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Entertainment and Sports Law Intellectual Property Litigation Trademarks

Trademark Board’s Precedential Ruling on Use in Commerce

In a nearly 50-page precedential opinion in a ruling of great significance to the entertainment industry, a TTAB panel of judges recently underscored the need to prove actual use in commerce in order to register a trademark, regardless of how low the standard for use under the Lanham Act has recently become.

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In a nearly 50-page precedential opinion, a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) panel of judges recently underscored the need to prove actual use in commerce in order to register a trademark, regardless of how low the standard for use under the Lanham Act has recently become. In ruling also of great significance to the entertainment industry, the TTAB panel ordered cancellation of a registration for TAO VODKA for alcoholic beverages, excluding beer, because the registrant had not used the trademark in commerce as of the filing of its declaration of use, and the trademark was likely to cause confusion with the registered mark TAO for restaurants and nightclubs, which the TTAB held is famous. Tao Licensing LLC v. Bender Consulting d/b/a Asia Pacific Beverages, 92057132 (TTAB 2017).

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