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Skullcandy v. Skelanimals

Skullcandy, Inc., a company that makes clothing, accessories, and jewelry, and specializes in headphones, has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court against Skelanimals, LLC for trademark infringement.  Both companies use a black and white skull in their branding. Skelanimals is a line of products based on “adorable little animals who have met an untimely end, mostly due to their own reckless and ill-advised behavior,” according to the company’s website. Their marks appear on clothing, plush toys, backpacks, and alarm clocks, along with other products. Skullcandy has used its trademark since 2003, while Skelanimals has been around since 2008. What were…

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Holiday Trademarks: Thanksgiving

I’d like to wish all of my readers in the U.S. a very happy Thanksgiving. My gift to you – I know we don’t give gifts on Thanksgiving, but I’m feeling generous – is a break from some of the topics I’ve been covering. Instead, please enjoy this list of trademarks related to, or inspired in some way by, the holiday. If you can think of any others, please feel free to jump in.

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In October 2011, the State of California filed its first lawsuit against 3 companies for “greenwashing” their plastic bottles. Enso Plastics LLC, who makes the bottles, and AquaMantra Inc and Balance Water Co., who use the bottles to sell their drinks, all claimed the bottles were biodegradable without any evidence to back up their claim. The companies claim they have added a microbial additive that make the bottles biodegradable and recycle and will break down in less than five years in a landfill. However, California law prohibits labeling food and drink plastic containers as biodegradable on the grounds that plastic…

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Trademark Bullying

Trademark owners have a right and an obligation to actively protect their trademarks from misuse. Failure to do so may result in consequences such as consumers being confused as to the source of the goods or services, harm to the trademark owner’s reputation, lost sales, and, eventually, loss of the trademark rights altogether. There is a fine line, however, between actively protecting one’s trademark and bullying other businesses into dropping their trademark because the two marks are vaguely similar. What is trademark bullying, and what can be done about it?

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