San Diego Trademark Attorney® Blog

September 2011 Archives

HP Files for "Touchpad" Trademark

September 23, 2011,

touchscreen.jpgSan Diego, CA - In the ever-increasingly saturated market of mobile media devices, evidence suggests that Hewlett Packard (HP) has something new in the works. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there has been a recent trademark application filed for "HP Touchpad", which includes "tablet computers".

Thus far, there have been no hints on what operating system this new device will be running. Will it possibly be an Android-based device running Honeycomb? The HP webOS tablets are called "Opal" and "Topaz" and its Windows-based devices are called "Slates" by HP. It doesn't seem as if "Touchpad" is a fit into any of those product lines.

It is also plausible to assume that HP is gradually trying to phase out the Palm trademark that it acquired in 2010 due to negative reviews of the brand. Is the "HP Touchpad" replacing the "PalmPad" trademark which HP filed for in July 2010?

Whatever the path may be, it appears that HP wants to cover all bases.

"Ivana" Trademark will not Trump Finnish Designer

September 16, 2011,

registered R.jpgSan Diego, CA - Ivana Trump has reached an agreement with Finnish clothing designer Paola Suhonen concerning trademark use. Back in 2010, the ex-wife of "The Donald" filed suit against the Finnish fashion house with claims that it was attempting to trick consumers "into the erroneous belief " that she (Trump) is somehow connected to its "IVANAHelsinki" clothing line. The suit sought unspecified damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition and violations of privacy and publicity rights.

Paola Suhonen refused to comply Trump's demands alleging that consumers would not likely be confused or mislead. In fact, Trump had abandoned her clothing line many years ago and in 2006 she abandoned her federal trademark registration for clothing. Trump's only argument was that the Finnish company was seeking to capitalize on her famous branded name, "Ivana."

The parties ultimately reached a settlement wherein Suhonen agreed to slightly alter the trademark by putting a space between the two words, i.e., "IVANA Helsinki". Considering that the addition or deletion of a space has little to no effect on a likelihood of confusion analysis, it appears that Ivana Trump tired of litigating and decided to end the matter on any terms agreeable to the other side. This is understandable because the case appeared questionable to begin with.

Trademark Dispute may keep Target from singing "Oh Canada"

September 9, 2011,

target.jpgSan Diego, CA - Seeking expansion into the Canadian retail market, U.S. discount-retailer Target is facing major pushback from Fairweather Ltd. Fairweather filed a $250 million trademark infringement suit against the U.S. giant on grounds that it exclusively owns the right to use the Target name in Canada. Fairweather Ltd has owned the "Target Apparel" name in Canada for 10 years.

Target, which is known for name-brand merchandise priced for the masses announced last month its plans to open more than 200 stores in Canada over the next 10 years. Many of these new Target stores will be the result of spending over $1.83 billion to take over existing leases from Zellers retail chain, a subsidiary of Hudson's Bay Company.

Jessica Carlson, a Target spokeswoman, was unable to comment on the court proceedings but did mention that Target plans to use the same name, branding, and famous bull's eye logo that it uses in the U.S.. "There really is nothing that prevents Target from using the Target name and branding elements in Canada the same way we do in the United States," she said.

Target has challenged whether Fairweather has made continuous use of its trademark. Since the response from Target, Fairweather Ltd has opened "Target Apparel" stores in Ontario and British Colombia. It has until the end of this month to prove to the Canadian trademark office that it has used the Target name in the past three years or has plans to use it.

Since the trademarks and goods at issue are similar, it appears that Target has its work cut out in proving that canadian consumers are not likely to be confused between the two trademarks.

"Mafia Wars" Trademark Infringement Battle

September 2, 2011,

target_aim.jpgSan Diego, CA - In August 2010 Digital Chocolate filed a complaint against Zynga alleging trademark infringement over the Mafia Wars brand. Very recently the case was settled out of court but details regarding damages and terms have yet to be disclosed to the public. There have not been any changes made to the Mafia Wars game and it still reflects Zynga as the creator so there may be some sort of phase-out period in place.

According to the original complaint, in 2004 Digital Chocolate released a Mafia Wars mobile game followed by three sequels up to 2009. Zynga, the social gaming company from San Francisco, wasn't founded until 2007 and didn't release its version of Mafia Wars until 2008. In 2009, Digital Chocolate sent Zynga a cease and desist letter, demanding that it stop using the Mafia Wars trademark which then led to the lawsuit. In addition to suing for trademark infringement, Digital Chocolate also charged Zynga with unfair competition, false designation of origin and cyber-squatting.

Considering both companies are in the same industry, we're not sure how Zynga couldn't have known of the prior existing Mafia Wars game. It may be that Zynga has a shoot first ask questionns later type of approach to intellectual property because this lawsuit is just one of many that Zynga has been juggling recently. In January, it was also sued by Walker Digital for patent infringement over its Farmville game.