Hot Topics in Trademark Law 2015 Series: The Supreme Court Provides Guidance Regarding The Impact Of

December 1, 2015
Hot Topics in Trademark Law 2015 Series: The Supreme Court Provides Guidance Regarding The Impact Of TTAB Rulings And The Role Of Juries In Determining Tacking

Note: We have had a number of significant trademark-related decisions handed down in 2015, including two from the U.S. Supreme Court and several from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and other Circuit Courts. Going forward, these rulings will impact how parties protect their trademark assets, including in particular the strategies that parties will need to employ to maximize their likelihood of success in litigation.

This is the first of a blog series that will review and discuss these decisions. To follow the entire blog series, click here. For more information, contact Kevin O’Shea.

After a 10-year hiatus from trademark law, the Supreme Court this year issued two decisions addressing trademark issues. In one case, the Supreme Court provided guidance regarding the impact of TTAB rulings in subsequent district court litigation. Another case addresses the role of juries in determining whether “tacking” is warranted. The second case will have a narrower impact going forward simply because tacking arises less frequently. Nevertheless, it is notable that the Supreme Court issued two trademark rulings in a single year, particularly because another trademark issue – when is a case “exceptional” under the Lanham Act – may make its way to the Supreme Court in the next few years if the Circuits split as to how this provision should be construed and applied in litigation.

In the next two blog posts, we will address each of the Supreme Court’s rulings, first summarizing the background of the case, followed by an explanation of the strategic impact of the ruling. To follow the entire blog series, click here.


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