Swear words may be a fact of life for many New Jersey residents, but the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether they can also be a part of a protected trademark. The justices are hearing a case brought by a clothing designer based in Los Angeles who launched a streetwear brand called "FUCT", sounding similar yet spelled differently from a common curse word. His application for a trademark was denied under a provision that allows requests for "immoral" or "scandalous" marks to be turned down.
Trademarks and patents are valuable assets for many New Jersey businesses and creators The award of damages in a case involving the infringement of magnetic fasteners developed by Romag has revolved around the question of whether Fossil, the infringing party, acted willfully. Interpretations of trademark law among various federal appellate courts have produced differing requirements concerning willful action. Romag's petition before the Supreme Court of the United States could lead to clarification on this issue.
The importance of protecting trademarks was emphasized recently when a lawsuit was filed in federal court regarding ownership of the Craftsman tool line. Sears previously sold Craftsman tools and owned the rights to its iconic name. However, that all changed when Sears began to struggle financially prior to its bankruptcy filing. According to a recent news report, Stanley Black & Decker acquired the Craftsman brand in March 2017, for which it paid Sears approximately $900 million.
Businessmen of New Jersey may be aware that the business landscape is a vibrant ecosystem with millions of new businesses budding every year. However, what they may not be aware of is that more businesses showing up means that there is a commensurate rise in trademarks: In comparison to the year preceding it, the year of 2017 saw a rise of 30 percent in the number of trademark applications filed, or about 9.11 million applications in total for that year. This ever-growing number of trademarks means that lawyers and brand strategists need to work harder than ever to protect their brand.
Some New Jersey entrepreneurs and business owner might want to consider filing an international trademark. This may not only be necessary if the company is operating outside of the United States. Protection may be needed for any company with some degree of online exposure.
Choose Your Own Adventure books from Chooseco enjoy a wide audience in New Jersey and around the world. The publisher of the popular book series that printed over 620,000 books last year alone and licensed translation rights in 27 countries has filed a lawsuit against Netflix and wants $25 million in damages. The book publisher claims that the streaming video service's show "Black Mirror: Bandersnatch" infringes upon Chooseco's trademarked phrase "choose your own adventure".
People in New Jersey might be interested in learning about an upcoming trademark case that will appear on the docket of the Supreme Court of the United States. The case involves the owner of a clothing line who is fighting to register the name of his line with its name, which is FUCT.
New Jersey fans of Disney's "The Lion King" franchise may be surprised to learn that the entertainment company trademarked a traditional African phrase as part of its promotion for the associated films. Disney is beginning to promote a live-action remake underway of the classic animated film. "Hakuna matata," a Swahili phrase that can be translated as "no problems," is a significant theme of the family film. However, a Zimbabwean activist is protesting the American company's trademark on the phrase, which is widely used throughout eastern and southern Africa.
Business owners in New Jersey aren't the only ones who can trademark certain attributes unique to their brand. Some actors can do the same thing with characteristics specific to their image. This is exactly what Alfonso Ribeiro is attempting to do with a popular dance he performed while on the hit 1990s TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." The actor is suing a video game maker for replicating his famous, over-exaggerated moves. A different manufacturer has also been sued by the actor for doing the same thing.
New Jersey music fans may be interested to learn that Jay-Z has agreed to proceed with arbitration in his legal fight with Iconix Brand Group. The brand management company filed a lawsuit against the iconic rap artist and entrepreneur for trademark infringement after the "Roc Nation" logo was used on Major League Baseball apparel.