While studies show that each individual sees color differently, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) determined that as used on medical gloves, a shade of light green is not confusingly similar to a shade of dark green. In a black-and-white decision, the TTAB reversed a Trademark Examining Attorney’s refusal to register the color green identified as Pantone 2274C as used on medical gloves in light of an existing registration for the color green identified as Pantone 7488U used on the same line of goods.

The Gloves Are Greener on the Other Side

In November of 2019, Medline Industries, a leading manufacturer of medical gloves, submitted a request to register the color of their green gloves, Pantone 2274C, on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Supplemental Register. This is the list for trademarks that are not yet eligible to be listed on the Principal Register, but may be one day. The Trademark Examining Attorney, however, rejected Medline Industries’ application. The rejection was based on Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(d), which restricts granting trademarks based on the probability of confusion with another mark.


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In November of 1971, Led Zeppelin released its iconic song, “Stairway to Heaven.” Since it made its debut, there have been lots of claims about the song: it has been played on the radio 2.8 million times; it is one of the greatest songs of all time; if you play it backward, you will hear a hidden Satanic message; and, perhaps most interestingly, that the famous intro was plagiarized.

Plagiarism claims and a history of litigation

The plagiarism claim linked the intro’s origins to a lesser-known 70s rock band, Taurus, and their song, “Spirit.” Michael Skidmore, a trustee for the estate of Randy California, the guitarist for and composer of Taurus, brought a lawsuit in 2014 alleging that Zeppelin stole the guitar intro for “Stairway” from Spirit. The lawsuit alleges that the two bands toured together in the late 1960s, and therefore, Zeppelin had “access” to Spirit’s songs.


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A recent New Jersey federal court decision denying Strike 3 the right to expedited discovery highlights a recent departure from the status quo of allowing Strike 3 to subpoena Internet Service Providers (“ISP”) such as Comcast, Verizon, and Optimum, in order to discover the identity of the individual subscriber of a certain Internet Protocol (“IP”) address that Strike 3 alleges was used to illegally download its copyrighted adult movies using the file sharing platform BitTorrent. This is good news for those who find themselves caught in the well-oiled litigation machine created by Strike 3 and Malibu Media.

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Not all bananas are created equally. Rasta Imposta, a retail wholesaler of Halloween costumes, filed a claim for copyright and trade dress infringement and unfair competition against Kangaroo Manufacturing, another costume retailer, after Rasta’s CEO discovered Kangaroo selling a costume that resembled one of Rasta’s costumes without a license. The costumes in issue in Silvertop Assocs. v. Kangaroo Mfg., No. 18-2266, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 22989 (3d Cir. Aug. 1, 2019) consisted of full-body yellow banana outfits:

banana costume copyright infringement


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This month, the Supreme Court struck down 25 U.S.C. § 1052(a) of the Lanham (Trademark) Act of 1946, which prohibited federal trademark registration of “immoral or scandalous” marks for goods and services, on the grounds that it violated the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause as impermissible viewpoint-based discrimination due to its favoring of certain ideas over others.

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After passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (“The Farm Bill”), many professionals in the cannabis industry wondered how the new law would affect the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) stance on trade and service marks for cannabis sativa L species (hemp) and hemp-related goods and services.

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Over 2700 additional copyright infringement lawsuits were filed in U.S. federal courts in 2018 compared to 2017. That increase was due in large part to cases that pornography studios, Strike 3 Holdings and Malibu Media, filed against John Doe internet downloaders alleging illegal downloading of the studios’ videos over file-sharing services like BitTorrent.

BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol that allows users to exchange large amounts of data in short periods of time. Unlike other download methods, BitTorrent maximizes transfer speed by gathering pieces of the file users want and downloading these pieces simultaneously from people who already have them. Moreover, once a user downloads the pieces, which together combine to create the complete video, the protocol shares them with other users downloading the same content. Thereby, users who download videos using BitTorrent are also inadvertently sharing and distributing that content with other users.


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With businesses engaging in increasingly more commerce over the internet, it is crucial to understand the consequences of displaying, using, and transferring another entity’s works online. Enter The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998, which was signed into law by President Clinton to keep pace with the new realities of internet technology and commerce. The Act sought to protect intellectual property rights while simultaneously advancing the growth and development of e-commerce.

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On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court resolved a longstanding split among the circuit courts concerning what exactly the copyright registration prerequisite to filing a copyright lawsuit means – whether an application to register is sufficient or an actual issued registration is required. The Supreme Court chose the latter holding that a copyright owner must first obtain a copyright registration certificate from the Copyright Office before filing a copyright infringement suit.

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The United States Copyright Office has denied a copyright submission over the “Carlton dance,” which was a routine first popularized on the hit 90s show, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Alfonso Ribeiro, the actor who played Carlton on the show, submitted three copyright applications over his dance routine to the U.S. Copyright Office. So far, two of the applications have been rejected and one is still under consideration.


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