trademark infringement

Imagine litigating an infringement case for two years, and after a nine day jury trial, obtaining a jury’s verdict that says you’ve established infringement and awards your client $5,000,000.  Then you realize that the jury has awarded your client $0 in actual damages, and the entire $5,000,000 sum is for punitive damages.  The Ninth Circuit in an unpublished opinion in Monster Energy Company v. Integrated Supply Network, LLC (July 22, 2020), reiterated that a party is not entitled to punitive damages without a finding of actual damages.

Monster Energy Company is a well-known energy drink giant that does a lot of sponsorship in the motorsports area with its distinctive green M logo.  In 2017, it sued Integrated Supply Network for infringement of its Monster marks.  Integrated Supply is a Florida automotive-supply company that sold various Monster Mobile and ISN Monster lines of goods that Monster Energy Company claimed infringed on its marks.
Continue Reading You Must Prove Actual Damages if You Want Punitive Damages in an Infringement Action

For some time there has been a split among the Federal circuits as to whether evidence of willfulness is required in order to award disgorgement of profits for trademark infringement under Section 1125(a) of the Lanham Act.  The split stems from how each Federal circuit interprets Section 1117(a) of the Lanham Act which was amended in 1999.  The section reads as follows:

When a violation of any right of the registrant of a mark registered in the Patent and Trademark Office, a violation under section 1125(a) or (d) of this title, or a willful violation under section 1125(c) of this title, shall have been established in any civil action arising under this chapter, the plaintiff shall be entitled . . . subject to the principles of equity, to recover (1) defendant’s profits . . .

A number of Federal Circuits, including the Second and the Ninth, have interpreted the above to require a showing of willfulness for disgorgement in Section 1125(a) cases.  Six Federal Circuits do not.  On April 23, 2020 the United States Supreme Court made clear where it stands.
Continue Reading Trademark Infringers Beware – Willfulness Not Required for Disgorgement

Have you ever had the experience of attempting to register a social media account in the name of your business only to find that your preferred name is taken?  Often, it’s just the case of another business with the same name having registered that account first.  Other times, it’s evidence of what’s come to be

Christopher Gordon is a comedian who created a viral video about the honey badger with the notable catch phrase, “Honey Badger Don’t Care,” among others.  He later trademarked that phrase and sued greeting card companies for trademark infringement for using that phrase, or a variation thereof, without his permission.  As a result, the Ninth Circuit