Trademarks are always fascinating, and we love chocolate, so we had to share with you a trademark-chocolate story. When Hershey filed a lawsuit against LBB Imports, the importer of specialty products from Great Britain, Australia and South Africa, LBB decided to stop importing the brands that bear the “Cadbury” trademark, the trademark that Hershey has exclusive rights to in the U.S.
A New York City store that specializes in British imports, Tea & Sympathy, wrote on its Facebook page that “"Due to legal action by the so-called chocolate maker Hersheys, we can no longer import the real Cadbury chocolate from England.They want us to sell their dreadful Cadbury approximation but we can't in good conscience sell you such awful chocolate when we have made our reputation on selling you the yummy real English stuff."
Our observation is this. The retailer was smart enough to trademark “Tea & Sympathy” which we find to be clever and adorable.
When Michelin three-star-rated chef Joshua Skenes announced that he was opening a new restaurant called “Fat Noodle”, the news was greeted warmly by noodle aficionados. The news was not greeted warmly, but hotly and contentiously, by Chubby Noodle that filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Fat Noodle claiming that two restaurants names are “confusingly similar.” The lawsuit went on to claim that Fat Noodle is “dilut[ing]” and “tarnish[ing] the image of the…Chubby Noodle mark.”
Fat Noodle’s counterclaim is that Chubby Noodle is “trying to use our good name and press to enhance their own.”
We wish we had something clever to add, but our noodles are not working today.
Time was that you sat at the bar and ordered a beer. The proliferation of over 3,000 new local and specialty breweries over the past few years has created stiff competition to trademark the names of all the brews from all of these breweries.
In 2013, Lagunitas Brewing received a cease-and-desist order from SweetWater Brewing demanding that Lagunitas stop using “420” (the popular code for marijuana) on the labels of several of its beers. SweetWater had been brewing and selling its “420 Extra Pale Ale” since the 1990s, so they laid claim to that branding. Being really mellow guys, the folks at Lagunitas agreed that SweetWater had claim to “420” in its beer brand, and agreed to remove the offending “420” from the Lagunitas’ beer labels.
Rumor has it they burned the unused “420” beer labels
It started with a lawsuit filed by the 60’s rock group The Turtles against Sirius XM, the satellite radio broadcaster, over royalties. Federal copyright law only applies to broadcasted music as of 1972, so The Turtles want to be paid royalties when Sirius XM plays the group’s pre-1972 music. The Turtles won the first round, so more lawsuits have ensued.
ELVH, Inc., the holding company for the rock band Van Halen, had sued Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the group’s drummer, Alex. Ms. Van Halen attempted to register trademarks for her name to use to promote and sell furniture, children’s blankets and bathing suits. ELVH claimed that “Kelly Van Halen” infringed and diluted the “Van Halen” trademark. We will never know what would have happened because the case was settled out of court, but www.kellyvanhalen.com is up.
Our story goes back to 2010 with the death of Dr. Keith L. Davis who had founded Vein Care Pavilion of the South with Dr. Steven M. Roth, and one of the trademarks of the medical practice is “The Vein Guys.”
Sorry about the headline. We could not help ourselves. In a rare move, a Federal Circuit Court has over-ruled the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. St. Helena Hospital had applied for the trademark “TAKETEN” and the Trademark Office denied the registration, claiming it was too similar to a current trademark, “Take 10!”
Male jurors, at least. Victoria's Secret is suing CafePress, an online seller of consumer-designed products, claiming infringement of Victoria’s Secret’s trademarks. In the lawsuit, Victoria’s Secrets claims that CafePress is selling women's apparel that are “knockoffs and/or counterfeit versions” of Victoria’s Secret products.
Nike claims that three of its former star shoe designers stole a "treasure trove" of trade secrets when they left earlier this year to work for Nike’s rival, Adidas. Nike has filed a lawsuit in Oregon claiming that three of its former designers – Denis Dekovic, Marc Dolce and Mark Miner – conspired to set up their own design studio, then convinced Adidas to engage them with the promise to provide Adidas with insider Nike design details and product plans. Pretty sneaky. Sorry, we could not help ourselves.
MGM just filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against M Life Inc., a company with an application to operate a marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas under the name M’Life Wellness. “M life” is the name of the MGM’s frequent gambler/customer rewards program that is used at 15 of the company’s properties. In the lawsuit, MGM claims trademark dilution, unfair competition and cybersquatting in the defendant’s use of MGM trademark.