Monday, January 05, 2009

Restaurant case illustrates many trademark issues; Business Week has slideshow on "David v. Goliath" cases


Stacy Perman reported (in Business Week) a complicated restaurant trademark case in Business Week back on May 30, 2008, “Wolfgang Puck v. Wolfgang Zwiener: two restaurant chains with similar names are about to square-off in a trademark infringement showdown,” link here.

The fact pattern is quite complicated, and involves questions such as geographical concentrations (in this case, New York and Los Angeles) and the use of personal names as marks. The article goes on to discuss the underlying philosophical and ethical issues in trademark law: the fact that businesses feel fiduciary pressure to protect their brands, but the tendency is to crowd out small businesses, often who do not have the resources to fight what seem like morally legitimate positions, even with respect to the newer problem of prospective infringement or dilution in view of the 2006 law.

The article leads to a “slide show” of “David v. Goliath” trademark cases, here. These include Vuitton, AOL and NavQuest, Starbucks and Conga, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

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