Category: Intellectual Property

Year-End Trademark Audits Ensure Complete Brand Protection

With the end of the year approaching and the holiday shopping season in full swing, now is an ideal time for brand owners to audit their trademark portfolios.  A trademark audit is an excellent tool for ensuring brands are adequately protected for the full scope of goods and services...
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Counterfeits in the Digital Marketplace

Counterfeiting has moved beyond high-priced luxury goods to low-cost everyday items. Many of these fake products pose real dangers:  face masks with arsenic ;  phone adapters that can electrocute you ;  computer chargers that fry your hardware ;  batteries that blow up . These counterfeits infiltrate online marketplaces, where...
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Protecting the Popular Brand: Considerations to Avoid Genericide

When it comes to trademark registration, there is such a thing as being too popular. Marks such as Aspirin, Fiberglass, Zipper and Flip Phone became so ubiquitous that they were found to be generic—a commonly used name or description of a kind of product. When a trademark becomes so...
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New Massachusetts Trade Secret Laws Effective October 1, 2018

The retail industry closely guards customer and distribution lists, the software and code for the operation of its websites and downloadable mobile apps, and, in many cases, algorithms used to evaluate and monitor sales trends. In many cases, these valuable assets are not protected by patent, trademark or copyright law. As...
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A Trademark Licensee’s Rights after its Licensor’s Bankruptcy May Vary Depending on the Venue of the Bankruptcy Case

In this tumultuous retail climate , a string of recent conflicting court decisions remind retailers that the potential impact of a licensor bankruptcy on a trademark licensee’s rights may vary dramatically depending on the location of the licensor’s bankruptcy proceedings.  In some jurisdictions a licensee may be entitled to...
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A World of Trademarks at INTA 2018 Annual Meeting in Seattle

During the week of May 20, 2018, members of the Goulston & Storrs  Intellectual Property Group  joined over 10,500 attendees from around the world for the 140th Annual Meeting of the  International Trademark Association (INTA) . Held in Seattle, Washington, the INTA 2018 Annual Meeting attracted an incredibly diverse...
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Supreme Court Removes Patent Litigation from the Heartland of Texas

For years, patent assertion entities have filed patent lawsuits against retailers in federal court in Texas.  The Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC may give retailers the ability to insist they defend such lawsuits on their home turf. Deep In the Heart...
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Supreme Court Says ‘Give Me a ©’ to the Fashion Industry

A recent U.S. Supreme Court copyright decision analyzing cheerleader uniforms may have a profound impact on retailers, and on the fashion industry in particular. On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held in Star Athletica, L.L.C. v. Varsity Brands, Inc. that original design elements that are separable from the...
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Copyright Compliance: (Re-)Register Your DMCA Agent in 2017 to Keep Your Website Docked in the Safe Harbor

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) “safe harbor” provisions shield certain online service providers from copyright infringement liability arising from content posted by users on their website. Provided that the service provider registers its DMCA agent and complies with the other statutory requirements , the service provider may encourage...
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The Implications of Trademark Infringement Decisions: Aw “Chucks”

There is a growing population of fashionistas and #sneakerheads skyrocketing the sales of fashion retailers and traditional sneaker companies, such as @Nike and @Converse. Forbes contends that sneakerheads represent approximately 5% of the $22 billion dollar sneaker market in the U.S., which works out to roughly $1.1 billion dollars....
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The Newly Enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act: What Retailers Should Know

On May 11, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the DTSA), creating the first Federal civil cause of action for misappropriation of trade secrets. The DTSA overlaps substantially with, and does not preempt, the trade secret acts already existing at the state...
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Retailers Take Notice: Will Customers .shop at Your .store?

Have you thought about establishing a new distinctive web address for your business? Do you worry that someone else may try to register your brand name within one of the new generic top level domains (gTLDs)? Whether consciously or not, many retailers have been sitting on the sidelines during...
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Retail Litigation Center: A National and Influential Force In Litigation

The Retail Litigation Center (RLC) is a trade organization attached to the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) that describes itself as “the only organization dedicated to advocating the retail industry's perspective in those judicial proceedings that are most important to the retail community.”  Launched by RILA in 2010, the RLC is a...
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3D Printing: Potential Pitfalls For Retailers

What is 3D printing? 3D printing, a seemingly futuristic method of manufacturing objects, is steadily moving into the mainstream as three dimensional printers have relocated from labs to the shelves of retail stores. 3D printing , or additive manufacturing, is a method of production where small machines –robots –...
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Cyber Liability Insurance – Does Your Retail Business Need It?

The news is full these days of hackers stealing credit card and other customer information from United States retailers such as Home Depot, Target, and Neiman Marcus (and the federal government ) among others. These mega-breaches make great headlines, but what about smaller retailers? Are smaller retailers and restaurants...
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Are You Ready for the Attack? Online Brand and Reputation Protection

It starts with an inaccurate, possibly fake, online review. Then a post appears on a consumer complaint forum. Suddenly, there is a surge of false postings about your company on social media sites. Invariably, these anonymous postings appear prominently in search engine results, including Google. If you haven’t implemented...
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INTA 2015 Annual Meeting Recap

Last week, members of Goulston & Storrs joined over 9,900 attendees from around the world who converged on San Diego for the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) .  This 137th meeting of INTA was its largest ever and assembled a remarkably diverse group of brand...
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[Insert Your Trademark Here].sucks – Is Your Brand at Risk?

In recent years, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit entity responsible for maintaining the Domain Name System of the Internet, has begun to introduce hundreds of new top-level domains.  Top-level domains (TDLs) are the last part of a domain name, some of the most common...
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Recent Guidance on Geographically Descriptive Trademarks May Help Brand Owners

Brand owners frequently adopt geographic terms to describe the origin or a characteristic of goods, such as NANTUCKET NECTARS for beverages from Nantucket and HYDE PARK for high end apparel.  They may also adopt such terms to describe the origin of services, such as CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN for restaurant...
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