LEGAL THOUGHTS

This blog contains our personal opinions on topics that interest us.

A new dawn for the Revel/Ten and Atlantic City

There may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel for the closed Revel/Ten (“Ten”) casino hotel in Atlantic City. After being purchased in 2015 by Glenn Straub, it finally may open. Recently, Colorado investor based TEN RE ACNJ, run by Colorado-based businessman Bruce Deifik, purchased the Ten from Straub. They are expected to invest more than $375 million to buy and reopen it, according to a report from Moody’s Investors Service detailing the deal’s proposed financing (see link). According to the report, AC Ocean Walk LLC which is majority owned by TEN RE ACNJ will pay $200 million for the property and invest an additional $175 million. The property is expected to reopen in May 2018.

And the other shoe falls. Register a trademark on almost anything.

Earlier this year, after the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of Tam in the Slants case, I wrote that that decision could affect other prohibitions in the Lanham Act (see blog post). As predicted, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit just ruled that 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)'s "bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech." See In re: Erik Brunetti, Case No. 2015-1109 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 15, 2017). In this case, the trademark applicant owns the clothing brand FUCT. The applicant attempted to register the FUCT mark, however, the trademark attorney refused to register it on the grounds that it was immoral or scandalous matter. The applicant l

No, I am your father.

In honor of the US release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I give you... #trademark #copyright

Give me a break. Ritter Sport

Location location location. This refrain is often heard with respect to real estate. However, it is also relevant to registering trademarks. Germany appears more willing to grant trademarks over shapes. Nestlé registered the four-finger shape of its KitKat candy bars (see link to The Guardian article). And, a few days ago, the Civil Court of the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled that Ritter Sport's quadratic packaging of its chocolate bar was not functional (see link to article) The UK appears less willing to grant trademarks over shapes. Earlier this year, Nestlé lost an appeal in the UK to register the four-finger shape of its KitKat candy bars (see link to decision). #tradem

A little taste of New York City. Cipriani

I came across this pasta in Zug, Switzerland. To anyone from New York City and nine other cities around the world, this brand should look familiar (see Cipriani website). This is a logical extension of the brand -- from classic Italian restaurants to branded pasta. #trademark

Commingling, Fulfillment by Amazon and counterfeits

What the heck is commingling? Commingling is where the same product from multiple vendors are mixed together. How is this relevant to Amazon? Amazon has a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (or FBA) which allows vendors to "store [their] products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and [Amazon will] pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products”. (link to Amazon Services). FBA is important to vendors because its products are then eligible for Amazon Prime and Free Super Saver Shipping. When a vendor selects FBA, Amazon’s default position is to allow commingling of products; a vendor must specifically opt out of commingling. Why would Amazon default to allow commingling?

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