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Smart Search Concepts Files Patent-Infringement Lawsuits Against Fashion Retailers

On June 7–8, 2013, patent-licensing entity Smart Search Concepts LLC filed nine similar patent-infringement lawsuits targeting fashion retailers Gap, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, among other defendants. According to the complaints, the fashion retailers infringe some or all of three patents directed to “on-the-fly” website searches. The accused websites allegedly infringe when their search tools combine keywords with menus to help users narrow product selections.

Court Denies Urban Outfitters’ Motion to Dismiss Navajo Nation’s Trademark Suit

On February 28, 2012, The Navajo Nation (Navajo Nation) sued Urban Outfitters, Inc. and its subsidiaries (Urban Outfitters) in the US District Court for the District of New Mexico for trademark infringement, dilution, unfair competition, false advertising, unfair practices and state trademark infringement, and violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA). Urban Outfitters filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, and on March 26, 2013, the court granted and denied the motion in part.

Fashion Counsel Episode 6: Bridging the Euro/US Privacy Divide

Arent Fox today released Episode 6 of Fashion Counsel with Anthony V. Lupo. This edition features Sarah Bruno, partner in Arent Fox’s Intellectual Property practice who focuses on privacy and data security. In Episode 6, host and Arent Fox partner Tony Lupo interviews Ms. Bruno on safe harbor and model clause solutions that protect companies passing personal data across servers in the United States and Europe.

Kardashian Khroma Beauty Line Continues Trademark Battle

On March 11, 2013, the US District Court for the Central District of California granted Lee Tillett, Inc.’s (Tillett) motion for preliminary injunction preventing Boldface Group, Inc. (Boldface), which sells the makeup line Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe Kardashian, from using the mark KHROMA. Boldface has appealed the order to the Ninth Circuit.

March 16, 2013: Derivation Under New First-to-File Patent System

What Is Derivation? Derivation occurs when one obtains an invention from another. As the US moves from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file system under the American Invents Act (AIA) on March 16, 2013, derivation is an issue in two contexts: (1) as an exception to novelty defeating acts; and (2) in derivation proceedings that replace interferences.

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Affirms Rejection of Lululemon’s Oversized Logo As Ornamental

The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) affirmed a decision rejecting Lululemon Athletica Canada Inc.’s (Lululemon) trademark application for a large version of its logo as used on the front of hooded sweatshirts, jackets and coats. While the TTAB recognized that the appearance of oversized logos on clothing and fashion items was becoming more frequent and could be protectable, it held that Lululemon failed to provide sufficient evidence to meet the standards for registrability.

Federal Jury Verdict Finds Aeropostale Infringed Copyrights on Floral Textile Designs

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.

Alleged Software Piracy by Overseas Fashion Firms Gives Rise to Unfair Competition Claims in California

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).

The Client Strikes Back: Defamation Cases in California and Virginia Illustrate Dangers of Suing Over Critical Internet Reviews

Two recent defamation cases highlight the risks involved in suing former customers or clients for defamation based on the posting of negative online reviews on Internet review websites such as AngiesList.com and Yelp.com. Not only does a defamation claim run the risk of igniting free speech concerns in the context, but filing a weak claim could expose a company to liability in states that have strong anti-SLAPP statutes.