Trademark, Unfair Competition, and Advertising Law

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Trademark

We provide a full range of trademark portfolio planning services. We conduct trademark searches and advise on trademark clearance, selection, and enforcement and are known for our ability to secure, maintain, and enforce trademark rights here in the United States and internationally.

Our trademark attorneys assist clients in establishing and enhancing their profiles in the marketplace by securing trademark registrations, and by litigating trademark and unfair competition claims. We frequently aid in the development and selection of trademarks, conduct trademark searches, investigate trademark usage, and prepare clearance opinions for clients.

We have counseled clients on Internet domain name disputes and have participated in opposition and cancellation proceedings before the Trademark and Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We have also litigated trademark counterfeiting issues. We frequently assist clients with establishing appropriate trademark usage for packaging and advertising, and negotiate and prepare trademark assignments and trademark licensing programs.

We have broad experience in trademark litigation in the federal and state courts, and extensive experience in all the important venues for protecting intellectual property rights. Internationally, we are able to coordinate opposition, cancellation, and infringement against conflicting trademark applications or registrations in nearly every jurisdiction in order to enforce our clients' trademark rights.

Unfair Competition

Unfair trade practices can include any of a number of allegations, including the misappropriation of trade secrets, false advertising, and unfair competition. Claims of unfair trade practices can arise in all areas of technology, and they often surface in conjunction with intellectual property claims of patent, trademark, and copyright infringement.

Our range of experience in all areas of intellectual property puts us in the perfect position to protect our clients' valuable assets when they are either pursuing or defending an unfair trade practices claim. Our attorneys work with clients to maximize the protection of their intellectual property and to guide them through the intricacies of unfair trade practice law when issues arise.

As part of the process of preventative counseling, we make sure that our clients have appropriate agreements and licenses in place in the event that a challenge to their assets is made. We are often asked to litigate unfair trade practice claims on behalf of our clients, and we have an outstanding record of success.

Our across-the-board intellectual property experience ensures that we are always prepared to pursue or defend claims involving our clients' intellectual assets.

Advertising Law

From the FTC to the FDA and beyond, MBHB’s attorneys provide comprehensive guidance regarding all legal aspects of advertising, packaging, and labeling.

Advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive, advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims, and advertisements cannot be unfair. Advertisers need to be aware of, for example, laws that guide or regulate environmental or “green” claims, health-related claims, and, of course, proper use and designation of trademarks and copyright notices.

Packaging and labeling for certain products must carry labels identifying contents, source, quantity, and other information that helps consumers compare products. Companies must consider legal aspects and implications of, for example, country of origin claims, “Made in USA” claims, and ingredient or component claims and identification.

MBHB attorneys have advised clients on advertising, packaging, and labeling considerations in all industries, including in the food, pharmaceutical, and textile fields. Our attorneys assist clients with review and finalization of proposed advertising, packaging, and labeling; we review and analyze competitors’ materials for violations; and we stand ready to defend and enforce clients’ rights before courts and federal agencies.

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Publications

Fall 2016 (snippets)
In a highly publicized decision of over a year ago, Judge Swain of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the luxury retailer Tiffany and Co., deciding that Costco Wholesale Corp. willfully infringed Tiffany’s trademark. Judge Swain’s initial ruling against Costco allowed Tiffany to take Costco before a jury to seek damages, including recovery of Costco’s profits from the sale of the diamond rings, statutory damages, and punitive damages. After several delays, the jury finally met at the end of September for “Phase I” of the trial during which they decided (1) the amount of Costco’s profits and statutory damages under the Federal Lanham Act, and (2) whether Tiffany was entitled to punitive damages.
Fall 2016 (snippets)
The Trans-Pacific Partnership was the latest in a series of multination international agreements aimed at reducing trade barriers and promoting global free trade. However, the subject matter scope of this agreement and the secrecy with which it was negotiated have engendered deep suspicions from a variety of groups regarding whether its goal is truly free trade or whether there are more nefarious motivations behind it. And with the election of Donald Trump, these efforts have apparently amounted to nothing.
Summer 2016 (snippets)
Despite potential costs, startups can benefit from obtaining IP rights. Not only can IP protection potentially block others from negatively impacting the startup, it can also be seen as valuable property rights by investors. A startup can even potentially monetize IP rights through licenses or sales.
Summer 2016 (snippets)
As 3D printing changes the way that companies (and consumers) manufacture articles, it will also have a significant impact on how enterprises can protect their intellectual property and enforce their rights.
June 27, 2016 (snippets Alert)
MBHB snippets Alert - June 27, 2016

By now, everyone has likely heard about the United Kingdom’s vote last week to leave the European Union. Few things are certain at this time, as governments around the world are still making plans to deal with Brexit. Once the UK formally requests withdrawal (which may still be months away), its transition out of the EU will be a lengthy process. As of now, no laws have changed as a result of the UK vote last week. We therefore do not recommend taking any drastic action at this time. We do, however, recommend that any businesses with a presence in the EU begin planning for the changes that will ultimately affect trademark and design rights in Europe.
Spring 2016 (snippets)
On March 23, 2016, new rules came into effect substantially amending the Community trademark system in the European Union (the “amended Regulations”).  In this article, we discuss a number of points potentially relevant to U.S. brand owners, including (1) changes in terminology, (2) changes in fees, and, perhaps most important, (3) potential changes to the scope of protection of existing trademark registrations in the European Union.
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