Have you heard of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens? In recent years, NFTs and their associated intellectual property rights are increasingly embroiled in legal battles. One such example is Nike v. StockX, a NFT trademark case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. This case demonstrates that fashion brands like Nike are willing to battle in the courtroom for intellectual property rights in NFTs.
Everyone knows her. Some dislike her. Ultimately, she’s one of the wealthiest women in the world. She has her hands in everything from entertainment, to clothing, to gaming. She is even currently studying to be a lawyer. Kim Kardashian seems like she may have it all, but her latest business venture may not be what she was hoping for.
She recently announced the release of her own skincare line, “SKKN by Kim.” Pronounced “skin,” the name has recently been called into question. Kim has recently applied for several trademarks for the new line, which may or may not be granted.
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
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
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.
Donald Trump, a divisive figure in our current political climate, has faced a massive setback with his new social media network “Truth Social.” On August 2nd, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) denied Trump’s application to federally register (which grants federal protection of the trademark) the network’s name as a trademark. This is one of many setbacks that the former President has faced since leaving office. This relatively minor setback could potentially cause major re-branding issues for Truth Social further down the line if his appeal is unsuccessful. If Trump continues using the mark, he may be sued and will eventually have to change the name of his social media network or incur major legal fees.
“The Ohio State University.” If you’re an avid watcher of NFL football like myself, you’ve heard former Ohio State football players utter that phrase in their pre-recorded introductions on NBC’s broadcasts of the games. So many Ohio State alums, both football players and non-football players alike, love identifying their school in that fashion.
Courtesy of Dana Lewin via Unsplash
A good band name is an incredibly valuable commodity. Pearl Jam might not be one of the most enduring rock bands of all time had they kept their original plan of being named after a disgraced former NBA player, or one. An audience may not recognize individual band members, but when they perform under one famous name, fans flock to support the group.
Every kid in the world at some point in their lives has probably dreamt of inventing something or creating a brand–and making millions off their creative genius. I know I have. While I regret to inform you that I am neither a millionaire nor the next Steve Jobs (yet!), I’ve dabbled in many areas of intellectual property, which ultimately led me down the path to IP law. Continue reading