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Gerben Law Firm's Trademark Blog


This trademark blog and informational section of the website is meant to provide you with answers to commonly asked questions about trademark searching, filing, and registration.

Supreme Court: Filing Bankruptcy Does Not Terminate a Trademark License

Licensing a trademark is one of several ways for a brand-owner to monetize its brand. Brand owners can enter into exclusive, or non-exclusive licensing deals with others to expand into new markets, develop new product lines, or embark on new collaborations. But what kind of risks do parties need to consider when entering into a […]

“I’m a Shithole, Mr. President!”: A New Era of Offensive Trademarks

Now that the offensive ban has been deemed “unconstitutional,” the floodgates are open for offensive trademark, including applications including offensive words used by the President of the United States.

Breaking: Federal Circuit Holds Ban on Offensive Marks Unconstitutional

The Federal Circuit held today that the U.S. trademark law’s ban on offensive and derogatory marks in unconstitutional, following a similar decision by the Supreme Court earlier this year.

Supreme Court: Ban on Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional

In a decision that will have a huge impact on the United States trademark system, the Supreme Court held that the federal law (the Lanham Act) which allows the USPTO to refuse to register “disparaging” trademarks violated the First Amendment and was unconstitutional. Simon Tam, the front man for the Asian-American rock band “The Slants” […]

DUDES FOR DONALD? Trademark Filers Waste Filing Fees on Trump Trademarks

If you apply for a trademark that references a living president or a political candidate, prepare to be denied. Currently there are over 275 active trademark applications containing the word “TRUMP” and chances are, unless they were filed by Donald Trump or his family, then many of those applications will be denied. Why? Because the […]

Supreme Court To Decide if Law Preventing Registration of Disparaging Trademarks is Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court recently granted cert (meaning that they agreed to hear arguments) in Lee v. Tam, a case challenging the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s ban on the registration of ‘disparaging’ trademarks. The Supreme Court will hear arguments on this issue, but denied the request of the owners of the Washington Redskins’ trademarks […]

Trademark Applicants Who Appeal to District Court Must Pay USPTO Attorney Costs, Fourth Circuit holds in Shammas v. Focarino

There are multiple avenues for an applicant to appeal a Trademark Trial and Appeal decision, but the Fourth Circuit held that applicants who choose to appeal to a District Court must pay the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s attorney’s fees and related expenses. On April 23, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for […]

Supreme Court Holds 7-2 that TTAB Decisions Can Be Preclusive in Narrow Circumstances

On March 24, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its opinion reversing the Eighth Circuit and holding that, in some narrow circumstances, a Trademark Trial & Appeal proceeding can have preclusive effects on federal district court litigation. In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for B&B Hardware vs. Hargis, an appeal from an Eighth Circuit […]

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Case With Significant Implications for TTAB Litigation

On Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments from the parties in B&B Hardware vs. Hargis on whether the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board’s findings on the issue of likelihood of confusion should preclude the parties from re-litigating the issue in federal court. This ruling could have major implications on the weight […]