Monday, March 16, 2015

A practical lesson in trade dress, for sports


Maybe there's a reason why trademarks matter. On Saturday night, as I rode in on the DC Metro to the bars, a man saw my Washington Nationals' cap and kept saying "Wisconsin".

No, he didn't know that the curly-W was the Washington National's trademark, or at least the trade dress.

Yes, the appearance of a mark identifies the brand.

The hat got attention at the Town DC, too.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cato plays devil's advocate on patent reform in international areas


Lego is trying to ban the import of certain competing toy products, especially those marketed toward girls.  Cato Institute reports the matter here in a piece by K. William Watson.  He then goes into discussion of whether the International Trade Commission should get into “protectionist” disputes.  Cato argues that government agencies should not be settling international patent disputes;  court reform should happen instead.
  
One incongruity is that Lego’s patent for its “toy building block” had expired in 1988,