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Business Torts
UMKC School of Law
Abdel-Khalik, Jasmine C.

Do I Have Rights (Acquiring Rights)
       I.            LA, §45: A TM is any word, name, symbol, device, or combo used by a person to identify and distinguish his goods
a.       Must be a physically tangible object
b.      Color, Sound, Fragrance (Qualitex)(P Qualitex’s use of special shade of green/gold on pads that it makes and sells to dry cleaning firms for use on dry cleaning press)
                                                              i.      Definition of TM created to be as broad as possible
                                                            ii.      Must function as a source identifier to consumers
                                                          iii.      Must be Non-Functional
1.      Can’t let someone monopolize a color that serves a function
c.       Used by a person in commerce or w/ the intent to use
d.      Must act as a source identifier
    II.            Distinctiveness (Abercrombie): Talk about this in source identification
a.       Must look at TM in connection w/ goods or service
                                                              i.      Ex. Ivory tusks vs. Ivory soap (FN 6, after Abercrombie)
b.      Inherently Distinctive Marks are automatically protectable
                                                              i.      For non word marks, i.e. logos, the Seabrook Test controls whether or not inherently distinctive
1.      Not if the logo is a common or basic shape
a.       Stylized shape can be inherently distinctive if the design is unique and not commonplace (Bacardi)
b.      Color and design cannot be inherently distinctive (Walmart)
2.      Not if the logo is mere refinement of a commonly adopted ornamentation
3.      May be if unique or unusual, OR
4.      Capable of creating a commercial impression distinct from the accompanying words
c.       Categories of Distinctiveness (Abercrombie)
                                                              i.      Arbitrary/Fanciful: Inherently distinctive
1.      Arbitrary: Denotes common word used in a totally unexpected way
a.       Ex. Apple computers
2.      Fanciful: Word that never existed before it was created
a.       Ex. Clorox, Kodak
                                                            ii.      Suggestive: Inherently Distinctive
1.      Suggests, but does not describe outright the characteristics of the goods or services
2.      Takes an additional step in the though process to relate the word to the good
a.       Ex. Chicken of the Sea
                                                          iii.      Descriptive: Must acquire secondary meaning to get protection
1.      Describes characteristic about product
2.      Public sees it as source identifying rather than merely just a product
a.       Ex. Raisin Bran, Chapstick
3.      Is the mark descriptive? (Zatarains)
a.       Tests
                                                                                                                                      i.      Dictionary Test: Public’s perception
1.      Ordinary significance/meaning of the word in the public’s eye
2.      Even if you intentionally misspell the word in your mark, the court will look up the word according to the appropriate spelling
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Imagination Test: Public’s perception
1.      Measure the relationship b/t the actual words of the mark and the product to which they are applied
2.      If a term requires imagination and thought = suggestive
3.      If, standing alone, it conveys info to characteristics = descriptive
                                                                                                                                  iii.      Competitors’ Needs: Competitor perception
1.      Whether competitors would use the terms in the mark in describing their products
2.      Test: If competitors would like to use it, not b/c they want a free ride, but b/c the connection b/t the good and the mark is so clear and strong
                                                                                                                                  iv.      Actual Use by Competitors: Competitor perception
1.      Extent to which a term has actually been used by others marketing a similar service or product
4.      Acquiring Secondary Meaning: If mark is descriptive, must acquire secondary meaning to show producer made the connection in the public mind (Blinded Veterans)
a.       De Facto Secondary Meaning: General public can still have an association and understanding when they see a generic term that it comes from one source
                                                                                                                                      i.      Test:
1.      If there is consumer confusion or likelihood of confusion arising out of the failure of the D to adequately ID itself as a source of the product
2.      Different colors and packaging to make sure the public knows it is a different source when marketing a generic product
b.      Showing Secondary Meaning
                                                                                                                                      i.      Circumstantial Evidence
1.      Amount and manner or advertising**
2.      Volume of sales**
3.      Length of use**
a.       No amount required, presumption = 5 years
4.      Established place in the market
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Direct Evidence
1.      Customer surveys
a.       Tough b/c people try to disguise data
b.      Must have benchmarks
2.      Direct testimony
a.       Can be skewed
                                                          iv.      Generic
1.      Primary Significance Test (Kellogg)
a.       If primary significance is to describe product rather than the producer, the TM is generic
2.      If a producer introduces a product that differs from an established product in a particular characteristic and then uses a common descriptive term for the name of that product, that product has its own genus
a.       No protection b/c too useful in identifying the specific product

use in commerce
a.       First to use the Good: Mark must be associated with the goods and sold or transported
b.      First to use the Service: Must advertise w/ mark and when service is being used, must display mark
2.      Need actual use by person asserting rights
a.       Intended future use NOT enough
3.      Tests
a.       Totality of Circumstances (Planetary Motion)
                                                                                                                                      i.      Adoption of mark as required by LA §45
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Use in commerce sufficient to identify goods and the source in the mind of the public
b.      Market Penetration (Lucent)
                                                                                                                                      i.      Volume of sales of the TM product
                                                                                                                                    ii.      Growth trends in the area (Both positive and negative)
                                                                                                                                  iii.      Numbers of persons actually purchasing the production in relation to potential number of customers
                                                                                                                                  iv.      Amount of product in the advertising area
                                                            ii.      Constructive Use: LA §1(b)
1.      For registration only
2.      Allows priority before actual use
a.       Must sign an oath and must use it before you get registration
3.      Can file as soon as you have bona fide intent to use
4.      Registration of a domain name is NOT enough (Brookfield)
5.      Mark is deemed in use as of the application filing date
a.       Have 6 months to prove it is used in commerce
                                                                                                                                      i.      Can be extended to 24 months if a good faith reason is provided
                                                          iii.      Token Use: NOT use
1.      A few sales (i.e. selling to some friends) is not sufficient to show public perception (Zazu)
2.      Sending stuff intercompany is not enough either (Bluebell)