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A Case of Rum


A few months ago I discussed the potential legal implications of Anheuser Busch’s application to protect the 619 area code as a trademark for beer. Geographic trademarks appear to be increasingly attractive to marketers, as consumers tend to react positively to goods that purport to come from certain locations – think of Wisconsin for cheese. While it remains to see how the 619 trademark application will unfold, a recent case provides insight into using location as a marketing tool. Recently, rum giant Bacardi obtained a favorable ruling (link leads to the court opinion) in their legal dispute with Pernod (a…

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Is Missoni’s Zig Zag Design a Trademark?


This week, the Italian design house Missoni debuted a line at discount retailer Target, resulting in sell-outs, website crashes, eBay markups, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, and so on. Clearly, Missoni is a popular brand. Upon information and belief (that’s lawyer-speak for “somebody told me”), Missoni is known for incorporating zig-zag patterns into their designs. A quick Google Image search confirms this. Even the little image that appears next to http://www.missoni.com/ in my browser bar is a zig-zag:   So, the question is, can the zig-zag patterns be protected under U.S. intellectual property law?

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Are Cloud Music Services Legal?


Over a decade ago, a teenage Sean Parker took on the music establishment with his basement project Napster and the industry has never been the same since. While Napster was ultimately shut down, various online music download services have continued to sprout up. The latest trend involves “Cloud Music Services” such as Amazon’s Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and Google’s Music Beta, both of which launched within the last 6 months. Music “clouds” are services that store your music on the Web and allow you to stream those songs to any computer or mobile device, such as a computer or…

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In-N-Out Sues Grab-N-Go


v.       Famed California-based fast food chain, and sworn enemy of my cardiologist, In-N-Out Burger, has sued an East Coast-based competitor, Grab-N-Go Burger, for Trademark Infringement, Trade Dress Infringement, and Trademark Dilution. The Huffington Post has a brief article summarizing the claims. Their illustrations are good, but they confuse trademark and copyright. Editorial Note: Mainstream media articles confuse trademark, copyright, and patents all the time. Journalists, please learn the difference between these types of intellectual property, or contact an IP attorney when you’re writing a story on this type of topic – we are happy to talk about…

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