Brand Protection in the News: 5 Interesting Trademark Law Updates

For your interest, here are five noteworthy trademark law updates touching upon always-important issues of Brand Protection:

1. .XXX marks the spot: you’ve got less than two months to stop your brand from becoming the star of an adult entertainment site.

“ICM Registry, the company tapped by ICANN to manage the .XXX domain registry, will start its 30-day “Sunrise Period” for reserving trademarks in the .XXX domain on September 7. This means businesses that want to block adult entertainment providers from using their trademarks need to act quickly.” (From Your Brand in the .XXX Age: How to Block Use of Trademarks by Adult Sites, our Small Business Support roundup)

2. Cartoon characters may be protectable after all: Ninth Circuit changes its mind, erases its decision in the trademark and copyright infringement of Betty Boop case.

“This new opinion supersedes the original February 23, 2011 opinion that had been widely critiqued for its holding that the image of Betty Boop, as used by the defendants on t-shirts and handbags, was “aesthetically functional” and therefore not protectable as a trademark.” (From Boop-Oop-A-Doop: Ninth Circuit Withdraws Holding That Characters Do Not Function as Trademarks by International Lawyers Network)

3. It’s different in Texas: if you file trademarks in the Lone Star State, get ready for a new set of rules.

“The stated impetus behind the new law was to make Texas law more consistent with federal trademark law. … Once effective, the new law will substantively and procedurally change many aspects of current Texas law.” (From Pros and Cons of The [New] Texas Trademark Act by Thomas Casagrande)

4. It’s different in China, too: but if you want to tap that market, you need to know how to play the game.

“Virtually every company that enters the Chinese market will at some point need to register and/or protect its own trademarks, especially the core trademarks and/or house/master brand logo.” (From Trademark Protection Strategies In China by McDermott Will & Emery)

5. A shoe by any other name can still be red: “Louboutin’s red-soles seem as iconic as Tiffany’s blue boxes and the Gucci stripe. But after reading the decision, Judge Marreo demonstrates that Louboutin may have shot themselves in their own elegantly-shod foot.” (From Louboutin in Danger of Losing the Red-Soled Trademark by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.)

“The Court observed that: ‘The law should not countenance restraints that would interfere with creativity and stifle competition by one designer, while granting another a monopoly invested with the right to exclude use of an ornamental or functional medium necessary for freest and most productive artistic expression by all engaged in the same enterprise.’” (From Court Denies Louboutin Preliminary Injunction: Holds Fashion Blind to Single Color Marks by Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP)

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See also these related intellectual property law roundups:

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