Yesterday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) cancelled six registrations related to the Washington Redskins professional football team. The TTAB found the marks violated Section 2(a) of the Federal Lanham Act, which bars registration of trademarks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute.
Fashion retailers beware — that lovely textile sample catching your eye could contain a copyrighted design. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York recently awarded summary judgment against Defendants Urban Outfitters, Inc. (Urban Outfitters) and GMA Accessories, Inc. dba Capelli New York (Capelli) for infringement of copyrighted textile designs by producing and selling scarves containing two copyrighted star and stripe designs. MPD Accessories B.V. v. Urban Outfitters, Case 1:12-cv-06501-LTS-KNF.
As part of a decade-long dispute in the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving US cotton subsidies, Brazil is again threatening significant trade retaliation against a wide variety of US goods and intellectual property rights. The proposed retaliation would substantially increase tariffs on US exports across various sectors and industries, and would suspend or restrict US intellectual property rights in Brazil. If enacted, the retaliatory measures could have a devastating impact on US businesses.
The journey of Easy Rider is set to become less smooth. On July 16, 2013, Peter Fonda, co-star, co-producer, and co-writer of the iconic film, filed suit against Dolce & Gabbana in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. He alleges that the company appropriated images of Mr. Fonda from the film, and used the Easy Rider logo without his permission. These images were printed on T-shirts advertised and sold by the company for $300.
On March 5, 2013, Bassil A. Hamideh (Hamideh), a model-turned-attorney, filed a lawsuit against Dolce & Gabbana S.r.L. (D&G) for the unauthorized reuse of his image appearing in photographs taken in 2002 for a D&G advertising campaign. Hamideh seeks actual, statutory, and punitive damages, injunctive relief, restitution, disgorgement of profits, a constructive trust, attorneys’ fees and costs, and litigation costs.
In a recent case in New York, J. Crew Group, Inc. sued one of its former designers, Dwight Fenton, for breaching its duty of confidentiality, unfair competition and misappropriation, alleging that, when he left the company to work for a direct competitor, he took with him trade secrets and other confidential business information for use at his new job.
A California federal jury determined two floral designs manufactured into garments imported by Ms. Bubbles Inc. and sold in Aeropostale stores, infringed copyrighted designs of a snowflake and a rose owned by Plaintiff LA Printex. The Defendants argued the textile designs lack valid registered copyrights, were never marketed and were created during the litigation, however, after two hours of deliberation, the federal jury found Aeropostale infringed the textile designs and there was willful infringement by Ms. Bubbles.
The California Attorney General recently filed two lawsuits in state court against Chinese and Indian apparel manufacturers, accusing the companies of obtaining an unfair competitive advantage over US firms through the use of pirated software. See People of the State of California v. Ningbo Beyond Home Textile Co., Ltd., No. BC499771 (Cal. Super. Ct. Jan. 24, 2013); People of the State of California v. Pratibha Syntex Ltd., No. BC499751 (Cal. Super. Ct. Jan. 24, 2013).
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