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China overturns rejections of nine Trump trademarks in what was called 'mind-blowing' speed

The Japan Times

SHANGHAI – The Chinese government has granted preliminary approval for nine Donald Trump trademarks it had previously rejected, in whole or in part, the Associated Press found, a turn that is likely to fuel further allegations that Beijing may be giving the president's family business special treatment. Trump's decision to retain ownership of his global branding empire has sparked criticism over perceived conflicts of interest and three lawsuits, including one filed Wednesday by nearly 200 Democrats in Congress, which allege violations of a constitutional prohibition against accepting gifts from foreign governments. Trademarks lie at the heart of these complaints because they are granted by foreign states and can be enormously valuable -- whether they are intended as groundwork for future business activity or defensive measures against squatting to protect the value of the brand. Publicly available records do not indicate why the nine applications were initially rejected, nor why the trademarks were then granted provisional approval eight to 15 weeks later. "The speed with which these appeals were decided is mind-blowing," said Matthew Dresden, an intellectual property attorney at Harris Bricken in Seattle.


TrademarkVision uses machine learning to make finding logos as easy as a reverse image search

#artificialintelligence

A company's logo is an important part of its identity, but the processes behind defining, registering, and protecting these trademarks is a convoluted and rather archaic one. A startup called TrademarkVision aims to simplify it by replacing that laborious and arcane process with what amounts to a machine-learning-powered reverse image search. This isn't in some lab, either: the EU just switched their whole image trademark system over to it. Most people probably haven't had to do many trademark and logo searches. Well, why don't you take the USPTO's version for a spin so you know what it's like?


China's fake Yeezy store looks really slick, TBH

Mashable

Looks like China's beaten Kanye West to it. An unofficial Yeezy store has opened in the Chinese city of Wenzhou -- and it's filled with knockoffs. SEE ALSO: Kanye's sneakers appear in the most unexpected place: 'Splatoon 2' The store's clearly not afraid about trademark violations, and is proudly displaying the word Yeezy in bold on its storefront, according to multiple social media posts from passers-by. But the shoes don't come at knock-off prices. According to a report by China Network, the shoes sell for an average of $151 (999 yuan) -- which is quite a lot to shell out for a fake.


U.S. Supreme Court allows foul language trademarks in F-word case

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a long-standing U.S. ban on trademarks on "immoral" or "scandalous" words and symbols, ruling in a case involving a clothing brand with an indelicate name that the law violates constitutional free speech rights. The justices ruled against President Donald Trump's administration, which defended the law that had been in place since 1905, and in favor of Los Angeles streetwear designer Erik Brunetti, who was turned down by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when he sought to trademark his brand name FUCT. All nine justices agreed in the decision written by liberal Justice Elena Kagan that the prohibition on "immoral" trademarks ran afoul of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment right to free expression. However, three justices wrote dissents to say the bar on "scandalous" trademarks should have been upheld. The Supreme Court followed a course it took in 2017 when it struck down a similar law forbidding the registration of "disparaging" trademarks in a case involving an Asian-American dance rock band called The Slants, a name federal trademark officials had deemed offensive to Asians.


Run-D.M.C. files $50 million trademark infringement suit against Wal-Mart, Amazon

Los Angeles Times

Attorneys for the Run-D.M.C. brand have filed a $50 million lawsuit against Amazon Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Co., Jet.com and a few other outlets for trademark infringement and trademark dilution, among other things. First reported by TMZ Thursday, the legal filing was made in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The complaint, which includes numerous images of Run-D.M.C.-inspired products as they appeared on Amazon's and Wal-Mart's respective sites, alleges that the retailers are advertising, selling, manufacturing, promoting and distributing multiple Run-D.M.C. styled products. Eyewear, hats, T-shirts, wallets and patches are among the items referenced, some of which are said to use the Run-D.M.C. trademark. The complaint charges that the products being sold "confuse the public and suggest that Run-D.M.C. endorses the products."