The one and only TTABlogger, to whom we are very much indebted, recently reviewed and analyzed the decisions concerning Section 2(d) and Section 2(e)(1) refusals that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued in 2023.  Based on these numbers, the Board seems to be increasingly receptive to challenges of likelihood of confusion refusals under

As attorneys, we’ve all taken Legal Research and Writing. This is where we first encountered Westlaw and Lexis, using these sites to delve into case law for various assignments while chasing Westlaw and Lexis points in the hopes of getting a free TV or iPod (back when that was a thing). Professors always emphasized the critical process of tracing the history of a case and determining if the case is still considered “good law.”

With the rise of generative AI over the past year, it’s unsurprising that lawyers are turning to this advanced technology for legal research. However, there’s a growing concern: the blind acceptance of AI-generated content. This issue was highlighted in U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Robert’s 2023 year-end report on the federal judiciary. A notable incident involved the Second Circuit reprimanding a New York attorney for submitting a brief with reference to a non-existent case, hallucinated by ChatGPT, without proper verification.Continue Reading USPTO Sets to Clarify Attorney Guidelines in the Age of Generative AI

This article was originally published to Seyfarth’s The Blunt Truth blog.

Republic Technologies (NA) LLC (“Republic”) filed an application to register the proposed mark 4:20 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).  Republic amended its goods twice during prosecution of the application and ultimately sought to register “tobacco; cigarette papers; cigarette filters; cigarette tubes; cigarette rolling machines; handheld machines for injecting tobacco into cigarette tubes; machines allowing smokers to make cigarettes by themselves; none of the foregoing containing or for use with cannabis” (emphasis added). The USPTO alleged that consumers would understand 4:20 to mean cannabis, the mark misdescribes non-cannabis related goods, and consumers would believe the misrepresentation. Therefore, the USPTO refused registration alleging that the mark was deceptively misdescriptive of the goods in the application. Republic appealed the decision to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “Board”). But the Board saw through the smoke of Republic’s arguments and affirmed the refusal. 

Republic is a leading provider of smoking accessories. Republic initially filed its application for the mark 4:20 for use in association with the goods “tobacco; cigarette papers; cigarette filters; cigarette tubes; cigarette rolling machines; handheld machines for injecting tobacco into cigarette tubes; machines allowing smokers to make cigarettes by themselves.” Perhaps familiar with the many uses of Republic’s goods, the USPTO refused the application on mere descriptiveness grounds. It alleged that consumers understand 4:20 to mean cannabis and the goods describe a product containing or to be used with cannabis. The USPTO also asked Republic to provide additional information about its goods. In particular, whether the goods contain or would be used in connection with cannabis or marijuana. Continue Reading 4:20 Unfriendly – TTAB Says 4:20 is Deceptively Misdescriptive of Goods Not Used with Cannabis

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About the Program

Join Seyfarth partners Ken Wilton and Lauren Leipold for an examination of pivotal 2023 developments in trademark litigation, from U.S. Supreme Court decisions to new guidance from federal appellate courts, district courts, and the USPTO. This webinar will provide actionable takeaways for your legal practice in 2024, from doctrinal shifts in the application of trademark law to technicalities in TTAB procedure. Learn how these developments will impact the ongoing protection, maintenance, and enforcement of trademarks in the United States and beyond.

Speakers

Kenneth Wilton, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Lauren Leipold, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLPContinue Reading Upcoming Webinar! How to Win Your Next Trademark Battle: Lessons Learned in 2023

This post was originally published to Seyfarth’s The Blunt Truth blog.

Recently, we published an article regarding the increasing viability of cannabis related patents. See here. Sadly, the story is the opposite for federal trademarks. Last month, National Concessions Group, Inc. (“NCG”) was denied federal registration for its trademarks: BAKKED and

(collectively the

Melissa Viviane Jefferson, better known by her stage name Lizzo, popularized the phrase 100% THAT BITCH in her hit song “Truth Hurts.” But are popular song lyrics able to function as a trademark for a line of clothing?

Lizzo thought so as her trademark holding company, Lizzo LLC, filed several applications for the phrase 100%

Trademark applicants encounter refusals from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) based on a myriad of issues. Section 2(d) likelihood of confusion refusals and Section 2(e)(1) mere descriptiveness refusals or disclaimer requirements based on descriptiveness are often issued by the USPTO.

These refusals have applicants scratching their heads to determine whether to pursue an