Litigation Planning for Licensing Attorneys Michael G. Atkins Graham & Dunn PC December 15, 2008
Naked Licensing of Trademarks
Definition of naked licensing <ul><li>Approving use of one’s trademark without exercising control over the quality of the ...
Trademark principles <ul><li>A trademark: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Symbolizes goodwill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assures con...
Example of naked licensing <ul><li>“Give me some loot and use the name.” </li></ul><ul><li>TTAB found petitioner engaged i...
Abandonment of trademark rights <ul><li>Failure to exercise quality control may cause licensed mark to stop functioning as...
Insufficient quality control <ul><li>Licensor informally tasted wine connected with licensed mark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>De...
What control is sufficient? <ul><li>Quality better than or equal to existing goods/services offered by licensor </li></ul>...
Right to control quality is inherent <ul><li>Right to control quality stems from trademark law, not license agreement </li...
Recent case law <ul><li>Halo Management v. Interland , 2004 WL 1781013 (N.D. Calif.) </li></ul><ul><li>License agreement r...
Recent case law <ul><li>Bach v. Forever Living Prods. , 473 F.Supp.2d 1110 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (Pechman, J.) </li></ul><ul><...
Recent case law <ul><li>Experience Hendrix v. Electric Hendrix ,  2008 WL 3243896 (W.D. Wash.) (Zilly, J.) </li></ul><ul><...
Questions? <ul><li>Michael Atkins </li></ul><ul><li>Graham & Dunn PC </li></ul><ul><li>(206) 340-9614 </li></ul><ul><li>[e...
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Litigation Planning For Licensing Attorneys

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Litigation Planning For Licensing Attorneys

  1. 1. Litigation Planning for Licensing Attorneys Michael G. Atkins Graham & Dunn PC December 15, 2008
  2. 2. Naked Licensing of Trademarks
  3. 3. Definition of naked licensing <ul><li>Approving use of one’s trademark without exercising control over the quality of the goods or services provided under the mark </li></ul>
  4. 4. Trademark principles <ul><li>A trademark: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Symbolizes goodwill </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assures consistency of quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourages brand loyalty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoids consumer confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Licensor must control quality of goods/services sold under licensed mark to maintain these principles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Naked licensing is “inherently deceptive” </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Example of naked licensing <ul><li>“Give me some loot and use the name.” </li></ul><ul><li>TTAB found petitioner engaged in “inadequately controlled licensing” of PIED PIPERS mark </li></ul><ul><li>Owner Clark Yocum abandoned rights in mark </li></ul><ul><li>Yocum v. Covington , 216 U.S.P.Q. 210 (TTAB 1982) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Abandonment of trademark rights <ul><li>Failure to exercise quality control may cause licensed mark to stop functioning as trademark </li></ul><ul><li>Owner is estopped from asserting rights in trademark </li></ul><ul><li>Mark is deemed abandoned without owner’s subjective intent to do so </li></ul>
  7. 7. Insufficient quality control <ul><li>Licensor informally tasted wine connected with licensed mark </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Determined wine was “good” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Licensor relied on licensee’s reputation as a world-famous winemaker </li></ul><ul><li>Held: Abandonment found; S/J against licensor affirmed </li></ul><ul><li>Barcamerica v. Tyfield , </li></ul><ul><li>289 F.3d 589 (9 th Cir. 2002) </li></ul>
  8. 8. What control is sufficient? <ul><li>Quality better than or equal to existing goods/services offered by licensor </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Define how quality is judged </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Objective or subjective measures </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Define inspection process/representative samples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Right to review customer comments </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Circumstances dictate level of control </li></ul>
  9. 9. Right to control quality is inherent <ul><li>Right to control quality stems from trademark law, not license agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Contractual silence does not amount to naked licensing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercise of control is what’s important </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Licensor can block unwanted sublicenses even if sublicenses are permitted </li></ul><ul><li>Miller v. Glenn Miller , </li></ul><ul><li>454 F.3d 975 (9 th Cir. 2006) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Recent case law <ul><li>Halo Management v. Interland , 2004 WL 1781013 (N.D. Calif.) </li></ul><ul><li>License agreement required licensee to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Employ reasonable commercial efforts to maintain positive business value of HALO mark” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To limit mark use to that as shown in pending applications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>To mitigate confusion or likelihood of confusion </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Held: Defendants’ S/J motion to dismiss owner’s infringement claim granted </li></ul>
  11. 11. Recent case law <ul><li>Bach v. Forever Living Prods. , 473 F.Supp.2d 1110 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (Pechman, J.) </li></ul><ul><li>No express quality control provision </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trademark owner reserved “moral rights” in copyrighted work that served as trademark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Owner would “establish and protect validity of rights” if attacked by third parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In separate agreement, owner reserved right to veto change in movie title and to approve score to movie </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Held: Defendants’ S/J motion to dismiss owner’s infringement claim denied </li></ul>
  12. 12. Recent case law <ul><li>Experience Hendrix v. Electric Hendrix , 2008 WL 3243896 (W.D. Wash.) (Zilly, J.) </li></ul><ul><li>Quality control procedures, including inspection of prospective licensee prototypes to ensure mark properly displayed and that Jimi Hendrix not placed in a bad light, deemed sufficient </li></ul><ul><li>Held: Owner’s S/J motion to dismiss naked licensing counterclaim granted </li></ul>
  13. 13. Questions? <ul><li>Michael Atkins </li></ul><ul><li>Graham & Dunn PC </li></ul><ul><li>(206) 340-9614 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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