Tag Archives: Trademark

March 16

This Spuds Not For You – Anheuser Gets Sued By Putative Owner of Spuds MacKenzie Claiming Anheuser Abandoned Spuds MacKenzie

You read that right.  They created him, they used him, and now, they may have waited too long in between uses to be able to claim they have the rights to him.  This lawsuit (link to complaint), filed yesterday in the Southern District of New York by Spuds Ventures. The lawsuit alleges that the recent […]

February 24

The Public’s View of “Double Barreled” May Decide Trademark Dispute Between Bourbon Makers

A recent trademark decision shows how important consumer survey evidence has become in trademark litigation concerning generic and descriptive marks. In an ongoing trademark dispute over the use of the term “double barreled” between Sazerac and Prichard’s, a federal court found that neither side had submitted the information necessary for it to rule – evidence of what […]

You Need an Approved COLA Before You Have a Valid Trademark?

I’d say it goes without saying, but the recent expansion of wineries, breweries and distilleries and the coinciding increase in trademark disputes is evincing a contrary trend, so I guess I’ll say it, you need label approval (or recognized exemption) to have lawful sales that can count as your first use in commerce. And a […]

New Case Asks When Does a Label Cross the Line From Homage to Trademark Infringement?

Keeping someone else from trading on your name is one of the many functions of trademark law.  When you’ve spent time and effort developing a brand, finding someone looking to cash in on your hard work can be irksome.  But the line between homage and trying to make a buck off someone else’s rep can […]

Fire Water Trademark Dispute Heats Up Some Interesting Claims About the Age-Old Term

When Sazerac sued Hood River Distillers over a trademark dispute alleging there’d be confusion between Hood’s cinnamon whiskey “Sinfire” and Sazerac’s Firewater and Fireball liquors, it got a lot of press.  As with most legal battles, that initial press petered out and the case has been progressing without any more fanfare. Quite a few people […]

Design Elements Creating Distinctive Packaging Can Be Protected

In a win for beverage producers and their creative design teams, the Sixth Circuit ruled yesterday that the Maker’s Mark red dripping-wax seal is an extremely strong trademark that deserves protection. Freeborn & Peters’ own David Ter Molen (who runs the wonderful Food Identity Blog) was quoted in today’s edition of Inside Counsel regarding the […]

You Know How Important Your Brand Is… So Why Would You Risk Not Protecting It?

Your recipes, formulas, labeling, logos, slogans, design and packaging – everything that goes into your identity as a company is something you need to protect.  You know that missteps in advertising can kill your brand.  Certainly you’d never repeat the types of mistakes (these types) that were part of the infamous “Drink Schlitz or I’ll […]

A Must Read for Those Exporting to Missouri – 8th Circuit Rules Law Protecting Wholesalers Not Applicable Where Requirements Not Met

In an informative opinion for anyone shipping their product to Missouri for distribution by a wholesaler, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected a wholesaler’s attempt to avail itself of the Missouri franchise protection statutes for that second tier of the three-tier system based on the fact that the parties didn’t actually create a franchise agreement that would allow for the protections because the wholesaler didn’t get a trademark license with its distribution agreement.

Anyone wanting to avoid the protectionist statutes that would keep you from changing distributors in Missouri will want to be familiar with this opinion as a way to possibly avoid Section 407.413 of the Missouri Revised Statutes which has  provisions that would, like many states, protect the wholesaler unless the amorphous “good cause” can be shown.  Two important provisions of this section read as follows:

2. Notwithstanding the terms, provisions and conditions of any franchise, no supplier shall unilaterally terminate or refuse to continue or change substantially the condition of any franchise with the wholesaler unless the supplier has first established good cause for such termination, noncontinuance or change.

3. Any wholesaler may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against a supplier for violation of any of the provisions of this section and may recover damages sustained by such wholesaler together with the costs of the action and reasonable attorney’s fees.