In a precedential Trademark Trial and Appeal board (TTAB) decision, the Board held that an applied-for trademark consisting of multiple colors on product packaging, without any distinct shape, pattern or design, can never be inherently distinctive. See In re Forney Industries, Inc., Serial No. 86269096 (September 10, 2018). Applicant Forney Industries, Inc. sought to register a color scheme on the Principal Register, consisting of a black banner above a yellow to red color gradient for use on the product packaging of its various metal hardware and other small welding tools.

Continue Reading Shades of Gray: Color Marks Can Never Be Inherently Distinctive

This is part 3 of a 3 part blog. Please click here to read Part 1 – Generic Marks. Please click here to read Part 2 – Merely Descriptive & Geographically Descriptive


A mark can be refused registration if it bears a significant resemblance to a government insignia. In In re Shabby Chic Brands LLC, 122 USPQ2d 1139 (TTAB 2017), Shabby Chic Brands, LLC sought to register an image of “an ornate, feathered crown” for a variety of furniture and decorative housewares. The Trademark Examining Attorney refused registration based on Section 2(b) of the Lanham Act, which prohibits registration of marks that “consist of or comprise the flag or coat of arms or other insignia. . . of any foreign nation.” The Examining Attorney believed the proposed mark resembled the official emblem of the Prince of Wales, according to the illustration filed in accordance with the Paris Convention.

Continue Reading Hurdles to Federal Trademark Registration Part 3 – Government Insignia & Surname

My name is Max Schatzow and I am an attorney with the law firm of Stark & Stark in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. When we first saw the press release issued by Governor Murphy back in September announcing his intentions, we knew that we wanted to participate in this process, because the Investment Management practice group at Stark & Stark represents numerous broker-dealers and countless investment advisers registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities on regulatory and compliance matters.

Our clients are extremely varied and range from those providing investment advice to private investment funds and registered investment companies to retail individuals. However, our most common client is an individual or group of individuals who have broken away from a larger financial institution, such as Morgan Stanley or Merrill Lynch to start their own boutique investment advisory firm. We then help those firms address their legal and compliance needs and serve as outside counsel and compliance officers as they grow their business.

Continue Reading Statement of Max Schatzow on behalf of Clients before the New Jersey Bureau of Securities

This is part 2 of a 3 part blog. Please click here to read Part 1 – Generic Marks. Please click here to read Part 3 – Government Insignia & Surname


Trademarks are also non-registrable under the Lanham Act if the mark, when used in connection with applicant’s goods or services, is merely descriptive of them. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(e)(1). In a recent case, In re Houston Bites, LLC, Serial No. 87170141, applicant Houston Bites LLC attempted to register “Houston Bites” for services identified as “providing a website featuring non-downloadable photographs regarding restaurants, food and beverages.” The examining USPTO attorney refused registration on the ground that the mark was merely descriptive of the service in question: providing a website of photos related to light meals and snacks located in Houston, Texas. Houston was merely descriptive of applicant’s location, and a dictionary entry that defined “bites” as light meals or snacks bolstered the notion that the word bites was merely descriptive of what applicant’s services provided images of. If all individual components of the mark were descriptive, then the composite mark was also descriptive and not registrable. Continue Reading Hurdles to Federal Trademark Registration Part 2 – Merely Descriptive & Geographically Descriptive

As all general contractors are aware, problems often arise during the performance of a construction project with subcontractors or vendors who are improperly performing pursuant to the terms of their contract. The question becomes what is the best way to address these issues in order to contain them, and moreover, to ensure a smooth transition to replacement a contractor or vendor if necessary. This article shall give a brief overview of some steps that a contractor can take.

Continue Reading Dealing With a Derelict Subcontractor

David’s Bridal, Inc., the country’s largest wedding dress retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the District of Delaware this morning, under case Number 18-12635 (LSS). According to reports from USA Today, the company plans to operate its 300 stores and stay in business.

Unlike its competitor, Alfred Angelo, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017 and left brides and grooms standing at the altar without their garb, David’s Bridal has assured customers that all orders will arrive on time and that any bridal appointments will not be impacted.

Continue Reading David’s Bridal Says “I Do” to Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing

The world seemingly resolves around our credit scores. The difference between a good, a fair, and a bad credit score can make a significant difference of hundreds of dollars in monthly payments, and in some cases, being accepted or rejected for loans. Credit is an oft overlooked issue in divorce cases. A positive credit rating is critical to establish a new residence, purchase vehicles, and start a new, single life.

In some instances, the actions of one party can have the effect of damaging the credit rating of the other. This often happens in the context of one party failing to pay the mortgage on the home or other joint responsibilities. This can be due to financial stress of a divorce, such as maintaining two residences, or as a result of intentional, malicious actions of a party.

Continue Reading The Importance of a Credit Score in a Divorce Case

Trademarks are product differentiators that help consumers recognize familiar brands that customers have come to associate with a certain perceived level of goodwill, reputation, quality, taste, consistency, and style. A form of shorthand, a unique signature of sorts, a trademark signals to consumers the source or origin of a particular good or service.

Walking into a McDonalds, we know how a cheeseburger is going to taste. Seeing a red and white striped curved awning with green domes that extend above the awning, we can expect to enjoy custard ice cream or Italian ice from Rita’s Italian Ice. Coffee served in a cup with a two tailed mermaid is, as we all know, from Starbucks.

Continue Reading Likelihood of Confusion: the <i>Sine Qua Non</i> of Trademark Infringement

This is part 1 of a 3 part blog. Please click here to read Part 2 – Merely Descriptive & Geographically Descriptive. Please click here to read Part 3 – Government Insignia & Surname.


Despite being used lawfully in commerce, a trade or service mark may be refused registration by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) under Section 2 of the Trademark Act of 1946 (the “Lanham Act”) if the proposed mark is “generic,” “merely descriptive or deceptively misdescriptive,” or likely “to cause confusion” with another registered or used mark.

Continue Reading Hurdles to Federal Trademark Registration Part 1 – Generic Marks

As a subcontractor on a project, whether commercial or residential, you are always dependent upon payment from an upper tier contractor or general contractor, as you have no direct relationship with the owner. As such, you are at the mercy of the general contract when it comes to receiving payment.

Continue Reading Getting Paid as a Subcontractor on a Project