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Wang IP Law Blog faces backlash over trademark lawsuits

Outdoor enthusiasts might be surprised to learn that is facing heavy public backlash for filing a series of lawsuits against other businesses with similar names. The retail giant trademarked the word "backcountry" in 2018 to protect its new line of outdoor clothing and equipment.

According to multiple media outlets, Salt Lake City-based starting filing trademark lawsuits against smaller companies with "backcountry" in their names last year. So far, it has filed suits against Colorado-based Cripple Creek Backcountry, Michigan ski manufacturer Marquette Backcountry, Utah's electric bike manufacturer Backcountry eBikes, an avalanche education group called Backcountry Babes and a small coffee company called Backcountry Nitro. As a result of the suits, which were filed in federal court, two of the companies have already changed their names.

Singer Katy Perry locked in intellectual property disputes

California native singer Katy Perry is known around the world for her catchy, pop-oriented tunes. However, she is now involved in several intellectual property disputes in both the United States and Australia. An Australian fashion designer named Katie Perry is suing the singer for launching her own clothing line in Australia, claiming that she owns the trademark on the term "Katie Perry" for clothing sold in Australia. Katie Perry claims that the singer's stage name, Katy Perry, could easily be confused with her brand within the market, and that the singer is infringing her trademark.

This is not the first time the two have clashed. Katie Perry began producing clothing in 2006, while Katy Perry came to global fame in 2008. In 2009, the fashion designer attempted to trademark her name as a brand in Australia, and the singer's lawyers filed an objection. The singer was convinced to drop her opposition to the designer's trademark application, a decision she may regret 10 years later. The 2009 case was portrayed as a "David-vs.-Goliath" issue of a private citizen facing celebrity overreach. Now, singer Katy Perry is being sued for allegedly violating designer Katie Perry's trademark. Of course, the question is further confused because both people have similar-sounding names, although the singer's original name was Katy Hudson.

Beer industry brews many intellectual property disputes

Craft breweries have become a common part of the business landscape in California, and their product names and labels have increasingly become the subject of intellectual property infringement litigation. Their marketing tactics may run afoul of other breweries, but sometimes brewers trigger conflict with other brands. Such is the case right now for Anheuser-Busch, who has been sued by Patagonia. Similarly, the musicians of Guns 'N' Roses have taken legal action against Canarchy over their Oskar Blues Guns 'N' Rosé ale.

The financial costs can be substantial when brewers infringe on copyrights or trademarks. A copyright protects an owner's creative works that have been fixed in a tangible format. Trademarks, on the other hand, are markings used by companies to communicate brand identities to consumers. When a brewery infringes on the intellectual property of another, the infringing company incurs losses related to removing products from sale and redesigning product packaging as well as any applicable legal costs.

Under Armour files trademark infringement lawsuit

Under Armour is an apparel manufacturer that specializes in sportswear and footwear. The company, which is based in Baltimore, filed a lawsuit on Oct. 8 against a company it says has violated its trademark.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Under Armour alleges that the Colorado company Ageas has been selling sportswear, similar to that sold by Under Armour, under the brand "Hotsuit" with a logo that resembles Under Armour's logo. The lawsuit claims that the use of the logo has created confusion in the marketplace and unfairly raises the infringing company's profile while harming both Under Armour and unwitting consumers.

'Charlie Brown Christmas' theme copyright holders sue Dollywood

Many people in California immediately recognize the melody for "Christmas Time is Here." Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi composed this theme music for the CBS special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" that first broadcasted in 1965. The copyright holder, Lee Mendelson Film Productions, has filed a lawsuit against Dollywood, alleging that the theme park used the iconic theme music without license in multiple live theater Christmas productions. Court papers detail the claim that Dollywood show producers ignored repeated warnings that they were using the music without permission.

The use of copyrighted material in live public performances requires the copyright holder to grant specific permission for use. According to the lawsuit, Dollywood committed willful copyright infringement as they never sought permission despite being given notice to do so. The plaintiff provided evidence that Dollywood had used the music without permission for years. A 2007 YouTube video clip of a Dollywood show included the music.

How can I deal with negative reviews?

The internet is a great tool for consumers. Not only does it allow them to search for local services and goods, it also provides a platform for their voices to be heard. While this is great when customers have positive feedback for your business, many business owners are unsure of how to respond after receiving a negative review. Entrepreneur offers the following advice on how to handle poor customer reviews in the best way possible.

As soon as you read a negative review, begin immediately formulating a response. The faster you respond, the sooner you'll get control over the situation. However, when responding, it is important to keep levelheaded and refrain from acting in an angry or frustrated manner. Even if the feedback is baseless, you must still treat the reviewer with respect and dignity. Offer an apology, if appropriate, and detail how you plan on rectifying the issue.

Why you should file a provisional patent now

New emerging technologies have created an explosion of new innovations, especially in the research and development departments of companies around the world. For business owners and entrepreneurs seeking to launch new inventions, it can feel like a race to get your idea to the marketplace.

As such, you may want to consider filing a provisional patent now rather than filing for a non-provisional or full patent, a longer process that can take years to complete.

Can employers give bad references about former workers?

Employers would often contact an applicant's previous place of employment as a common measure in the hiring process. While many people claim that former employers are not allowed to disclose certain details, this is not exactly true. The Balance outlines the scope of what former employers are allowed to disclose when asked about employees, as well as mitigating measures against any potential legal issues.

While laws vary from state to state, it's not true that employers are restricted to disclose only certain pieces of information. In fact, employers may disclose the fact that the former employee was fired, as well as providing a reason for the firing. They can disclose information about an employee's performance, including repeated absences and tardiness, or misconduct in general. Additionally, they may also talk about responsibilities at work, specific job titles, and compensation.

How older adults become effective entrepreneurs

There is a common perception that entrepreneurs are young, innovative minds who are chasing their dreams at any cost. But why can an older adult do the same? Anyone can pursue their entrepreneurship at any age.

Luckily, there are advantages to starting a business later in life instead of beginning your startup straight after college. According to Forbes, there are at least four distinct business qualities that only get better with age.

Can you trademark a color?

Many iconic brands are associated with a specific color scheme, which becomes part of the business's or product's image. As a result, these companies may feel it is prudent to protect a specific color to prevent competitors from using it to mislead consumers. This legal tactic has had varying levels of success, as explained by Business Insider.

It's important to understand what trademarks entail in such a case. This is distinguished from registering a copyright on a color, which would mean only your business would have a right to use that color for advertising. Rather, a trademark protects the way color is used in a particular industry, such as a certain shade or color combination that represents the brand. This often takes a number of design elements into account, with color being an essential component.

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