Blogs, Commentary & News

The Supreme Court hears arguments on constitutionality of denying registrations for “disparaging” trademarks

01/20/2017

The United States Supreme Court heard arguments this Wednesday in a case involving a federal trademark application filed by the Oregon band “The Slants.” As discussed in an earlier post, The Slants’ application for a trademark registration for the name of their band was denied by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) because […]

Portland-based Tranxition’s “PC migration” patents found invalid for claiming an abstract idea

11/17/2016

On November 16, 2016, the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding of summary judgment by the U.S. District Court of Oregon that all claims of two patents owned by Tranxition Inc. are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Tranxition is a Portland-based company that develops software for migrating personal data and settings from one computer system […]

Supreme Court to consider Oregon band’s right to register “disparaging” name

10/01/2016

The Oregon band “The Slants” has been trying to obtain a federal trademark registration for their name since 2011. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has repeatedly denied that registration, finding the name disparaging to persons of Asian descent. By statute, the PTO refuses trademark registrations that: Consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, […]

Coppola objects to Copa Di Vino’s use of black wine labels with gold elements

09/09/2016

The owner of the Coppola wine trademarks, GMYL, L.P., has sued Oregon winemaker Copa Di Vino in the Central District of California. The Complaint alleges trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition based on Copa’s wine labels and packaging for some of its products, including its “Winemaker’s Cut” product. The Complaint asserts that the […]

Attorney fees denied: $1,000 for one download of The Cobbler is enough

08/24/2016

On August 10, 2016, Magistrate Judge Beckerman denied a prevailing plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees in a copyright infringement suit against an unnamed defendant for illegally downloading an Adam Sandler movie (The Cobbler) using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing protocol. Among the reasons given for denying plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees was the Court’s finding […]

Burn the bus if you must, but you may want to keep the mural

08/01/2016

Think twice before throwing out that old painting in your garage: you could face damages for violating Copyright Law. But what if that art isn’t just in your garage, but parked in your front yard, or painted on a wall of your building? That all depends. Under the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), an […]

Oregon beer growler patent duel to proceed on multiple fronts

07/22/2016

Drink Tanks Corporation sued GrowlerWerks, Inc. last November for patent infringement based on its sale of growlers, including the uKeg 64 product shown below. Earlier this year, the case was transferred from Delaware to Oregon district court. On June 2, 2016, GrowlerWerks took the fight to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) by filing a […]

In a sea of orange, Oregon State University finds blue

07/15/2016

Oregon State University is well known for its orange and black “Beaver Nation” brand.  Recently, however, it’s also been getting a lot of attention for its work with the color blue. OSU professors Mas Subramanian and Arthur Sleight, and graduate student Andrew Smith, discovered a brilliant blue pigment while studying metal oxide compounds. In October […]

Combining the names of your children to create new marks can avoid confusion in the wine industry

06/26/2016

Winemakers often name their wines after family members.  But what if the name of one of your children is already registered by another winemaker?  If you have more than one child, consider combining it with the other child’s name to create a new mark.  In addition to appeasing both children, it may reduce the likelihood that your mark […]

Vermont and Oregon craft beer dispute – The Shed v. Brew Shed

05/18/2016

Noble Brewing Company dba GoodLife Brewing Co., based on Bend, Oregon, produces a session ale it calls BREW SHED. Otter Creek Brewing Company in Vermont, which does business as The Shed Brewery, has objected to this use based on its federal registrations of SHED and THE SHED for beer. On May 18, 2016, Otter Creek […]