What’s offensive is often in the eye of the beholder. Where federal trademark registration is sought, this has long meant that registration could be denied if the mark was considered disparaging. Now, in a landmark 8-0 decision in Matal v. Tam, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the so-called “disparagement clause” in federal trademark law, opening the door to the registration of marks that may have been rejected as offensive in the past.
Manufacturers that let their distributors use their unregistered trademarks may later find themselves in a fight over the marks’ ownership. This article highlights how one federal court of appeals recently addressed such ownership disputes and adopted a different test for determining ownership of common law trademarks where there is no agreement addressing the issue.
Italy-1421. An Italian inventor is about to make patent history. Architect and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi was granted a patent on the manufacturing of a barge with a hoisting gear—a device that streamlined the transportation of marble. The patent resulted in Brunelleschi acquiring a three-year monopoly on the manufacturing and sales of the new barge. While monopolies are only celebrated today when you secure Park Place and Boardwalk, Brunelleschi revolutionized national and global business as his idea would influence society for the next 600 years—patenting your hard work and creative ideas is a profitable business decision.
The health care industry is moving forward so quickly it is hard to keep up, but companies like CVRx make us stop for a moment and tip our caps. Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry (MDDI), an online and print resource for original medical equipment manufacturing, honors a company every year as the Medtech Company of the Year. While CVRx did not win the editor’s choice crown, the readers picked CVRx for the prestigious title.
Could a seemingly innocent practice be putting you at risk for accusations of trademark infringement? If you source components from other companies to manufacture your product, you should know about an unusual type of trademark infringement called reverse passing off.
Trademarks are highly valuable assets. Developing and protecting trademarks is not merely a “cost of doing business,” but rather an investment in customer goodwill, leading to greater customer satisfaction and higher sales. A trademark can be almost anything that distinguishes the goods or services of one party from those of another. Trademarks also assure consumers of consistent quality and thus help promote efficient competition.