Knobbe/Martens: Intellectual Property Law

Catherine Holland

Beyoncé vs. Feyoncé: Am I Totally Diluted, or Should I Put a Ring on It?

October 26, 2018

In April 2016, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (known mononymously as “Beyoncé”) filed a trademark suit in the Southern District of New York against Feyonce, Inc., an online business that sells clothing, apparel, and assorted goods with the mark FEYONCÉ and certain phrases from Beyoncé’s songs. In the complaint, Beyoncé asserted trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment, and she sought a permanent injunction against Feyonce, Inc.’s further use of the allegedly infringing mark. In November 2017, Beyoncé filed a Partial Motion for Summary Judgment and entry of a permanent injunction against Feyonce, Inc. Her motion was denied by Judge Alison Nathan in October 2018.

Meow - Copycat Fur and Bows - Forever 21 Stares Down Puma

As discussed in our previous blog post Puma Treads New Territory Hitting Forever 21 with Copyright Allegations after the Supreme Court’s Star Athletica Decision, Puma sued Forever 21 for design patent infringement, trade dress infringement, copyright infringement and unfair competition in the Central District of California.  Specifically, Puma alleged that Forever 21 copied its “Fenty” label shoes which were designed by Puma with the help of famous pop star, Rihanna. 

Urban Outfitters Hit with Willful Copyright Infringement

May 9, 2017 Loni Morrow and Catherine Holland

On April 4, 2017, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Urban Outfitters and Century 21 (collectively “Urban”) were liable for willful infringement of a copyrighted fabric design owned by Unicolors Inc.  Unicolors is a Los Angeles based company that designs and sells fabric to customers in the apparel market. Urban Outfitters is a retail company with over 500 stores worldwide.  Century 21 is a department store that purchases products from Urban Outfitters. 

Just Like You and Me: Difficulties with Celebrity Trademark Applications

Under U.S. trademark law, any person (including a celebrity) can obtain a trademark registration for their name if they can establish that the public recognizes the name as a source identifier for certain products or services.  Celebrities frequently obtain a federal trademark registration for “entertainment services.”

It’s a Game Winning Shot but Far from a Slam Dunk: Michael Jordan Obtains Partial Victory in Chinese Courts over Use of His Name

January 9, 2017 Vicki Nee and Catherine Holland

In December 2016, China’s Supreme Court held that a Chinese manufacturer named Qiaodan Sports Company, could not continue to produce athletic shoes, clothing and gear bearing the trademark 乔丹, which is the Chinese transliteration of famed NBA player Michael Jordan’s last name. The court’s ruling overturned two previous lower court decisions against Jordan, and is a rare win for foreign individuals and companies seeking to protect their intellectual property in China.

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