deadmau5 Petitions USPTO Over His Cat’s Name

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Thursday, 5 January, 2017

We have to give credit to iHeartRadio for calling this trademark story “a game of cat and mau5.”

Electronic music producer and DJ deadmau5 (a/k/a Joel Zimmerman) has a cat named Prof. Meowingtons, PhD (“Meowingtons” for short). Prof. Meowingtons is reportedly the only animal with a verified Twitter account and it boasts nearly 31,000 followers. The cat’s name has been used as the name of a deadmau5 tour (the Meowingtons Hax Tour), on deadmau5 merchandise and album covers, and even on a line of headphones for cats (yes, you read that correctly).

Although the Meowingtons name has been in public use since 2010, Zimmerman didn't move to file a trademark for his cat's name until 2015. The USPTO rejected Zimmerman’s application since a Meowingtons trademark is already owned by a woman named Emma Bassiri who runs a website called meowingtons.com that sells cat-themed merchandise.

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Topics: trademark

Logos Resembling Highway Signs Continue to Spark Trademark Disputes

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 4 January, 2017

Self-described “Ottawa’s First Craft Distillery” — North of 7 Distillery — has received some official correspondence from Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) over its logo.

The MTO claims that North of 7’s logo is similar to a highway sign. In a statement, the MTO said, “The Ministry does not consent to the reproduction and use of the Provincial Route Marker Shield by the North of 7 Distillery.” And went further to say: “. . . a mark on liquor bottles consisting of, or so nearly resembling as to be likely to be mistaken for, the Provincial Route Marker Shield could lead to the belief that the products have received endorsement or are produced and sold under governmental patronage, approval and authority."

Distillery owners Greg Lipin and Jody Miall say they worked with a graphic designer to come up with the logo, using a sign from the 1940s as inspiration. Lipin told CBC News: “The fact that the Ministry of Transportation thought they would be somehow related to our distillery was absurd to me."

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Topics: trademark

Run-DMC Files $50 Million Trademark Suit Against Online Retailers

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 3 January, 2017

Darryl McDaniels (known as “DMC”), one of the founders of American hip hop group Run-DMC, has filed a trademark lawsuit against Amazon, Walmart, Jet, and a number of other retailers for selling merchandise bearing the group’s name and logo without permission. The lawsuit also names several companies that are selling the products through online marketplaces, as well as 20 John Does. McDaniels, who owns Run-DMC Brand LLC, called his brand “extremely valuable” and is seeking $50 million in damages.

The lawsuit claims that some of the infringing products are "Run-DMC styled products," like fedora hats and square-framed sunglasses, that don’t use the group’s logo but use its name in the description. Other products blatantly use the red and white block-lettered “Run-DMC” logo.

Run-DMC has a slew of licensing agreements, including a $1.6 million deal with Adidas for sneakers, plus total earnings of over $100 million from intellectual property rights since the 1980s.

Like the group's song says, “We're cool cool cats, it's like that. That's the way it is, so stay the hell back.”

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Topics: trademark

One Last Common Word Trademark Dispute Story for 2016

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 30 December, 2016

How many times have we written about trademark disputes over common words? Let’s do it one more time for the last post of 2016.

This time it’s about the word “succotash” and thanks to Techdirt for writing about the trademark dispute surrounding it.

For those of you who don’t know what succotash is, it’s a vegetable dish usually consisting of lima beans and corn. Sometimes it also includes peppers, or tomatoes, or perhaps even okra. The name derives from the Native American Narragansett language’s “sohquttahhash” which means “broken corn kernels.”

But many people have never eaten succotash — they know the word from Warner Bros.’ cartoon character Sylvester the Cat, whose catchphrase is “Sufferin’ succotash!”

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Topics: trademark

2016 “Notorious Markets” Report Calls Out Taobao.com for Counterfeiting

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 28 December, 2016

Last week, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) released the “2016 Out-of-Cycle Review of Notorious Markets” report which features physical and online markets around the globe that are engaged in and facilitate copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting. The report also includes examples of previously identified notorious markets that have taken successful steps toward fighting piracy and counterfeiting.

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Topics: counterfeits

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