“Collaboration, Not Litigation” – Craft Beer Keeps Creating


In early 2004, Russian River Brewing and Avery Brewing discovered they had a problem.  Both breweries were selling a Belgian-style ale called Salvation, and both were concerned about how to resolve the conflict. Meeting in person, Vinnie Cilurzo and Adam Avery came up with a novel resolution: combine the two ales into a single product and call it “Collaboration, Not Litigation.” This creative approach avoided the costs and complications of a trademark infringement lawsuit, and the joint product has been a success...
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Happy Holidays: Funny Christmas Trademarks


In the spirit of the holidays, here is a list of a few funny Christmas-themed trademark registrations and applications currently before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.   CHRISTMAS BEERACLE — registered for “clothing, namely, t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, pants, jackets, pajamas, underwear; alcoholic beverages, namely, beer” DR. CHRISTMAS –registered for “Christmas decorating services for residential homes” LUDACRISMAS –registered for “charitable...
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Red Bull Settles Class Action in False Advertising Suit


Red Bull settled a class action over the use of the trademarked slogan “Red Bull Gives You Wings.”  Red Bull agreed to pay $13 million – meaning anyone who bought its drinks between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014 may be entitled to a small portion ($10 in cash or $15 in company products) of the settlement.  The proposed settlement must be approved by the Southern District of New York, which will hold a hearing in March 2015. Customers asserted that the phrase “Red Bull Gives You Wings”...
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To the Moon and Beyond: NASA Asks Whether CubeSats Have the Right Stuff


On November 24, the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) launched its first in-space competition.  The new competition, called the Cube Quest Challenge, offers up to five million dollars to those competitors who can demonstrate the usefulness of CubeSats as “viable deep space explorers.”  These CubeSats will face challenges such as functioning in lunar orbit, demonstrating burst data transmission, and maintaining continuous error-free signals from distances up to 2.5 million miles (10 times the...
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Lucasfilm Strikes Against Beer Name


Lucasfilm is currently in a trademark dispute with a beer company.  Lucasfilm is attempting to prohibit Empire Brewery Company from getting a trademark for “Strikes Bock” as the name of a signature beer that the brewery has sold for the last seven years.  Empire Brewery Company is seeking a trademark so that it can bottle and sell its beer in stores.  Empire Brewery named their beer as a “clever pun” referencing the 1980 Star Wars movie “Empire Strikes Back.” According to Monica...
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Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em: Cuba Seeks Supreme Court Intervention


For U.S. cigar smokers, Cohiba is a well-recognized brand, having been trademarked in the United States for over thirty years and applied to domestically-produced cigars.  For Cubans, and in 114 other countries, Cohiba is a mark linked to one of the island’s most famous products.  The Empresa Cubana del Tabaco (Cubatabaco) would like to add another country to that list, and here enters the Cuban Assets Control Regulations (CACR). Implemented in 1963, the CACR, 31 C.F.R. § 515, is the main mechanism for domestic...
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TTAB affirms an applicant can register the title of a single work if it has acquired distinctiveness.


In the recent case, In re King Productions, Inc., Serial No. 76703458, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reaffirmed that the title of a single work is not entitled to trademark protection without acquiring further distinctiveness.  In order for the title of a work to be afforded trademark protection, it must either be part of a series, or the applicant must prove the work has acquired distinctiveness among consumers.  Acquired distinctiveness can be shown by evidence of sales and advertising, but according to the TTAB,...
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