Centre Daily Times and Josh Gerben Discuss Recent Ruling in Penn State Trademark Lawsuit

Earlier in July, a federal judge ruled that Vintage Brand, an online retailer, can proceed with its trademark lawsuit against Penn State, for the use of the University’s retro logos and images.

Centre Daily Times spoke to Josh Gerben about the unusual ruling in lawsuit.

Trademark attorney Josh Gerben said Brann’s commentary was “a bit of a head-scratcher.”

“The way the judge lays this out in talking about how trademark rights work in the judge’s mind is not connected to the reality of how the marketplace currently works,” Gerben said. “I think that would become very clear if this case did go through a trial and all the facts came out about how trademarks work and how licensing works in today’s world.”

On the horizon, Gerben said, is “a lot of settlement discussions” before a potential trial.

“Penn State, I think, still has a very, very strong case here. In order for Penn State to really lose, there would have to be an upending of how current trademark law works, and I don’t see that as being very likely. Therefore, Vintage Brand would have a very strong impetus to try to settle this case before taking it to trial and risking a loss at trial,” Gerben said. “I think at the end of the day you’re going to see this case is settled and this opinion that the judge put out there … likely gets put in a drawer somewhere and maybe another federal court looks at it and takes it up later in a different case, but it would be very unlikely to me that — given the economics involved in this case — that this thing would actually get to trial and we have some kind of massive shift in trademark law because of this.”

Source: Pallotto, Bret. https://www.centredaily.com/. “Penn State denied quick trademark win, judge questions sports merchandise industry.” 26 July 2022.

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