Friday, May 29, 2009

INTA - Seattle, May 16 - 20, 2009

(The photo above shows the front of the Washington Convention Center, the venue of this year's Annual Meeting of the INTA) and the adjacent atrium roof which it shares with the Cheesecake Factory directly across the street)

The Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA) was held this year in Seattle, Washington. This is the third time the INTA has been held in this Amazing City in the Pacific Northwest, all three of which I've been fortunate to attend.

Below are several photographs which predominantly display the sights and scenes of this truly American city. Rather than focus on the topics of the conference seminars... yeah... which we can cover on another occasion, this blog post is intended simply to entertain and enlighten the reader on some of the highlights of our recent trip. So sit back and relax and make room for some coffee, donuts and pizza... and baseball and boating and festivals.

(Photo above shows signage above the famed Pike St. Market)

(Photo above shows a typical bouquet of fresh flowers available at the Pike St. Mkt.)

(Photo below shows what the Pike St. Market is truly famous for: fresh fish. At this time of year, especially, you can see for yourself the catch of the day, Copper River Salmon, which is very expensive, as you can tell from the posted prices)

(Photo below is the signage for TOP POT DONUTS, which has a great backstory, and which this writer serendipitously just happened along while walking toward the Space Needle when he spied this shop on 5th St.,

(This next photo shows the TOP POT DONUTS Classic, Old School "Glazed Ring" Donut, sans one delicious bite)

(Batter up ! This next photo was taken above home plate, well above home plate, at Seattle's Safeco Field, home of the Mariners. Photo taken 05.18.09, during Mariner's home game vs. Angels. Two highlights: Ken Griffey, Jr. got his 2,700th MLB hit; and the Angels blasted the Mariners, 10 - 6.

(Later that same evening, downtown, in the rain, I captured this photo of a downtown street scene lit up with neon and lights with the PUBLIC MARKET of Pike St. in the distance)

(On Tuesday, May 19th, I visited Starbucks HQ and got a private tour by a colleague who works there and was fortunate to be there when they were introducing the new ice cream supplier for the STARBUCKS ice cream line, namely, Unilever... and the results were delicious with caramel and creme, as well as their famed "Java Chip" being served up for all the employees and guests. Additionally, I got to try a cup of coffee brewed from Starbucks recent individual trademark and patent protected coffee machine, namely, CLOVER®. Consensus: Smooth and Strong)

(On Friday, May 22nd, I visited the site of the Seattle Center and Space Needle, where the first day of the annual 3 day Northwest Folklore Festival was in progress and lo and behold, another Seattle based Donut shop had a booth there. "Mighty-O donuts" captured my attention with their banner and their philosophy of: Vegan - Organic - No Trans Fats. Kind of the Kurt Kobain take on donut making, as opposed to TOP POT which is really a combination of Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

(Sat., May 23rd, below, shows the Seattle skyline on our return from a brief boat trip out to Bainbridge Island and back)

(Around the corner from TOP POT DONUTS on 5th St., I spied this restaurant sign that said "Serious pie." What was I to think ? Naturally, I was hoping for fresh peach pie. I was wrong as you will see in the next photo showing the pizza pie I enjoyed there on 05.23.09)

(So I told the manager-owner, that I had tried Pizzeria Mozza in L.A. and he said that theirs was better... so I put them to the test and you know what, "This pizza below was Better !" Thin crust baked in a wood fired oven, this seriously spectacular pizza pie included: Buffalo Mozzarella, San Marzano Tomato, plus I added Coppa (a thinly sliced and cured ham.
Wow !)

And so this story comes to an end with a Saturday evening flight back to LAX, on 05.23, and then I noticed off the port wing.... Mt. Rainier:

Until the next post.....

William E. Maguire,
Los Angeles, Calif.

Monday, May 04, 2009

The Famous DOBBS Trademark Case

(Photo shows a classic DOBBS® Grey Fedora hat; Photo source: eBay)

Our Hat is off to the Court on this one. DOBBS® hats, of course, are right up there with Stetson® and Mallory® in the annals of Hatdom.

In this brief blog post, we will comment on a seminal trademark case from 1933 that is a virtual classic trademark case discussing surnames as trademarks and the efficacy of disclaimers. For illustrative and fair use purposes only, several photos of a classic Dobbs® fedora hat and DOBBS® hat box are also included herein for your academic and scholarly attention.

This writer first became familiar with the famed Dobbs hat case in the Fall of 1990 while studying trademark law under the guidance of Adj. Professors Ray Geraldson and Mark V.B. Partridge at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, in the school's LL.M, Intellectual Property program. The DOBBS® Hat case was a case that was briefed and discussed early on that fall in the substantive course of Trademark Law. The case citation for this Dobbs matter is Hat Corp. of America v. D.L. Davis Corp., 4 F. Supp. 613 (D.Conn.1933) (hereinafter, DOBBS Case). In the Dobbs case, the court granted an absolute injunction forbidding the use of the name "Dobbs" on hats by the junior user. This extended even to a disclaimer proposed by the defendant. The disclaimer used by the defendant had been: "Not connected with the original Dobbs". But the Court reasoned that: "Confusion is created by the very explanation to avert confusion."

As for the particular facts of the case with respect to the plaintiff's prior rights to the DOBBS® trademark and the defendant's use of "Wm H. Dobbs" on the sweatbands of hats and on the hat boxes, the court stated: "The facts of the case at bar are such that Wm. H. Dobbs himself could not use the name "Dobbs" in the marking of hats publicly offered for sale or in advertising hats for sale, without deceiving and confusing the public to the plaintiff's damage."

The court then directed its attention to the disclaimer, referred to in this case as an "explanatory suffix", and whether its use would suffice to avoid the confusion. DOBBS was understood by all parties to be the surname of the founder of the Dobbs hat company (Dobbs & Co.), the predecessor in interest to the current plaintiff. With respect to the Dobbs surname, the court ruled: "The surname alone remains in the public mind as an identification mark about which cluster associated ideas such as quality and style in headgear. The name has become a purely impersonal symbol." The court further reasoned, with respect to the defendant's use of "Wm. H. Dobbs", that: Precisely the same images are evoked by the sight or sound of "Wm. H. Dobbs," and the effect is no different if followed by such a phrase as "not connected with the original Dobbs. For the eye of the purchaser, long taught to identify the product by the name Dobbs alone, promptly registers the identity as complete upon catching the surname without noticing and pondering the significance of initials or suffix." For this and like reasons, the court then reasoned: "Confusion is created by the very explanation intended to avert confusion."

(Photo of DOBBS® hat and hat box; Photo source: eBay)

The photo above shows the classic evidence of use of a trademark in connection with the sale of hats, e.g., on the hat box, and as seen in the photo below, in the lining on the inside of the hat.

(Photo of underside of DOBBS® hat which shows the use of the trademark, DOBBS®, on the inner lining; Photo source: eBay).

Finally and notably, the court was so convinced of the likelihood of confusion that it issued a very expansive and exacting injunction, as follows: "...that an injunction may issue against this defendant, without the limitations to which Wm. H. Dobbs would be entitled, wholly restraining it from all use whatsoever of the name "Dobbs," whether refixed by initials or given names, or suffixed by explanations, either imprinted on any hats which it manufactures or sells or offers for sale, or on the containers thereof, or in advertising the same or otherwise in connection with its operations in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of hats."

Postscript: Attached hereto is one of the long standing and renewed DOBBS® registration records from Interestingly, a few of the original registrations have been cancelled for failure to renew. Nevertheless, use seems to date back to as early as 1908 for this famous DOBBS® hat trademark.

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Until next time,....please remember:

is here for you !

Respectfully submitted,

William E. Maguire, Esq.
Los Angeles, Calif.

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