court held that decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) regarding whether a trademark should be entitled to federal registration can have a preclusive effect in trademark infringement actions in district court.  Specifically, the Supreme Court held that “[s]o long as the other ordinary elements of issue preclusion are met, when the usages adjudicated by the TTAB are materially the same as those before the district court, issue preclusion should apply.”  See B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., 135 S. Ct. 1293, 1310 (2015).

Anything Your Heart Designs: Swarovski Hit with Copyright Infringement of Galatea’s “Two In One Heart” Design

January 18, 2018 Chanell Khosrowabadi and Jonathan Hyman

On December 4, 2017 Galatea Jewelry (“Galatea” or “Plaintiff”) filed a copyright infringement suit in the District Court for the Central District of California against the well-known crystal jewelry producer and retailer Swarovski North America Limited and its related entities, Swarovski Retail Ventures Ltd., Swarovski Digital Business USA Inc., and Swarovski Crystallized LLC (collectively, “Swarovski”).

Unlicensed Use of a Festival Name May Result in a Not-So-Festive Trademark Lawsuit

November 6, 2017 Ian W. Gillies and Diana E. Wade

Music festivals, film festivals, food festivals….festivals are popular venues for entertainment and each festival strives to offer the consumer a unique experience. Of course, at most festivals, clothes must be (or should be) worn, and festival-goers are a ready market for apparel retailers. However, retailers should be aware of one aspect of trademark law that can put a damper on the festivity: claims of false association, sponsorship, endorsement, or license.

Is it Pretty? Will H&M Assert a “Classixx” Ornamental Defense to Claims of Trademark Infringement?

November 6, 2017 Jonathan Hyman and Chanell Khosrowabadi

On October 19, 2017 Hush Hush Sound Inc, Michael David, and Tyler Blake (collectively “Plaintiffs”) also known as the Electronic dance music duo “Classixx” filed suit in the District Court for the Central District of California against well-known fast fashion retailer H&M for trademark infringement.

Utility Patents in Fashion Design? Nike & Huzu Innovate The Way

September 15, 2017 Loni Morrow and Jason J. Jardine

Utility patents cover a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.  Design patents are much more common in the fashion industry since design patents protect the aesthetic features of a useful invention.  

General Mills Finds Out That Yellow Is Not “Magically Delicious”: Brands Fighting To Protect Their True Colors

September 13, 2017 Nicole R. Townes and Jonathan Hyman

Years after the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent battle over red soled shoes, trademark protection for color continues to be a hot topic.  On August 22, 2017, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) held that General Mills was not entitled to a trademark registration for its yellow Cheerios’ box shown below:

Tatcha v. Too Faced: What Shade is your Trade Dress?

Newcomer to the luxury cosmetics marketplace, Tatcha LLC (“Tatcha”), recently made a splash by filing a trade dress infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of California against Too Faced Cosmetics LLC (“Too Faced”), a division of Estee Lauder.  The trade dress claim is based on alleged similarities in the appearance of the two companies’ lipstick packaging.

Catching Counterfeits: Customs Recordation and IP Enforcement

August 9, 2017 Lesley Kim and Jonathan Hyman

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), the primary federal agency responsible for securing America’s borders, is also charged with the protection of intellectual property rights and guarding against the infringement of U.S. copyrights and trademarks.

Back-to-School Shopping: The New Fashion Buzzword is “Authentic”

July 31, 2017 Diana E. Wade and Jeff Van Hoosear

For many students in the United States, the first day of school is less than a month away. This means the back-to-school shopping season has started. Teenagers, middle schoolers, and fashion conscious parents of elementary school children will visit malls and outlets in search of new clothing, shoes, and accessories. Many of these shoppers will also visit the websites of retail stores and e-commerce websites.   

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