San Diego Trademark Attorney® Blog

January 2012 Archives

New York Clothing Designer Files For 'Blue Ivy Carter NYC' Trademark

January 24, 2012,

stork.jpgSan Diego - After intense media buzz surrounding the birth of Blue Ivy, the daughter of rap/hip hop stars Jay-Z and Beyonce, a New York City clothing designer is seeking to capitalize on baby Blue Ivy Carter's name by filing a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

According to USPTO records, Joseph Mbeh is seeking to trademark "Blue Ivy Carter NYC" so he can stamp it on a variety of children's clothing. Mbeh's application covers "infant, toddler, and junior clothing" including dresses, skirts, sleepwear, undergarments, boots, shoes, and athletic footwear. In his filing with the USPTO, Mbeh claims that he began using the "Blue Ivy Carter" name as early as January 9, just two days after the child was born at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan.

The application appears domed to fail however, because a trademark application which includes a person's name must include the written consent of that person. In this case, Mbeh apparently has no such consent from the baby's A-list parents. Without written consent, the application will be refused registration. Even with consent the application would fail because a prior registration exists for BLUE IVY used in relation to retail apparel.

Mbeh, a Cameroon native and former Phat Farm intern, is co-owner of Fourfront, which is described as a "street contemporary-couture brand" based out of Manhattan's Garment District. According to Mbeh, his firm's apparel has been worn by celebrities such as rapper T-Pain and Ray J, who is the brother of television actress and R&B singer Brandy.

The application to trademark the child's name comes in the midst of reports that a new type of marijuana has been named after Blue Ivy. The attention surrounding the unique moniker is also on the heels of reports that the couple had diva-like demands during their hospital stay and paid $1.3 million to have an entire floor of the hospital to themselves.

Beyonce, whose formal name is Beyonce Giselle Knowles, rose to fame in the late 1990's as lead singer of R&B girl group Destiny's Child, one of the top-selling female groups of all time. In 2008, Beyonce married rapper Jay-Z after years of speculation of whether or not the couple was actually involved with each other. Jay-Z, born Shawn Corey Carter, grew up in a housing project in Brooklyn and in his music has rapped about being involved with selling crack cocaine during his youth. The rapper has gone on to become one of the most successful rap artists and entrepreneurs in America, having a net worth close to $500 million.

No comment was available from the child's parents. With the popularity of both music stars and the creativeness of their child's name, it is not surprising that someone would jump on the opportunity to capitalize on a trademark.

Anheuser-Busch InBev Buys Budweiser Trademarks from Czech Brewer

January 16, 2012,

beer-bottle-pouring.jpgSan Diego - Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev), the world's largest brewer, has purchased the trademark rights to the Budweiser Beer brand in Europe from a small Czech brewer. This is a small step forward for A-B InBev in a long-running litigation over the hotly contested Budweiser brand.

In its quest for global control of the Budweiser brand, American A-B InBev purchased one of two brewers in the Czech town of Ceske Budejovice, which translates to "Budweis" in the German language. Its purchase of the Bedejovicky Mestansky Pivovar brewer and its 'Budweiser' brand, means that A-B InBev can tighten its grip on the 'Budweiser' trademark, thus ending a century-old battle for the well-known beer.

The other brewery in Ceske Budejovice, known as the Budvar brewer, whose beers are distributed in Ireland, is still claiming use of the Bud name and trademark but will likely look for a buyer in the coming years. Budvar is proudly owned by the Czechoslovakian government, which increased its exports of Budweiser in the 1970's, thus fueling the ongoing trademark dispute even more.

The Czech government has been rumored to be considering selling off its prized assets like the Budvar brewery through a public stock flotation, where A-B InBev would likely purchase a large stake.

No information was available as to A-B InBev's purchase price of the Bedejovicky Mestansky Pivovar's rights to the Budweiser trademarks, however its parent company reportedly transferred the actual brewery and its employees to a different firm prior to the sale.

A big reason for InBev purchasing Anheuser-Busch three years ago was to put itself in the position to acquire global dominance of the Budweiser brand. The American brewer stepped up its exports to Russia and Brazil and is investing heavily in World Cup soccer sponsorships in order to increase its name recognition with beer drinkers all over the world.

The Budweiser trademark dispute dates back more than one hundred years, with all three breweries claiming historical rights to the famous brand and trademark. Since the 1970's the beer companies have fought legal battles in several different countries as both Anheuser-Busch and Budvar increased their exports of Budweiser to other countries. Today, Budvar seems to have beer dominance in Eastern and Central Europe, Germany, and France, while Anheuser-Busch has been more successful in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and southern Europe.

No word on how residents of the small town in the largest beer drinking per capita country feel about the purchase.

Texas A&M Challenges Denver Broncos Over "12th Man" Trademark

January 9, 2012,

football.jpgSan Diego - The Denver Broncos' elation over beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday night's wildcard playoff game may be short lived. Soon after the event aired on national television, trademark attorneys for Texas A&M University threw up a flag alleging trademark infringement.

During Sunday night's broadcast, a man parachuted into the stadium with a banner that read "12th Man," which flew throughout the rest of the game. Football rules allow for a maximum of 11 players per team on the field at any given time. The "12th Man" phrase is used to indicate the important role played by the fans and was used to rally the crowd.

However, it appears that the "12th Man" phrase is known to be synonymous with the Texas A&M football team and in fact, has been trademarked by the university. Texas A&M Vice President for marketing and communications, Jason Cook, explained, "We take the protection of our trademarks very seriously. They are part of our intellectual property at the institution." Cook went on to say that the university, based in College Station, will defend the trademark against any infringements.

The "12th Man" phrase garnered attention with football fans after a 1922 incident, when E. King Gill, a former player, was called from the stands and suited up in the event he was needed to take the field for the injury-ridden Aggies. Thus, the famous phrase was born, and a statue honoring Gill stands outside the Aggies' Kyle Field.

This is not the first time Texas A&M has gone after an NFL team for using its trademarked phrase. In 2006, a "12th Man" trademark infringement dispute between the university and the Seattle Seahawks was settled through an agreement that would allow the Seahawks to license the trademark from the Aggies. Any time the Seahawks use the "12th Man" phrase at its televised games, the agreement requires the team to include a statement in its broadcasts that the trademark is owned by Texas A&M.

University officials stated that the licensing agreement with the Seattle Seahawks not only clearly established that it owns the trademark, but also made it even more necessary to monitor the unlicensed usage of the phrase by other NFL teams.

In reference to the university's aggressive defense of the trademark, Cook replied, "The 12th Man is extremely loyal. The 12th Man is standing ready to serve, and it's part of our DNA at Texas A&M."

Cook said that the university is hopeful that the infringement was an oversight by the Broncos and can be remedied by educating the team on trademark laws, however, he added, a cease and desist letter could be following close behind.

Tilaknagar Industries Victorious in India Trademark Battle

January 5, 2012,

whiskey-in-glasses.jpgSan Diego - Tilaknagar Industries, Ltd, a leader in the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) market, emerged victorious from Bombay, India High Court over a trademark dispute with UTO Nederland B.V..

UTO Nederland B.V., a Dutch exporter of liquor spirits and other alcoholic beverages, had filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Tilaknagar over its use of the trademarks 'Mansion House' and 'Savoy Club.' On December 22, Nedarland B.V.'s motion to restrain Tilaknagar from using the trademarks was dismissed by the High Court. In the days after announcing the judgment, Tilaknagar's stock rose 2% on the BSE Sensex, Asia's premier stock exchange.

In a statement from Dr. Keshab Nandy, Chief Legal Officer for Tilaknagar Industries, he said, "We are pleased by the judgment passed by the Honorable Bombay High Court, which we believe provides fair justice and validates our stance. However, we are awaiting a copy of the judgment. We have in the past focused immense energies and investments towards the brands 'Mansion House' and 'Savoy Club' and developed them as sustainably successful products in the Indian alcoholic beverage sector. Thus going ahead we remain committed to drive growth and fortify our long standing presence in the industry on the back of a solid business model with strong brands and geographic reach."

Fiscal year sales for 2010-2011 of Tilaknagar's trademarked 'Mansion House' Brandy nearly exceeded six million cases and is expected to grow steadily in the upcoming years. As the second largest selling brandy in the world, Mansion House reportedly remains one of the fastest growing brands in the world. Founded in 1933 by Babasaheb Dahanukar, Tilaknagar was originally a leader in the Indian sugar industry. Due to governmental regulations in the commodities market, Tilaknagar made the transition to the liquor industry in 1973, and quickly became one of India's leading distilleries.

Due mainly to its core competency in the alcoholic beverages sector and its impressive efforts to establish dominance in the market, Tilaknagar Industries has successfully established its distinct identity in the liquor industry. With an uncompromised commitment to providing quality products with a high value for the money, Tilaknagar's brand portfolio consists of unique and diverse brands that are widely enjoyed by consumers worldwide.