Better read fast because as Ricky Bobby once said, ‘If you ain’t first, you’re last.’
If you breathed the same air as me this summer, you probably know I became a huge NASCAR fan. After hearing the first car roar on Michigan Avenue (even before walking into the Chicago Street Race), NASCAR earned my allegiance. So lucky you, you get to read about it too, haha! However, this time, with a recently acquired trademark lens. Continue reading “Tracks to Trademarks”
Harry Styles might be the world’s biggest pop star. Styles began his musical career in 2010 as a member of the band One Direction, and he is now one of the most popular solo artists in the world. At February’s GRAMMY Awards, Styles’s “Harry’s House” won Album Of The Year, arguably the most significant award at the show. Styles is known not only for his … Continue reading Harry’s Style: Trademark Infringement Against Counterfeit Sellers
Even before starting law school at Loyola, I knew that I wanted to practice intellectual property (IP) law. IP law involves both transactional law and litigation. While transactional law focuses on the creation and review of documents and contracts, litigation focuses on resolving disputes, often in a courtroom setting. While I have always been interested in IP transactional law, I also saw the value of understanding litigation. Understanding litigation can be key to a lawyer’s transactional practice. A transactional lawyer can learn how to better draft documents and contracts so that a dispute (hopefully!) never arises and litigation is not needed. Continue reading “A Record Store Versus a Boy Band: My Experience on Loyola’s IP Moot Court Team”
Two of the biggest brands in the fitness industry went head-to-head recently in a lawsuit for trademark infringement, which means one company is using some form of a trademark that another company believes is too similar to their own. Peloton has sued Lululemon over trade dress, which is a type of trademark that encompasses product design or product packaging. Continue reading “A Trademark War in the Athletic Arena”
Ten Studio Albums. Five Tours. Two Re-Recordings. One Massive Fanbase. We know all too well that Taylor Swift is the pinnacle of success for the music industry. Spanning multiple genres from country to pop and even some folk(lore), Taylor Swift has accomplished a lot in her first 32 years of life. But what’s gotten her to this level of recognition?
Some say it’s her songs. Some say it’s her stage presence. Others say it’s her re-recordings. Taylor Swift says it could be her songs, “with a catchy hook and an intensely cathartic bridge section.” Call it what you want, I say her level of recognition comes from her fearless team of lawyers registering her trademarks.
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.
In March 2022, the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, announced the end of his short-lived “retirement” and would be pursuing new business endeavors. Almost immediately, I saw ads on my Instagram feed for his new athletic clothing line called “BRADY”. What intrigued me the most was not the price of over $100 for a sweatshirt, but the superscript “TM” in the brand’s logo. As a student interested in intellectual property, this made me curious – what else has Brady trademarked?
Companies have all kinds of intellectual property (IP), including trademarks, but just how important is that IP to a company? As a business attorney for nearly 40 years, Professor Patricia Lee of Loyola can tell you that trademarks and other forms of IP are hugely important and becoming more important every day.
As the director of the Loyola Business Law Clinic, Prof. Lee and her students find that trademark and other IP issues are a natural part of assisting and counseling the clinic’s clients. “Trademarks are very important to business startups and non-profit organizations,” said Prof. Lee.
So, where is Prof. Lee from and how did she get into business?
While big companies may have dozens of trademarks, smaller and lesser-known companies can also have valid trademarks, as long as they satisfy the trademark criteria.
Can a large company infringe a smaller company’s mark? Yes! This is sometimes referred to as “reverse confusion,” where the small company is the first user and the large company is the later user. But, there can still be confusion among consumers. The larger company may use its money and resources (like ads) to infiltrate the smaller company’s market with a similar mark on similar goods or services.