federally registered trademark

If you’re a fan of intellectual propertytransparent or the National Football League, you may have heard about last July’s ruling in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. There, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s ruling that the team’s moniker is offensive to Native Americans, and therefore ineligible for trademark protection under the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of disparaging marks. This battle was fought over more than 20 years. The effect is that the Redskins can continue to use the mark, but they do not have the trademark protections provided by the Lanham Act. The Redskins, clearly unhappy with this result, have appealed the matter to the Fourth Circuit of Appeal. That matter is currently pending and the opening briefs were recently filed.

In its opening brief, the Redskins immediately attacked the District Court’s ruling that the Redskins’ registration is not entitled to First Amendment scrutiny because registered trademarks are “government speech” and the registration is a government subsidy “program.” Counsel for the Redskins, Quinn Emanuel and Arnold & Porter, argue that this notion is disturbing. Specifically the opening brief states that:

Continue Reading The Federal Circuit Breathes Life into the Redskins’ Appeal

transparentWith the prevalence of smartphones in today’s society, one cannot help but to have at least heard of Google’s Android operating system.  This operating system came about with the intent of competing with the superpower known as Apple’s iPhone.  Of course, when Google released this platform for the first time in 2007, the Android operating system was perceived to be the first generation.  Recently, however, an Illinois man asserted that perhaps Google’s Android was not the first generation.  Well, not quite, but he did assert that Google infringed his federally registered trademark, “Android Data.”

During the Dot.com Boom of the late 1990s Erich Specht decided he wanted to get into the lucrative software business.  As such, in 1998, he founded a suite of e-commerce software that became known as Android Data Corporation (“ADC”).  Through his entity, he intended to license software to his would-be clients, and provided website hosting and computer consulting services.   Two years after the company’s inception, Mr. Specht applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for federal registration of the “Android Data” mark.  The mark was registered in 2002.

Unfortunately for Mr. Specht, by the end of 2002, his company had hit the end of the road.  It ceased all major operations, lost the bulk of its clients, and moved its headquarters into Mr. Specht’s home.  Mr. Specht then caused ADC to transfer the Android Data mark to his wholly-owned company, The Android’s Dungeon Incorporated (“ADI”).  For the remainder of the year, Mr. Specht attempted to sell ADC’s assets, including the mark, but was unable to find a willing buyer.  He kept the ADC website running for a short period thereafter, but eventually allowed the registration for the company URL to lapse.
Continue Reading Google’s Android: Was It Truly The First Generation?