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Lululemon - Active Where? Lululemon is actively protecting more than just their brand recognition for luxury-level active wear.  The Canadian-based company designs and manufactures athletic apparel...

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Notice of Upside Down Document The USPTO has various Notices alerting an applicant to such things as Allowance, search Missing Parts, there and apparently, Upside Down Documents.  Yes, you read that...

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Your Trademark Could Soon Be X-Rated The newest generic top-level domain, rx .XXX, find is entirely geared towards the adult entertainment industry, medicine and companies within that industry have already...

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Pretty Sure God Has Dibs on That TM Will.i.am and Pharrell Williams, buy cialis both musicians and producers in the music industry, diagnosis have an ongoing trademark dispute over the phrase "I AM" - a phrase...

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What Kim Kardashian and Apple Have in Common Both are suing over alleged infringement of intellectual property rights having to do with look-a-likes. Apple claims the new Galaxy tablet is a mimic and that Samsung "copied...

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Lululemon – Active Where?

Posted on : 23-07-2014 | By : Sarah | In : Legal Stuff, News, Patents

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Lululemon is actively protecting more than just their brand recognition for luxury-level active wear.  The Canadian-based company designs and manufactures athletic apparel and accessories, illness which have quickly become iconic in some fashion spheres. But the company’s activity doesn’t end in the gym.

Lululemon has pushed their business activity into the intellectual property sphere as well, filing for and enforcing design patents granted for their athletic apparel.  Currently, the company has 31 design patents that cover apparel including bras, shorts, pants,  jackets, tank tops, bags, yoga mats, and other specific design elements common to Lululemon products.

A recent article actually labeled Lululemon “The Fashion Industry’s Biggest Patent Troll.”  But such name-calling is a bit obtuse, given that each of these design patents owned by Lululemon appear to be assigned by Lululemon designers and employees of the company.  The active wear company does not seem to be acquiring patents for the sole purpose of enforcement, as the colloquial “patent troll” would, but increased enforcement of Lululemon design patents does appear to be where the activity of the company is headed.

In 2012 Lululemon filed a lawsuit against Calvin Klein, alleging infringement of one of their design patents for yoga pants, which resulted in an undisclosed settlement agreement.  The following year, Lululemon issued a Cease & Desist demand aimed at HanesBrands Inc., a manufacturer for a tank top marketed and sold in Target Stores under the Champions brand.  HanesBrands gave Lululemon a light workout, offering some resistance by filing a lawsuit against Lululemon claiming invalidity of the design patent at issue.  However, that case also resulted in settlement.

Offensive enforcement of these design patents appears to be the strategy Lululemon is pursuing.  And this raises several questions.  Will this be a new era of fashion forward intellectual property?  Does the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have the requisite expertise to be making decisions on what is novel and innovative in the fashion industry?  Will the Courts uphold the USPTO’s fashion decisions?  Will long black robes be back on trend?  (Fashion declined to comment)

We may just have to wait and see what comes down the fall runway. (Get it? Active wear. Run way. Okay, I’ll stop.)

 

Bonus: Louis Vuitton never fails to rabidly protect their brand, even against law students seeking to learn how to protect IP.

Google, you’re starting to scare me.

Posted on : 14-11-2013 | By : Sarah | In : Uncategorized

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There’s innovation, discount and then there’s intrusion.  Some might argue technology today already intrudes upon our private lives more than it should (excuse me while I tweet a live play-by-play of my infant’s activities while observing him over the IP camera monitoring system we call a baby monitor) #TMI.

Potentially crossing over into the intrusion category is a recent innovation by the Motorola Mobility division, acquired by Google last year.  The pending patent application refers to it as “Coupling an Electronic Skin Tattoo to a Mobile Communication Device.”  Its a hands-free microphone you can tattoo on your neck.  That definitely is a leap beyond the sliver of a microphone available on my ear bud cord.  And if you’re first response is, “hey, that doesn’t sound so bad,” wait until you hear what else it may be capable of providing.

In addition to enhancing clarity of your spoken conversation through your mobile phone, this tattoo can also detect falsehoods.  What? That’s right, a permanent lie detector indelibly inked onto your neck!  And this lie detecting tat may also light up in response to meeting certain criteria – say, recognizing an untruth?  Scarves may become a year-round fashion necessity.

Innovative? Check.  Scary? Double Check.  I think I’ll pass for now.

Pretty Sure God Has Dibs on That TM

Posted on : 28-06-2013 | By : Sarah | In : Just for Fun, Legal Stuff, News

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Will.i.am and Pharrell Williams, buy cialis both musicians and producers in the music industry, diagnosis have an ongoing trademark dispute over the phrase “I AM” – a phrase I’m pretty sure God has been using in the public domain since long before either musician existed. (See Exodus 3:14 for – likely – date of first use).

Will.i.am (whose legal name is William James Adams) does have multiple live trademark registrations for the phrase “I am” under a variety of goods and services classifications, ambulance including for jewelry items, clothing, entertainment services, multimedia materials, and more. In addition, Will.i.am has more than 50 other live trademark registrations, and at least 20 of those appear to incorporate the words “I am” as part of the mark, including his nom de musiqueWill.i.am.” According to his attorney, Will.i.am is in the process of building up a family of “I am” marks.

Pharrell Williams has recently applied for registration of the mark “I am other,” sparking this dispute. Legal counsel for Will.i.am filed an opposition with the USPTO in response, alleging that the “I am other” registration is confusingly similar to the other marks of Will.i.am, which serve as a large part of his personal brand. You can see statements from counsel on both sides of the issue in this WSJ article.

There are over 1700 registrations incorporating some version of the phrase “I am” for all manner of classifications of goods and services, including “I am talent“, “I am game“, “I am presidential“, “I am not kidding” (okay, didn’t find that last one in any search . . . yet.) “I am not sure” if Will.i.am has lodged objections for each of these as well.

God will probably not object to any of these registrations as it is very unlikely anyone would find Will.i.am confusingly similar to God. But I would caution Mr. i.am against any attempt to add “The Great I Am” to his family of marks – just my two cents.

Your Trademark Could Soon Be X-Rated

Posted on : 20-09-2011 | By : Sarah | In : Uncategorized

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The newest generic top-level domain, rx .XXX, find is entirely geared towards the adult entertainment industry, medicine and companies within that industry have already begun reserving domain names in anticipation of the domain debut in 2012. Any trademark owners who do NOT wish to be associated with pornographic sites and content have just a brief window this fall in which to file an application to “opt out” their specific trademark from the available domain names ending with .XXX. Of course, there is a fee for filing such an application. But that’s not all. Should a company in the adult entertainment industry (i.e. a porn site) apply for the domain name of an “opted out” trademark, and subsequently refuse to withdraw said application when made aware of the trademark owner’s paid attempt to “opt out,” the porn site will get priority over the trademark owner! The trademark owner must then initiate proceedings to block registration of the domain name to the porn site. All this, and only if the trademark owner is successful in submitting an application before October 28, 2011, to protect their mark from being associated with the .XXX domain.

Of course, if you are a celebrity, never fear. Your name has been banned from the .XXX domain preemptively, because “it is very difficult for [celebrities] to trademark their names.” So, let’s see, if it is difficult to trademark, it is protected from being associated with porn. But if it is easily trademarked, as evidenced by a registered trademark, you have to pay to protect your mark. Nice.

For more, see also: CNET article and CBS News article

What Kim Kardashian and Apple Have in Common

Posted on : 22-07-2011 | By : Sarah | In : Legal Stuff, News

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Both are suing over alleged infringement of intellectual property rights having to do with look-a-likes. Apple claims the new Galaxy tablet is a mimic and that Samsung “copied the look, pharm product design, order packaging and user interface of [Apple’s iPhone and iPad] products.” Kim Kardashian asserts that Old Navy used a model as her stand-in for the retailer’s latest advertising commercial because the woman featured in the ad looks like her.

Apple has the power and punch of a patent and trademark portfolio to back up its claim against Samsung over the design of the Galaxy tablet. In her suit against Old Navy, ampoule Ms. Kardashian is relying on the weight of her Twitter and Facebook following to substantiate her celebrity and claims of IP rights stemming from her visage and persona.

While Apple’s suit could have implications for the smartphone and tablet device marketplace, Ms. Kardashian’s suit could affect the marketplace for those persons unfortunate enough to possess similar features as that of a celebrity. Perhaps the model, Melissa Molinaro, used in the Old Navy commercials should counter-sue for loss of future earnings due to Ms. Kardashian’s monopoly of physical features. Just a thought.