JANUARY 11, 2019
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Intellectual Property Legal News
In house attorneys looking for a better way to organize, vet and easily retrieve legal news created the National Law Review on-line edition.

Around the clock, the National Law Review's editors screen and classify breaking news and analysis authored by recognized legal professionals and our own journalists.

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This year the Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the Circuit Courts penned a number of opinions impacting trademark law.  Here are some key takeaways from the past year:  In Royal Crown Co. v. Coca-Cola Co., the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded TTAB’s decision that upheld Coca-Cola’s trademark on ZERO. Royal Crown Co. v. Coca-Cola Co., 892 F.3d 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2018).  The TTAB made two fatal errors: first, it did not consider whether ZERO could be generic among the sub-category of diet sodas, failing to assess whether consumers understood ZERO when used in combination with a beverage mark to refer to a diet soda.    More on Trademark Decisions Here>
In Royal Chain, Inc. vs. Mansur Gavriel LLC, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) evaluated whether a likelihood of confusion existed between marks sharing a common surname for complementary fashion products.
Royal Chain had filed a notice of opposition against Mansur Gavriel’s trademark application for the mark MANSUR GAVRIEL (consisting of the two surnames of its founders) covering “handbags; tote bags; purses; wallets,” claiming that the MANSUR GAVRIEL mark resembled its registered PHILLIP GAVRIEL mark covering jewelry and was, therefore, likely to cause confusion.  More on TTAB Decision Here>
In Vivint, Inc. v. Alarm.com, Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed a claim construction by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") which “suggest[ed] the opposite” of the teachings of the patents at issue, and gave guidance to practitioners on when the Board’s reliance on expert testimony entitles the Board’s construction to deference. The Court’s non-precedential opinion is consistent with a string of recent decisions stressing the PTAB’s obligation to adequately explain its decisions.    Read More About Adequacy of Explanation in PTAB Reversal Here>
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