Cara Delevigne Followed Me: Protecting Value in Celebrity Names

Cara Delevigne Followed Me: Protecting Value in Celebrity Names

Trademark Dilution, Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition
Will the real Cara Delevingne please stand up? The other morning, I woke up to a notification that (British model, singer, and actress) Cara Delevingne had followed me on Instagram. After congratulating myself on how hip I was to recognize the name of a (currently) famous person, and contemplating Cara and I's eventual life together, I then realized from the actual Instagram handle that it was not THE Cara Delevingne now following my amazing Instagram life but someone (for whatever bizarre reason) merely posing as her. My disappointment got me thinking about the legal challenges faced by famous persons and celebrities in protecting their names from use by others in this social media age. If you are a celebrity (or quasi-celebrity) these days, what can you do to prevent others…
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I can’t afford Federal Trademark registration. What should I do?

I can’t afford Federal Trademark registration. What should I do?

Common Law Trademark, Trademark, Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition
Every so often, I have potential clients in a situation similar to a business owner couple that came to see with me last week; they have a logo or a word or a phrase which they use as a trademark and have actually used it in commerce but, for whatever reason, they cannot yet afford to hire a lawyer to file for Federal trademark registration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which can usually involve at least several hundred or more in attorney's fees and another few hundred just for the filing fees.   It made me think that there are other small businesses and business owners who might be in the same boat and looking for temporary alternatives until they can put together enough funds to register their trademark.…
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And I Said, What About Costco Infringing Tiffany’s?

Trademark, Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition
Last month, a federal district court judge ordered bulk-retail giant Costco to pay iconic luxury brand Tiffany more than $11 million in lost profits from Costco's trademark infringement, in addition to $8.25 million in punitive damages which were awarded by a jury back in October 2016. Tiffany sued Costco after discovering that the megaretailer's employees were responding to customer inquiries by calling certain solitaire diamond rings “Tiffany” rings. The Costco rings at the center of the dispute had a pronged setting that Costco argued were commonly known as a “Tiffany setting” however, some of the display cases at Costco stores just happened to drop the “setting” or “style” part and simply described the rings to customer as “Tiffany”. Besides being a juicy legal fight between two well-known public companies, the…
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3 Situations Where Your Business Needs a Non-Disclosure Agreement

3 Situations Where Your Business Needs a Non-Disclosure Agreement

Contracts, Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition
Doing business in today's world often necessitates sharing private and confidential information with other persons or companies. To make sure that the party receiving such information maintains confidentiality, a non-disclosure agreement, or "NDA", is often used. When would an NDA come up? In general, an NDA makes sense any time you want to share information of value to your business. A well-crafted NDA can help to make sure that the other party doesn’t use or exploit that information for their own gain (or that of a competitor) without first getting your approval. While they are by no means the only scenarios that come up, three of the most common situations I see in my practice where an NDA is highly recommended include: 1. Sale or licensing of technology. If you…
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Ill-Fated: Trademark Tips for Businesses Owners from the Fate Brewing Co. Dispute

Lanham Act, Restaurants, Trademark, Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition
With craft brew festival season getting into full swing across the country, I thought it'd be fun to revisit the legal trademark saga between a Valley craft brewery, formerly known as Fate Brewing Company, now known as "McFate Brewing Company" (which we'll just call "McFate" for clarity's sake) and the Fate Brewing Company based in Boulder, Colorado (which we'll call "Fate Colorado"). For those unfamiliar, it might be helpful to recap the timeline of events: Summer 2012 - Fate Colorado initially applies for a Federal trademark registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the mark "FATE BREWING COMPANY" August 2012 - McFate sends cease and desist letter to Fate Colorado. November 2012 - Fate Colorado's USPTO application is published for opposition. Winter 2012 - McFate opens its first brewpub…
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