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Whose Empire Is It?

Twentieth Century Fox Television has filed a lawsuit asking that it be allowed to continue to use “Empire” as the title of one of its television dramas. This all started when a record label, Empire Distribution, sent letters to Fox demanding that it pay them $8 million for the use of the term “Empire.” Empire Distribution, an actual record label, claims that the company portrayed in the television drama is “functioning as a record label in the real world.”

Defendant Apologizes to the Jury

Last month, a Wisconsin jury ruled that Blackhawk Network, a provider of prepaid gift cards, digital products and other telecom products, had infringed two claims of a patent held by InComm, a prepaid product and transaction services company. To Blackhawk’s credit, they took their medicine, and rather than blaming someone else, apologized to the jury for infringement of the InComm patent.

Amazon Takes a Unique Defense to Patent Infringement

When you last signed up for something online, and you were supposed to read all the Terms and Conditions and then click “Agree,” how many of you actually read the whole thing? How about maybe never? Well, Amazon must have relied on that.

No Blurred Lines in This Decision

In addition with having to decide what to do with Kanye West, the music industry has also been astir over the issue of if “Blurred Lines” infringes the copyright on Marvin Gayes’ 1977 “Got to Give It Up.” A U.S. District Court jury in Los Angeles decided that Robin Thicke and Pharrel Williams had committed trademark infringement and ordered them to pay the Gaye estate $7.3 million.

Guess Who Won This Lawsuit?

Gucci has been accusing Guess of trademark infringement for several years, and a Paris judge just settled the argument. The court ruled that Guess is NOT infringing a Gucci trademark, Guess is NOT counterfeiting Gucci products, and there is NO unfair competition between the two luxury brands.

Trademarks and Chocolate

Trademarks are always fascinating, and we love chocolate, so we had to share with you a trademark-chocolate story. When Hershey filed a lawsuit against LBB Imports, the importer of specialty products from Great Britain, Australia and South Africa, LBB decided to stop importing the brands that bear the “Cadbury” trademark, the trademark that Hershey has exclusive rights to in the U.S.

Trademarks and Noodles

When Michelin three-star-rated chef Joshua Skenes announced that he was opening a new restaurant called “Fat Noodle”, the news was greeted warmly by noodle aficionados. The news was not greeted warmly, but hotly and contentiously, by Chubby Noodle that filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Fat Noodle claiming that two restaurants names are “confusingly similar.” The lawsuit went on to claim that Fat Noodle is “dilut[ing]” and “tarnish[ing] the image of the…Chubby Noodle mark.”

Trademarks and Beer

Time was that you sat at the bar and ordered a beer. The proliferation of over 3,000 new local and specialty breweries over the past few years has created stiff competition to trademark the names of all the brews from all of these breweries.

Riders of the Purple Sage Ride Again

It started with a lawsuit filed by the 60’s rock group The Turtles against Sirius XM, the satellite radio broadcaster, over royalties. Federal copyright law only applies to broadcasted music as of 1972, so The Turtles want to be paid royalties when Sirius XM plays the group’s pre-1972 music. The Turtles won the first round, so more lawsuits have ensued.

Next Time, Ask Her to Take Back Her Maiden Name

ELVH, Inc., the holding company for the rock band Van Halen, had sued Kelly Van Halen, the ex-wife of the group’s drummer, Alex. Ms. Van Halen attempted to register trademarks for her name to use to promote and sell furniture, children’s blankets and bathing suits. ELVH claimed that “Kelly Van Halen” infringed and diluted the “Van Halen” trademark. We will never know what would have happened because the case was settled out of court, but www.kellyvanhalen.com is up.