For many business owners and entrepreneurs in New Jersey, intellectual property is among the business's most valuable assets. Trademark law requires the owner of the mark to take steps to protect it, even after it's been legally registered. If the trademark is not protected, the business is at risk of losing it. To effectively protect a brand that the business has spent time and effort establishing, the business needs a comprehensive strategy, the development of which may begin long before the mark is even in use.
A federal court has ruled that a brewery can trademark the word Schlafly despite the protestations of the family whose name it is. New Jersey readers might be familiar with the late Phyllis Schlafly, who was a conservative activist. Some members of her family have opposed the trademarking of their name by a company called Saint Louis Brewery LLC. One of the company's co-founders is Thomas Schlafly, a nephew of Phyllis.
Many consumers in New Jersey recognize Chuck Taylor shoe designs for Converse. Over the past several years, the shoe company has battled with competitors over alleged infringement of its trademark design for the Chucks. A new decision from a federal appeals court has reversed a previous court ruling and directed the U.S. International Trade Commission to reconsider the trademark claims based on evidence from only the previous five years instead of the information spanning decades used in the original case.
Those who come with up with new or unique ideas in New Jersey or elsewhere may be able to trademark them. However, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is warning those with active trademark applications about a scam designed to alter them without permission. If a trademark application or registration has been changed, the USPTO will send an email to whoever submitted it. It is important to take such an email seriously.
Two giants in the flexible office space market in New Jersey and across the country are engaged in a trademark infringement battle over the term "HQ." The dispute was launched after WeWork created a new business line, HQ by WeWork. In response, Regus alleged that the name violates a trademark of HQ Network Systems that has been in place for 28 years. The HQ trademark was acquired with the company by Regus in 2004.
Financial motives typically motivate companies in New Jersey to defend their intellectual property. The trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and Social Technologies LLC illustrates the high stakes that prompt companies to establish their trademarks and patents. The companies are contesting ownership of the trademark for Memoji, but a strange paper trail from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confuses the matter.
When people in New Jersey think about an early-morning coffee or sweet treat, the Dunkin' Donuts name may be one of the first things that come to mind. The brand is well-known nationally and internationally for its doughnuts, donut-hole treats and coffee beverages. It has also garnered attention for its announced plans to rebrand itself in January 2019, dropping the term "Donuts" and becoming simply "Dunkin'". Some have argued that it is an attempt to make the brand seem more health-conscious, while the company noted that it is because it is focusing more heavily on coffee, a major driver of daily visits to the chain stores.
New Jersey sports fans might be interested in learning about a trademark battle between Ohio State and Oklahoma State University as well as the University of Oklahoma. The schools have been arguing over their respective trademarks.
Many people in New Jersey have seen the famous "Honey Badger" video on YouTube. Since the "Honey Badger Don't Care" catchphrase in the video has been widely referenced in a variety of media, it could come as a surprise that the phrase may have federal trademark protection. A federal appeals court overturned a judgment by a lower court in August 2018, reinstating a lawsuit filed by the video's creator against a greeting card publisher.
New Jersey residents may have heard about businesses that aggressively protect their trademarks. In addition to companies, many universities are now likewise aggressively prosecuting their trademarks against potential infringement.