New Jersey residents may be aware that many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are struggling to compete with online sellers like Amazon. The big-box chain J.C. Penny was once one of the country's most successful retail chains, but it now faces falling sales and an uncertain future. An earnings report released on Aug. 15 reveals that the chain lost $48 million during the second quarter, and the company's fortunes took another hit recently when the popular exercise and weight loss program Zumba sued it for trademark infringement.
New Jersey fans may love Prince's music as well as the late entertainer's signature style. However, his estate is still fighting with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over an attempt to register a specific shade of purple as a trademark for musical recordings, music videos and entertainment services. Prince's estate is attempting to register Pantone's "Love Symbol #2", a particular shade of purple closely connected to Prince's public persona and musical works. The estate is working with Paisley Park Enterprises, the holding company for Prince's intellectual property rights, in an attempt to register the color as a trademark.
Many New Jersey consumers and businesses rely on PayPal or Venmo for money transfers or online purchases. A fewer number may have heard of Lenmo, an online startup that focuses on peer-to-peer loans. However, PayPal is suing Lenmo for trademark infringement, claiming that the company is seeking to unlawfully profit from the goodwill and fame of its Venmo brand trademark. Venmo is a PayPal subsidiary brand marketed primarily to younger people. While its lack of fees attracted many to the mobile app, where it is used to transfer money between friends or make online purchases, it is growing more popular overall as a way to pay for music, food and ride share services.
For many New Jersey businesses, protecting their intellectual property can be an important part of keeping their brands active and growing. There are a number of different venues where companies can take legal action against infringement of their trademarks, patents and copyrights. However, one question that may arise is whether a decision in one venue may prevent the issues from being raised again in a different court. According to one federal appeals court's decision, U.S. International Trade Commission rulings on trademark infringement do not necessarily preclude litigating the issue again in federal district court.
The Supreme Court made a ruling that will have an impact on intellectual property, specifically trademarks, in New Jersey and across the country. On June 24, the justices struck down a rule that had been in place for a long time banning scandalous or immoral symbols and words from trademark protections. The immediate case involved a clothing brand whose trademark application had been rejected.
New Jersey residents may be surprised to learn that the once notorious Crips street gang is taking steps to rebrand itself and escape its violent past. The Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle was a member of the Crips until he was gunned down outside a clothing store he owned in March. Hussle denounced gun violence in his music and worked tirelessly to provide opportunities to marginalized young men. In a step widely seen as an effort to associate themselves more closely with their esteemed former member, the Crips LLC filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 16 to trademark the late rapper's "The Marathon Continues" slogan.
Trademark licensees in New Jersey often depend on an agreement with the trademark holder that allows the licensee to operate significant amounts of a business. The sale and marketing of licensed products can be a major income stream for trademark holders as well as for the licensees who purchased the right to sell those items. However, when a trademark owner files for bankruptcy, it may attempt to reject the trademark license in order to obtain additional funds as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.
The former lead singer of an R&B group that has some New Jersey fans is suing two other band members for trademark infringement over use of the band name. The defendants have used the band name in promotions for their recent tour.
Individuals and companies in New Jersey are entitled to trademark their intellectual property. This gives them the exclusive right to use a logo, slogan or other mark. If other parties want to use something that has already been trademarked, they must get a license from the owner of that trademark. Those who believe that another party has engaged in trademark infringement may take legal action to put a halt to such activity.
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.