TRADEMARK LAW – FALL 2020


HOW TO READ THE SYLLABUS AND FIND THE READING ASSIGNMENTS

One assignment per class. Except as noted below, each assignment below corresponds tentatively to one class period, though the amount of material to be covered in class, the order of the assignments, and/or the contents of a particular assignment may be changed by prior announcement. Note, for example, that there will be more class meetings than there are assignments. Every effort will be made to incorporate new developments in trademark law into the Syllabus, where appropriate.

The casebook is online. The PART and page numbers listed below under “Beebe Casebook” refer to Barton Beebe – Trademark Law: An Open Source Casebook, Version 7.0.  This is a free, open set of materials.  See the Important Course Information page for information regarding how to access it and/or acquire a copy.

Extras. For some assignments, additional materials have been posted online. These are separately identified in each assignment.  They can be downloaded below and at the Important Course Information page.  In some instances the supplemental materials may be posted to the TWEN page for this course, on Westlaw.

Many of the assignments include, in the right column below, links to optional (but possibly entertaining and useful) supplemental material.  Some provides historical context for the assigned cases. Some consists of clips from motion pictures and television shows that illustrate related trademark themes.  In some cases, these, too, illustrate the assigned readings.  In some cases, they are (one hopes) funny takes on relevant legal points.  Some of the film clips contain spicy [NSFW] language, sounds, and/or images.

Look up the statute. Within each assignment, the Syllabus notes the required reading, including the principal case(s) covered in the text. In addition to the assigned readings, where a case or other material refers to the Lanham Act (Title 15 of the United States Code), students are responsible for locating and reading the section(s) of the Act to which the text refers.  At least two, free online resources are available for that purpose:  One is this free, online version of the Lanham Act.  Two is Intellectual Property: Law & The Information Society / Selected Statutes & Treaties / 2019 Edition (James Boyle & Jennifer Jenkins, eds.). 

Have some theory! For several of the units of reading, optional law review articles are included. Some of these are relatively short. Some are quite long. Reading some or all of them will give students a deeper picture of the current state of trademark law and policy than students will get by focusing on appellate cases and the statute alone.

Why the optional materials? Learning and knowing the law is difficult, but it is never enough. Great lawyers need to learn and know context. Trademark conflicts and trademark negotiations exist in companies, in markets, and among human beings. Trademark law exists to solve social problems (as a solution, it may not work terribly well, and it may create additional problems, but we start by talking about the problems that trademark evolved to solve). History matters. Culture matters. Economics and business matter. Systems matter. Other bodies of law matter, beyond trademark and beyond intellectual property. Great lawyers need to learn how to investigate those things and how they relate to their clients and the problems that their clients are trying to solve.


DAY BY DAY SYLLABUS AND READING ASSIGNMENTS


THE CLASSICAL OR TRADITIONAL MODEL OF TRADEMARK LAW BEGINS HERE

TOPIC 1:  THE PROBLEMS THAT TRADEMARK SOLVES

Optional legal scholarship: Glynn S. Lunney, Jr., Trademark Monopolies, 48 Emory L.J. 367 (1999)

Class 1 (the first day of class): The Foundations and Purposes of Trademark and Unfair Competition Law — Introduction and Illustrations

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook, Preface and Introduction, pages 11-30
  • (Supplemental download) Introduction to Goodwill [PDF] // [DOCX]
  • (Supplemental download) Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. v. Capece  [PDF] // [DOCX]
  • Brand vs. brand or mark vs. mark? [YouTube]:  I’m a Mac
  • Brands fighting back? Or marks in dialogue? [YouTube]:  I’m a PC
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 2: The Intersection of Law and Business: The Requirement that Trademarks Be Linked to “Goodwill,” and the Policing and Monitoring that Follow 

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART III, pages 625-653 (ITC Ltd. v. Punchgini, Inc.; Crash Dummy Movie, LLC v. Mattel, Inc.; FreecycleSunnyvale v. Freecycle Network; Sugar Busters LLC v. Brennan; Champion Spark Plug Co. v. Sanders; Davidoff & CIE, S.A. v. PLD Int’l Corp.) (Access the readings in the main files for the book, or download this section here: [PDF] // [DOCX])
  • BMW v. TurboSquid: a summary
  • Slides


TOPIC 2:  WHAT IS A TRADEMARK? CREATION OF TRADEMARK RIGHTS

Optional legal scholarship: Graeme B. Dinwoodie, The Death of Ontology: A Teleological Approach to Trademark Law, 84 Iowa L. Rev. 611 (1999)

Optional legal scholarship: Mark P. McKenna, The Normative Foundations of Trademark Law, 82 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1839 (2013)

Class 3: The Distinctiveness Spectrum

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 31-51 (Abercrombie & Fitch Co. v. Hunting World, Inc.; Zatarain’s, Inc. v. Oak Grove Smokehouse, Inc.; Innovation Ventures, LLC v. N.V.E., Inc.)
  • Slides

Class 4: Acquired Distinctiveness

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 51-76 and 91-96 (Frosty Treats Inc. v. Sony Computer Entertainment America; Cartier, Inc. v. Four Star Jewelry Creations, Inc.; Board of Supervisors for Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College v. Smack Apparel Co.; United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com B.V.)
  • Recommended (read on your own): Generic Marks and Further Classification Examples, Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 76-91, 94-96 (Frito-Lay North America, Inc. v. Princeton Vanguard, LLC (x2))
  • Slides

Class 5:  Distinctiveness and Non-Verbal Marks

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 96-97, 107-127, 127-128, 131-138 (Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co., Inc.; Wal‐Mart Stores, Inc. v. Samara Bros., Inc.; In re Slokevage; LVL XIII Brands, Inc. v. Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A.; McKernan v. Burek; Best Cellars, Inc. v. Wine Made Simple, Inc.; Fedders Corp. v. Elite Classics; In re SnoWizard, Inc.; In re Frankish Enterprises Ltd.; Fun-Damental Too, Ltd. v. Gemmy Industries Corp.; Amazing Spaces, Inc. v. Metro Mini Storage; Fiji Water Co., LLC v. Fiji Mineral Water USA, LLC; In re Frankish Enterprises Ltd.; Star Industries, Inc. v. Bacardi & Co. Ltd.)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 6: Bars to Protection: Utilitarian Functionality

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 143-164, 171-173 (In re Morton‐Norwich Products, Inc.; Inwood Labs., Inc. v. Ives Labs., Inc.; TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc.; Valu Engineering, Inc. v. Rexnord Corp.; Eppendorf-Netheler-Hinz GMBH v. Ritter GMBH; Specialized Seating, Inc. v. Greenwich Industries, L.P.)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 7: Bars to Protection: Aesthetic Functionality, Deceptive Marks, and False Suggestion of a Connection

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 173-199 (Pagliero v. Wallace China Co.; Wallace Int’l Silversmiths, Inc. v. Godinger Silver Art Co.; Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent America Holding, Inc.; In re Nieves & Nieves LLC)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 8: Bars to Protection: Disparaging and Scandalous Marks

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 199-227 (Matal v. Tam; Iancu v. Brunetti)
  • Slides

Class 9: Use

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 227-247 (Aycock Engineering, Inc. v. Airflite, Inc.; Couture v. Playdom, Inc.; Levy v. adidas AG; Planetary Motion, Inc. v. Techsplosion, Inc.)
  • Slides

Assignment Number One will be distributed around this time. The Assignment will be due on Friday, October 9, 2020.

Class 10: The Registration Process

Required Readings

Class 11: Geographic Scope of Trademark Rights

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART I, pages 277-309 (National Ass’n for Healthcare Communications, Inc. v. Central Arkansas Area Agency on Aging, Inc.; Stone Creek, Inc. v. Omnia Italian Design, Inc.; Person’s Co., Ltd. v. Christman; Grupo Gigante v. Dallo & Co., Inc.)
  • Slides

TOPIC 3:  ENFORCEMENT OF TRADEMARK RIGHTS

Optional legal scholarship: Mark A. Lemley & Mark McKenna, Irrelevant Confusion, 62 Stan. L. Rev. 413 (2010)

Class 12: Trademark Infringement – Use in Commerce and Likelihood of Confusion 

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 337-339, 348-376 (Radiance Foundation, Inc. v. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Borden Ice Cream Co. v. Borden’s Condensed Milk Co.; Polaroid Corp. v. Polarad Electronics Corp.; Virgin Enterprises Ltd. v. Nawab)
  • Slides

Class 13: Confusion-Based Infringement

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II pages 376-406 (Smith v. Wal‐Mart Stores, Inc.; Int’l Info. Sys. Sec. Certification Consortium, Inc. v. Sec. Univ., LLC; Board of Supervisors for Louisiana State University Agricultural & Mechanical College v. Smack Apparel Co.)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 14: Confusion-Based Infringement: Reverse Confusion and Reverse Passing Off

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 425-448 (Uber Promotions, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc.; Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.)
  • Slides

Class 15: Permissible Uses: Descriptive Fair Use

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART III, pages 539-561 (KP Permanent Make-Up, Inc. v. Lasting Impression I, Inc.; Dessert Beauty, Inc. v. Fox; SportFuel, Inc. v. Pepsico, Inc.; International Stamp Art v. U.S. Postal Service; Bell v. Harley Davidson Motor Co.; Fortune Dynamic, Inc. v. Victoria’s Secret)
  • Slides

CHANGES AND ADDITIONS TO THE CLASSICAL OR TRADITIONAL MODEL OF TRADEMARK LAW BEGIN HERE

TOPIC 4: NOVEL AND EXPANSIVE THEORIES OF TRADEMARK LIABILITY

Optional legal scholarship: Barton Beebe, Intellectual Property Law and the Sumptuary Code, 123 Harv. L. Rev. 809 (2010)

Class 16: Confusion Away from the Point of Sale

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 406-425 (Multi Time Machine v. Amazon.com; Ferrari S.P.A. v. Roberts)
  • Slides

Class 17: Non-Confusion-Based Trademark Liability Theories: Dilution by Blurring

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 450-478 (Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC; Nike, Inc. v. Nikepal Intern., Inc.; Starbucks Corp. v. Wolfe’s Borough Coffee, Inc.)
  • Slides

Assignment Number Two will be distributed around this time. The Assignment will be due on Friday, November 13, 2020.

Class 18: Non-Confusion-Based Trademark Liability Theories: Dilution by Tarnishment

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 479-488 (V Secret Catalogue, Inc. v. Moseley)
  • Slides

Class 19: Non-Confusion-Based Trademark Liability Theories: Cybersquatting

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 488-510 (Sporty’s Farm L.L.C. v. Sportsman’s Market, Inc.; Lamparello v. Falwell)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 20: Secondary Liability

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART II, pages 514-525 and 534-538 (Tiffany (NJ) Inc. v. eBay Inc.; Luxottica Group, S.P.A. v. Airport Mini Mall, LLC)
  • Slides

Class 21: Permissible Uses: Nominative Fair Use

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART III, pages 561-580 (Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. v. Tabari; Int’l Info. Sys. Sec. Certification Consortium, Inc. v. Sec. Univ., LLC; Liquid Glass Enterprises, Inc. v. Dr. Ing. h.c.F. Porsche AG; Toho Co., Ltd. v. William Morrow & Co., Inc.; Mattel, Inc. v. Walking Mountain Productions; Board of Supervisors for Louisiana State University & Mechanical College v. Smack Apparel Co.)
  • Slides

Optional Materials

Class 22: Permissible Uses: Expressive Uses

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART III, pages 580-619 (Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Haute Diggity Dog, LLC; MPS Entm’t, LLC v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc.; Gordon v. Drape Creative, Inc.; Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc.; VIP Products LLC v. Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc.; Louis Vuitton Malletier, S.A. v. Hyundai Motor Am.; Louis Vuitton Malletier v. My Other Bag)
  • Slides

Class 23: Remedies

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART VI, pages 792-813 (Herb Reed Enterprises, LLC v. Florida Entertainment Management, Inc.; adidas Am., Inc. v. Skechers USA, Inc.; Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.)
  • Slides

TOPIC 5: PRACTICALLY IMPORTANT ADDITIONAL ISSUES (time permitting)

Optional legal scholarship: Jessica Litman, Breakfast with Batman: The Public Interest in the Advertising Age, 108 Yale L.J. (1999).

Class 24: False Advertising, Endorsements, and Social Media

Required Readings

  • Beebe Casebook PART IV, pages 721-750 (In the Matter of Lord & Taylor, LLC)
  • Slides

Class 25: Right of Publicity

Assignment Number Three will be distributed during the last week of class. The Assignment will be due on the last day of exams, which is December 9, 2020.