Supreme Court Holds Cheerleader Uniform Designs Are Copyrightable

On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that decorative designs affixed to cheerleader uniforms may be entitled to copyright protection under the Copyright Act of 1976. The decision determined the proper approach to analyzing whether and how pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features can be identified separately from the utilitarian aspects of a useful article, potentially making such features eligible for copyright protection.

Varsity Brands, Inc., Varsity Spirit Corporation, and Varsity Spirit Fashions & Supplies, Inc. (together, “Varsity Brands”) design, manufacture, and sell cheerleading uniforms.  Varsity Brands holds numerous U.S. copyright registrations for uniform designs, including the following:  Continue reading

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Specimen Showing Display of a Trademark on a Door Insufficient to Show Use of a Service Mark

On February 23, 2017, in a non-precedential opinion, the TTAB affirmed a PTO refusal of Republic National LLC’s service mark based upon the failure of its specimen to demonstrate use in connection with the covered services.

Republic sought to register the REPUBLIC NATIONAL mark for a variety of real estate investment services.  As specimens, Republic National submitted two digital photographs of the front door of the facility where it provides its services. Continue reading

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TEQUILA Can Be Registered As a Certification Mark

On January 23, 2017, the TTAB dismissed Luxco, Inc.’s opposition to the registration of TEQUILA as a certification mark.

Trademark applicant Consejo Regulador del Tequila, A.C. is a Mexican industry group and is the only body accredited by the Mexican government to evaluate the Mexican Official Standards governing tequila. Since 2003, it has sought to register TEQUILA as a geographic certification mark to ensure that what is sold in the United States as Tequila adheres to the official Mexican standards.  Continue reading

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