Author Archives: Jean Joseph

Be Ready to Face the Consequences, Warner Bros.

Remember Ed Helms’ face tattoo from “The Hangover Part II” movie? Did you notice the resemblance between the tattoo featured in the film and Mike Tyson’s face tattoo? Well, Warner Bros. may not have gotten permission to use that tattoo from artist S. Victor Whitmill who designed Tyson’s famous tattoo.

Before the movie’s release, Whitmill filed a complaint against Warner Bros., alleging that the facial tattoo in the film infringed on Whitmill’s copyright in the tattoo. Whitmill sought a preliminary injunction, which would have halted the film’s release. A preliminary injunction is a pre-trial court order that stops action by the opposing party in a lawsuit.

Warner Bros. and Whitmill settled this case before trial, and Whitmill’s tattoo is featured in the movie on all platforms. This case is still helpful to discuss because many athletes have unique tattoos that companies would want to display in their films or commercials, so the artist should also be able to profit from it.


Photo by Allef Vinicius, licensed
by Unsplash

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Cat Got Your Trademark

We’re all used to seeing the big Caterpillar industrial machines featuring the word CAT. The CAT mark has been easily recognizable at any construction site throughout America for decades. Because of the brand’s popularity, Caterpillar expanded its use of the CAT mark to include apparel, headwear, bags, and other accessories. Caterpillar sells its clothing through its website and prominent retailers such as Amazon, JCPenney, and Sears. Its products have been featured on national television programs, newspaper and magazine articles, online publications, and fashion and lifestyle publications. However, CAT may have some competition.


Photo by Sindy Süßengut, licensed
by Unsplash

A trademark is “a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of the others.” In other words, the trademark indicates that the goods/services come from a specific source. A valid trademark is used on goods/services in commerce, and it is distinctive in that it identifies the source of the
goods/services.

On October 9, 2012, Puma obtained a federal registration for its mark, PROCAT, which covers clothing, footwear, and headgear. Registering PROCAT grants Puma the right to use the mark in all 50 states and provides public notice that Puma is the mark owner. Because registration proves ownership, if Puma wants to bring a trademark infringement case to federal court, it wouldn’t need further evidence to establish validity.

On October 6, 2017, Caterpillar, Inc. submitted to its petition to cancel Puma’s registration for the mark PROCAT for footwear and headbands. A cancellation petition can be filed at any time. It allows one party to challenge a trademark because a registered mark is likely to be confused with another party’s mark, the registrant could have obtained the mark fraudulently, the mark is generic, or the registrant is no longer using its mark.

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