Munich Applies to EUIPO for Oktoberfest Trademark

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 16 August, 2016

It’s the second time around for the City of Munich Germany’s trademark application for the term “Oktoberfest.”

The first time Bavaria’s capital city attempted to register an Oktoberfest trademark was with the German Patent and Trademark Office. That application was refused.

Now it’s trying with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the application includes several categories of goods and services, including soap, perfume, sunglasses, photographs, and clothing.

Held since 1810, Oktoberfest, the festival was originally held in honor of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen during the month of October. Over the years, the length of the festival has been extended and the start date moved up into the month of September. The event’s website readily admits “it’s all about the beer.”

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Topics: trademark

Just Desserts: The Short and Sweet of Trade Dress Litigation

by Jonathan A. Malki, Guest Blogger on Thursday, 11 August, 2016

Cookies, candies, and other goodies are not just childhood pleasures; they’re big business as well. Food producers pour substantial resources into creating and promoting distinctive brands that inspire unique associations in consumers’ minds. In jostling for consumers’ attention and loyalty, food companies don’t rely solely on word marks and logos, but on beguiling packaging, and, in certain cases, on the distinctive shape of the morsels themselves. In so doing, food producers continue to expand the borders of trade dress jurisprudence.

Food producers have had mixed success in seeking to carve out trade dress rights in their product packaging. Both Coca-Cola and Maker’s Mark have secured protection for and effectively enforced trade dress rights in their respective bottles’ designs. On the other hand, in 2014, Kind LLC unsuccessfully sought to enjoin its rival Clif Bar & Company from using allegedly infringing “slender, semi-clear” wrappers on its competing Clif Bars. In thwarting Kind’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the Court held that “despite the tendency for trade dresses to be inherently distinctive because the whole universe of materials and designs in available for packaging, [Kind’s] very common packaging design”—consisting chiefly of transparent panels and a description of the bar within—lacked distinctiveness, whether inherent or acquired, and was not entitled to protection.

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Topics: trademark

US Department of Homeland Security Files Opposition to “Coast Guard” Beer

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 10 August, 2016

Remember all that griping that there aren’t any names left for new beer brands? Well, the choice of the name “Coast Guard City Pale Ale,” chosen by a Michigan brewery in the United States, has made the government department that oversees the US Coast Guard not very happy.

Here’s how it all began. Grand Haven, Michigan is the only American city officially designated “Coast Guard City, USA” by the US Congress. Prior to World War II, the town was home base for a US Coast Guard cutter, the Escanaba, which ended up being sunk by a German U-boat during the war. On display in Grand Haven is a memorial to the 101 sailors who lost their lives in the sinking of the ship. The town also hosts an annual Coast Guard Festival, for which Grand Armory Brewing Co. brewed up its craft beer called Coast Guard City Pale Ale.

MiBiz reported that Coast Guard City Pale Ale’s label features a ship that resembles a US Coast Guard ship, along with some waves, some barley, and a sunset. Here’s a picture we found on Grand Armory’s Twitter feed:

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Topics: trademark

German Court Upholds Banks’ Trademark Red Color

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Monday, 8 August, 2016

Similar to a certain shoemaker and his colorfully soled shoes, the German savings banks known as Sparkassen use the color red in their signage, logo, marketing material, etc. The banks’ first attempt to register its red trademark in 2002 failed — the application was rejected. On appeal, the company limited the application to specific financial services in Class 36 and also submitted evidence gathered from survey results showing public awareness at 67.9% for the color’s distinctiveness. As a result, the mark was successfully registered in 2007.

Then, in 2008 and 2009, a few other banks, including Spanish bank Santander, filed for cancellation of the Sparkassen trademark, claiming it lacked distinctiveness. It’s important to note here that Santander has been expanding its presence in Germany and uses a similar red color in its logo. Just last year, Santander came out on top of the dispute when Germany’s patent court ordered the cancellation of Sparkassen’s trademark on Red HKS 13, faulting the savings bank for not following the German PTO’s recommended standard wording for surveys and not meeting the required 70% recognition of distinctiveness.

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Topics: trademark

New gTLD Update: .MOI, .BLOG, .SHOP, and More

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 5 August, 2016

This week’s update includes news about .MOI, .BLOG, .DOCTOR, the early release of .SHOP, and more.

.MOI – Eligibility Criteria for Limited Registration Periods Registry operator Amazon Registry Services, Inc. confirmed the registration Eligibility Criteria for domain applications in the Limited Registration Periods for its new gTLD .MOI as follows:

Limited Registration 1

Limited Registration 2

Limited Registration 3

General Availability

01-Aug-2016 to 23-Aug-2016

01-Sep-2016 to 30-Sep-2016

12-Oct-2016 to 18-Nov-2016


During Limited Registration Period 1, eligibility is restricted to persons residing in or entities located in countries in Africa for which French is a primary language, or regularly in use, as listed at

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Topics: nGTLDs


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