Jonathan Menkes Comments on Recent TTAB Decisions Related to Celebrity Slogans

| Jonathan Menkes

Knobbe Martens partner Jonathan Menkes was quoted by Law360 in the article "TTAB Wants To Know How Consumers View Celebrity Slogans,” discussing two recent TTAB decisions in which the Board analyzed celebrity phrases and whether they functioned as a trademark. The first opinion analyzed the musician Lizzo’s “100% That Bitch” phrase in an ex parte appeal, and the more recent TTAB opinion analyzed New York Yankees star Aaron Judge’s “All Rise” and “Here Comes The Judge” phrases in an inter partes opposition proceeding. In both opinions, the TTAB focused on the consumer perception of the marks to find that the relevant public recognized the slogans as pointing to the particular artist and player.

Speaking on the ruling, Menkes said that the “TTAB's approach in the Lizzo and Judge cases seems to depart from the board's traditional focus on the "four corners" of the trademark registration or application at issue.” He also noted that “practitioners, especially those representing celebrities or larger organizations, will appreciate that evidence of actual use of a mark in the marketplace has become more relevant in both ex parte and inter partes proceedings.”

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