Trademarks and Brands

Centuries-old British Shipping Icon Subject of Trademark Dispute

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Thursday, 14 June, 2018

Have you ever heard of the Plimsoll Line? If you aren't part of the world of shipping, you might be more familiar with the name "Plimsoll" used for a type of shoe (more on that later…)

The Plimsoll Line refers to the small circular image that appears on the hulls of ships around the world. The image — a painted circle bisected with a long horizontal line — is a marking that's designed to show whether a ship is overloaded. When the horizontal line is visible, the ship isn't at risk of sinking. If the line is not visible, well, there might be a problem.

The Plimsoll Line was devised by Samuel Plimsoll, an English politician and social reformer, who fought for merchant shipping regulation. Plimsoll's namesake load-marking image became mandatory on British ships when the United Kingdom Merchant Shipping Act of 1876 took effect. The Plimsoll Line later became standard worldwide.

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Topics: trademarks, trademark infringement

Jack Daniel's Sues Lonehand Whiskey Maker for Trademark and Trade Dress Infringement

by Diane Plaut on Friday, 11 May, 2018

The world of alcohol beverage is an extremely competitive industry and the value and importance of trademarks and trade dress are always being tested in the marketplace as manufacturers spend hundreds of millions of dollars on branding and product design and development. Advertising and marketing of alcohol beverage products is therefore focused on consumer recognition of brand names and product design and packaging, otherwise known as “trade dress.”

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Topics: trademark infringement

NY Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Sues Café for Trademark Infringement

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 24 April, 2018

New York City's Museum of Modern Art — widely known as MoMA — is suing a recently opened New York City café called "MoMaCha" for trademark infringement. The lawsuit follows a cease-and-desist letter sent to the café in late March before it opened. Check out the two logos:


In court documents, Reuters reports, the Museum of Modern Art claims "there is no possibility that they were not aware of MoMA or its famous MOMA mark prior to starting their business earlier this month.” The lawsuit goes on to claim MoMaCha is “blatantly attempting to take advantage of the MOMA Marks, which are unquestionably famous within the modern and contemporary art space, to promote their newly launched art gallery and café business…"

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Topics: trademark infringement

Sony Pictures Television Sues Over "Breaking Bud" Beer

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Friday, 20 April, 2018

Sony Pictures Television (SPT) has filed a lawsuit against California-based Knee Deep Brewing Company over the name of one of its IPAs — Breaking Bud. The lawsuit claims trademark infringement, false designation of origin, trademark dilution, and unfair competition, calling Knee Deep's beer an "obvious effort to trade on the fame and recognition of the BREAKING BAD Marks and associate itself with the tremendous success of SPT’s famous television show. …"

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Topics: trademark infringement

In-N-Out Burger v. Down N' Out Burger

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 17 April, 2018

Have you ever had an In-N-Out burger outside of the United States? Most likely not, since the California-based burger chain doesn't operate any restaurants beyond five Western US states.

But, if you've been around Sydney, Australia lately, you may have noticed a burger restaurant called "Down N’ Out" that In-N-Out Burgers claims is infringing on its trademark and misleading customers into believing it has given the chain its "endorsement, approval, license, authority or sponsorship," because of similarities in its name and logo, Fox News reports. The Down N' Out website features the phrase "American style burgers, done right."

Although In-N-Out claims it enjoys “substantial reputation and goodwill” in Australia, Hashtag argues that since In-N-Out doesn't operate in Australia it "therefore has no goodwill" in the country. Hashtag also points out that its own menu offers a wider variety of items, like chicken burgers and jalapeño poppers.

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Topics: trademark infringement


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