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  • Diageo Wins Trademark Dispute Over Crown RoyalFri, 12/19/2014 - 14:30

    Diageo has won a trademark lawsuit filed against Texas-based Mexcor over the Crown Royal whisky brand. The dispute between the two companies began last year when the UK-based drinks maker filed a commercial slander suit against Mexcor for creating “disparaging” ads that referred to a product that looked like Crown Royal as “that poison.”

    Then in March 2014, Diageo filed a trademark infringement and unfair competitive practices suit claiming that Mexcor’s Crown Club whisky, sold in bags that resemble the Crown Royal bags for which Diageo owns the trademark, was causing “rampant” customer confusion. Mexcor’s whisky is sold under the names of various U.S. states, including Texas Crown Club and South Carolina Crown Club.

    The U.S. District Court of for the Southern District of Texas ruling ordered Mexcor to change the name and packaging of its whisky and to pay unspecified damages to Diageo.Nicole D’Amato, director and senior counsel for intellectual property at Diageo North America said: “We are pleased that the jury agreed with us that Mexcor has been confusing our consumers and diluting the strength of our Crown Royal brand, and that they will now have to change their name and packaging.”

    Check out the two products below.

    cr1 cr2

  • The Latest in Clothing Brand Trademark Stories: CR7 and ComfyballsWed, 12/17/2014 - 12:03

    Many of you know that Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is also known as “CR7,” a moniker that represents his initials and his jersey number. Last year, he launched a line of men’s underwear and socks under the brand name CR7.

    Earlier this year, JBS Textile Group filed a U.S. trademark application for Ronaldo’s CR7 clothing brand, but it turns out the mark is already owned by Christopher Renzi who registered it in 2008. Now Renzi has filed a trademark infringement suit and says his Spanish representative hasn’t been able to serve Ronaldo with the papers. Apparently the Real Madrid office refused to accept the delivery since the suit doesn’t have anything to do with the team.

    Have any of you seen Ronaldo lately? Renzi’s attorney said they haven’t been able to track him down, but they say they have succeeded in getting the USPTO to suspend JBS Textile’s trademark application in light of their pending litigation. Renzi’s team has until March 26, 2015 to serve Ronaldo with the lawsuit.

    Coincidentally, there was more trademark news on the subject of men’s underwear brands this past week. In this story, a Norwegian company’s trademark application for the name of its underwear line was denied by the USPTO for being too vulgar.

    Tonic Brands A.S. tried to register the brand name of its underwear called Comfyballs. The USPTO’s refusal cited four different dictionary definitions for the word “balls” and concluded: “In the context of the applicant’s goods, the mark, “COMFYBALLS,” means only one thing — that a man’s testicles, or ‘balls,’ will be comfortable in the applicant’s undergarments. The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression. It is a straightforward use of the word ‘balls’ instead of testicles.”

    Despite the USPTO refusal, Tonic Brands can still sell its underwear in the United States, although The Huffington Post reported that they are now considering new brand names like Comfypals. The company’s founder noted that the trademark had already been approved in the European Union “without hassle” since the region has what he called a “softer view on what is deemed to be vulgar.”

  • “Eat More Kale” Wins Trademark ProtectionMon, 12/15/2014 - 19:14

    Chick-fil-A—fast food chain and owner of the trademark for “Eat Mor Chikin”—has lost its effort to stop a Vermont folk artist from registering a trademark for “Eat More Kale.”

    Bo Muller-Moore began using the phrase “Eat More Kale” in 2001 on t-shirts and bumper stickers to promote the nutritional value of kale. The trademark dispute unfolded in 2011 when Muller-Moore received a cease-and-desist letter from Chick-fil-A claiming that his website eatmorekale.com caused confusion in the marketplace and diluted the distinctiveness of the fast-food chain’s intellectual property.

    Muller-Moore said he wouldn’t back down. His attorney at that time said: “At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone will step forward and say they bought an ‘eat more kale’ shirt thinking it was a Chick-fil-A product.”

    Last week the USPTO granted his trademark application for “Eat More Kale.” Celebrating outside the Vermont Statehouse Muller-Moore proclaimed: “I am not ceasing and desisting. I am thriving, thanks to people like you and thanks to Vermont and people from beyond.”

    Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a supporter of Muller-Moore’s efforts, weighed in on the decision: “This is more than just about a victory for ‘eat more kale. It’s a victory for grow local. It’s a victory for Vermont’s small food and farm agricultural renaissance, and it’s a victory for Vermont.”

    And check out this infographic for lots of reasons to eat more kale (over spinach) from Prevention.