My Little Latte: Trademarks are Magic

Remember the unbridled success that was the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino?

Forbes Article

From Forbes – and not a unique take.

Between April 19 and April 23, 2017, Starbucks introduced its limited edition “Unicorn Frappuccino ® blended beverage.”  The drink caused a social media frenzy – good or bad, everyone had an opinion, and picture, of the drink.

The only problem, besides the taste, was that there was already a pending trademark on “Unicorn Latte,” (Ser. No. 87308906) filed January 20, 2017.  The mark, which has currently reached publication for opposition in the registration process, is for Section 1A Use in Commerce.  The End began selling the latte in December 2016, to the delight of social media conscious New Yorkers in the area.  Continue reading


Close but No Cigar – GRAN HABANO Refused as Geographically Misdescriptive

“I never smoke to excess – that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time,” Mark Twain once said about cigar smoking, a vice that many still share today. American cigar aficionados rejoiced when the Obama administration officially began to reestablish relations with Cuba in January of 2015, including provisions that allow $100 worth of alcohol or tobacco per traveler to be imported into the country. Cuban cigars are generally considered the gold standard in the USA, despite competition from around the world. Thus, it may come as little surprise that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) refused registration for GRAN HABANO for cigars when the manufacturer is from Miami, Florida. Continue reading

Night of the Living Defense: Pinterest Loses Trademark Battles in U.S. and U.K.

October, at least in these United States of America, is the spooookiest month of the year. People celebrate the macabre by wearing costumes, decorating their houses to look like graveyards, and generally getting into the spirit of Halloween. It’s usually good month for Corporate America as sales for candy, costumes, and decorations experience a much needed bump leading into the winter holiday season. For Pinterest, however, this October of 2015 has been a frightening one, and for all the wrong reasons.

Nightmare on Court Row

Pinterest has lost two separate court cases this month, one in the U.S. and one in the U.K. In both cases, Pinterest tried to prevent startups from using the word “pin” in connection with their online services. Continue reading

Nike: Just Drop It – Unexpected Issues Defending the Jumpman Mark

Sportswear giant Nike stumbled at the starting line in its Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) opposition proceeding against Palm Beach Crossfit (PB Crossfit) earlier this September, 2015. Nike owns several well-known marks, but this specific opposition concerned a mark near and dear to the hearts of all basketball fans, and Chicago in particular, the “Jumpman.” Nike has a problem with PB Crossfit’s handstand mark, shown below, claiming (1) it falsely suggests a connection with Michael Jordan and Nike, (2) shows a portrait of a living person without their consent (also Jordan); (3) likelihood of confusion with the Jumpman mark; and (4) dilution. PB Crossfit filed a motion to dismiss all of Nike’s claims in the TTAB, and in a rare precedential opinion, the TTAB granted PB Crossfit’s motion to dismiss as to the false connection with Jordan and the lack of Jordan’s consent for their mark. Nike’s likelihood of confusion and dilution claims, however, are still live. Continue reading

Left Shark 2: Don’t Go in the Water (or in this case, USPTO)

In a previous blog post, we covered the drama surrounding Katy Perry’s attempted copyright claims over the now infamous Super Bowl Left Shark against artist Fernando Sosa and his three dimensional “left shark” figurines. However, the tenacious pop star refuses to give up “unconditionally,” and filed several trademark applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) in February 2015, for two design marks representing Left Shark (App. Nos. 86/529,342 and 86/529,321), and the word marks LEFT SHARK (App. No. 86/526,826), BASKING SHARK (App. No. 86/527,055), DRUNK SHARK (App. No. 96/527,031), and, not to be forgotten, RIGHT SHARK (App. No. 86/526,829) for use in connection with a variety of goods (including figurines) as well as live music and dance performance services.

Unfortunately for Perry and her company, Killer Queen, LLC, the USPTO hasn’t been “hot n cold” so much as freezing. Continue reading