Supreme Court Acts

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by utilizer, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. utilizer macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    In Atlanta!
    #1
    A thought entered my mind after reading this article in this afternoon's edition of the WSJ. Looks like this could have implications over here with the dispute between Apple Computer and Apple Corps. in England. Just wondering how much of an impact it will truly have, taking into account to the degree in the English courts have discretion over this lawsuit.

    Here's the piece:
    Supreme Court Limits
    Some Trademark Claims

    By MARK H. ANDERSON
    DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
    December 8, 2004 11:38 a.m.

    WASHINGTON -- Rejecting a ruling by a lower court, the Supreme Court Wednesday limited the circumstances under which companies with trademarked marketing terms can bar competitors from using similar words in advertisements.

    The 9-0 opinion threw out a ruling by the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco that had made it easier for companies with trademarks to allege infringement. The case involves the niche industry of permanent makeup inks and whether one company's trademark for the term "micro color" prevents a competitor from also using the words.

    Put into a broader context, the Supreme Court decision makes it harder for a company like Best Buy Co. Inc. to sue another electronics retailer for using the words "best buy" in an ad.

    The Supreme Court decision, written by Justice David Souter, said a company defending itself against a trademark-infringement claim can say it fairly used the disputed terms without having to prove consumers weren't confused by those ads. The burden of proving confusion, Justice Souter said, falls on the company alleging trademark infringement. Both fair use and confusion are key components of trademark law.

    "A plaintiff claiming infringement of an incontestable mark must show likelihood of consumer confusion," Justice Souter wrote. "The defendant has no independent burden to negate the likelihood of any confusion."

    The Supreme Court decision favors a more narrow interpretation of trademark law held by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, which also handles a number of trademark cases. The case now goes back to lower courts for additional legal proceedings. (KP Permanent Make-Up Inc. v. Lasting Impression I Inc.)
     
  2. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    Good, trade marking can go too far. Donald Trump tried to TM "You're Fired!"

    Do Apple Records have any other sources of income?
     
  3. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #3
    I agree. Though I know few that sell the same types of products that Best Buy sells, that would use the term "best buy" in their ad. Why help him with their advertising?
     
  4. palusami macrumors regular

    palusami

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    san jose, ca
    #4
    actually, frys, good guys, or any other electronics outlet could use the term "best buy" in their advertising in a purely descriptive manner; for instance, saying that a specific product is a best buy amongst others, or something similar.

    best buy should have picked a better trademark; something that's more distinctive; that's half the problem right there is companies picking descriptive marks as a key brand.
     
  5. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #5
    I know they could, so could I in the ads I create; but I know that we don't because we don't want to reinforce the "Best Buy brand".

    Actually Best Buy did well in selecting their name/TM IMO. It plants a subliminal message when the word "best buy" are used elsewhere.
     
  6. palusami macrumors regular

    palusami

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    san jose, ca
    #6
    right but if they try to enforce the brand, they'll have a difficult time since its descriptive and weak. Weak/descriptive marks are very difficult to defend.

    probably false advertising too since they often don't have the "best buys"...
    :p
     
  7. Xtremehkr macrumors 68000

    Xtremehkr

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #7
    Not sure, but Best Buy chose a good name. Even though it seems a little broad to trademark.
     
  8. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #8
    No kidding. "Best buy" was a common term long before Best Buy chose it as the name of their company. So if there were any confusion, whose fault would that be?

    Re: the Supreme Court decision...I'm not sure about it. While it makes perfect sense on the surface, a small company may not have the deep pockets to engage an encroacher in a potentially lengthy court battle, even if it has an obviously valid case.
     

Share This Page