Trademark filings are public records. The United States Patent and Trademark Office database contains names and addresses of owners of trademark applications and registrations. A disturbing trend that has reached epidemic proportion is the use of that data by third parties trying to scam trademark owners. If you own a trademark registration and receive any
Mark concentrates his practice on intellectual property and Internet matters with specific emphasis on trademark selection, registration, enforcement and litigation, copyright, and trade secret protection.
For over twenty years he has advised clients on domestic and international intellectual property issues, including such matters as new product launches, corporate rebranding projects, acquisitions and licensing. He has extensive experience with U.S. and International trademark matters, from selection and clearance of marks through registration, licensing and enforcement of rights. Mark has represented trademark owners in cease and desist matters as well as in the federal courts in infringement and counterfeiting actions. He has also been involved in numerous Opposition and Cancellation proceedings in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Mark is also involved in copyright registration and licensing, developing trade secret protection strategies, non-disclosure agreements and non-compete agreements, marketing and advertising review, and intellectual property due diligence projects.
Prior to joining Henderson Franklin, Mark practiced law in Chicago, Illinois. He was born and raised in Chicago and currently resides in Fort Myers. When not working, Mark enjoys cycling and triathlons.
With a ruling that could significantly change the business and regulatory landscape in the medical marijuana field, the Florida First District Court of Appeals has determined that certain provisions of the Florida Medical Marijuana Statute are unconstitutional.
Constitutional and Statutory Conflicts
In January 2017, an amendment to the Florida Constitution went into effect to protect the right to produce, possess and use medical marijuana. Patients that qualified to receive medical marijuana could obtain it from a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (“MMTC”).
Trademark protection is available to any individual or entity who uses a trademark in the United States. Since 2015, an average of 400,000 trademark applications have been filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) each year. According to USPTO data, about 25% of those are filed by non-United States entities and individuals. Effective August 3, 2019 a new Rule will go into effect at the USPTO that changes how those parties must interact with the USPTO.
Who does this impact?
The Rule applies to non-United States parties, including all businesses that have a principal place of businesses (i.e. headquarters) outside the United States, as well as all individuals with non-US permanent addresses. Foreign nationals with residence in the United States or businesses with significant enough contact and business in United States are not impacted.
In 1991, artist and designer Erik Brunetti launched a clothing line. In 2017, Brunetti filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register the trademark representing this brand—FUCT (“Friends U Can’t Trust”). The USPTO refused registration of the mark because the Federal statute governing trademarks—the Lanham Act—prohibited registration of any trademark that
Too Scandalous to Trademark?
Reviewing the FUCT application, the USPTO applied its general test of for those marks that might be considered as comprised of immoral or scandalous matter. That is, whether a substantial composite of the general public would find a trademark shocking to the sense of truth, decency or propriety or whether the mark would give offense to conscious or moral feelings. Against this, the USPTO concluded the FUCT mark was totally vulgar, highly offensive and had “decidedly negative sexual connotations.” Therefore, the Lanham Act prohibited registration and Brunetti’s application was refused.
First Amendment Lawsuit
Copyright is the exclusive right to reproduce, adapt, distribute, perform, and display works of original expression. These rights accrue upon creation of the work and a copyright registration is not required to own a copyright or acquire these rights.
U.S. Copyright Act
The U.S. Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 101, et seq. provides a means for registering copyrights with the U.S. Copyright Office, which is a part of the Library of Congress. The Federal registration process, while simple, can take nine to twelve months to complete before any Registration Certificate issues. The Copyright Act also provides various rights and remedies for copyright infringement, including statutory damages and attorney fee recovery. However, the Act also states
[N]o civil action for infringement of the copyright … shall be instituted until … registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title.” 17 U.S.C. 411.
What Qualifies as Actual “Copyright Registration”?
Rosen Hotels and Resorts, Inc. (“Rosen”) operates a number of hotel properties in the Orlando area. Rosen’s subsidiary company, Rosen Millennium, Inc. (“Millennium”) provides IT support to Rosen, including data security.
In early 2016, Rosen learned of a possible data breach involving customer credit card data. A forensic investigation located malware on the company’s payment network, which indicated a third-party had hacked into the system and determined that customer credit cards used between September 2014 and February 2016 may have been compromised. In March 2016, Rosen notified potentially impacted customers of the data breach.
Duty to Defend
Sales taxes have always been major revenue sources to the states, including Florida which has a state-wide 6% sales tax. However, for years, consumers have turned to the Internet to make purchases in part to be able to avoid this because most Internet sales transactions were not subject to any state or local sales…
On June 21, 1788 the U.S. Constitution was ratified. It contains a clause in Article I, Section 8 providing that Congress shall have the power to
promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
This led to the Patent Act of 1790, signed into law by George Washington in April of that year. Since the founding, patent protection has been afforded to “new and useful” processes, machines, articles of manufacture, compositions of matter, ornamental designs and even plant strains. Patent protection provides inventors the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing an invention throughout the United States without the inventor’s consent.
The building once known as 5Pointz was a block-long warehouse structure in Queens, NY. During the ‘90s, the area was rundown and crime-riddled. As a way to discourage vandalism to the building, the owner allowed graffiti artists to paint on the walls, giving them a canvas to display their works. Ultimately, the 5Pointz building became well known among graffiti artists and tourists and artists traveling from all around the world to add their art to the structure. For almost 20 years the developer and the artists existed this way. However, wanting to take advantage of rising real estate prices, in 2010 the owner of the building decided to redevelop it as a residential complex. The owner ultimately obtained permits to demolish the buildings and redevelop the parcel.
It is almost that time of year — football season is approaching and with the anticipation of tailgating and touchdowns comes, of course, talk of trademarks. For years, the Washington Redskins have been fighting battles regarding their REDSKINS trademark. The issues have created much controversy due to the purported negative connotation the REDSKINS term gives…