Trademarks and Brands

Trademark Dispute Brewing Between Barbershop Talk Shows

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 3 April, 2018

U.S. basketball star LeBron James' media channel, Uninterrupted, has sent a letter to the University of Alabama about what it claims is possible intellectual property infringement concerning a new web series called 'Shop Talk' that was featured in a trailer recently on the Alabama Football Twitter feed. It shows alumnus Julio Jones, Alabama football coach Nick Saban, and other Alabama football players talking in a barbershop called "Bama Cuts" that's located within the football team's athletic facility.

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

Icelandic Football Chant Subject of Trademark Dispute

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 30 March, 2018

When Icelandic football fans dressed as Vikings started chanting "Hú" at the European Championship finals in 2016, "hú" knew the chant would end up the subject of a trademark dispute?

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

Custom-designed Fonts as Intellectual Property

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Thursday, 29 March, 2018

It's becoming more commonplace to see custom-designed typefaces in use by large companies these days. The latest is Netflix Sans, developed by the Netflix in-house design team, in partnership with foundry Dalton Maag for use in branding and marketing. Netflix joins Apple (with its San Francisco font), Samsung (SamsungOne font), and BBC (Reith font), who have introduced their own custom fonts.

Why go custom? Using a font involves payment of a licensing fee, which can add up over time. Dalton Maag operations director Richard Bailey told Digital Arts in a recent interview: "Sometimes it’s a matter of not being able to find the right expression or functionality from 'off-the-shelf' fonts, language coverage problems or legibility — or simply wanting a font that can be an 'ownable' part of their brand."

Companies can avoid or reduce licensing fees by developing their own font in-house or by paying a fee to a design firm. As Netflix brand design lead Noah Nathan told It's Nice That: “With the global nature of Netflix’s business, font licensing can get quite expensive. ... Developing this typeface [also] created an ownable and unique element for the brand’s aesthetic.”

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Topics: brands, intellectual property

Dairy Queen and W. B. Mason Spar Over Use of "Blizzard"

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 28 March, 2018

If you're a soft-serve ice cream aficionado, you probably know what a Blizzard is. US-based Dairy Queen starting using the name Blizzard in 1946 — and now serves the sweet treats upside down (we'll get to that later). Then there's W. B. Mason, an American office products company, that has been using the name Blizzard on printer paper and bottled water sold in its stores.

Dairy Queen recently sued W. B. Mason claiming that use of its Blizzard trademark constitutes "unfair competition and false designation of origin." Just days later, W. B. Mason filed suit asking a US federal court to declare that its use of Blizzard is not infringing on Dairy Queen's Blizzard trademark. The Boston Herald reports that attorneys for W. B. Mason wrote: "Indeed, no reasonable person would ever mistakenly believe that copy paper or spring water sold by W.B. Mason and emblazoned with the W.B. MASON mark and logo emanates from, or is associated with (Dairy Queen).” W. B. Mason goes on to claim that the two companies operate in "fundamentally different business lines."

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

EU Court Rules Against Crocs Design Protection

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 23 March, 2018

The EU General Court has dismissed US-based shoe company Crocs' appeal against the EUIPO to cancel legal protection of its shoe design. The court ruling upheld a 2016 EUIPO decision that had declared the Crocs’ design registration invalid because it lacked novelty.

In 2013, French company Gifi Diffusion filed an application with the EUIPO contesting Crocs’ EU design registration, basing it on the EU rule that a design cannot be made public more than one year before filing. Gifi claimed that Crocs first showed its design in 2002 — two years before filing its design mark in the United States.

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Topics: trademark


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