Back to Blogging and Trademark Battle Updates

Hello DuetsBlog readers! As Steve recently said, we continue to be thankful that you’ve stuck with us, including during our pause and transition to our new firm. I’m so excited to be part of the amazing team of people at Greenberg Traurig, and to continue reaching new heights in our trademark practice.

Although our blogging team is still getting off the ground, it’s great to see we’re still a top-ranked blog, so thanks for continuing to read. For my first post, I’ll share a couple updates on my most recent posts since we went offline.

But before the trademark updates, I hope all of our readers are staying healthy and safe. The growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affects all of us, including the legal field, but we will get through it together. So far, many courts have ordered temporary stays and other protective measures to deal with this health crisis, such as postponing in-person hearings.

I’ve noticed that, even in contentious litigation, people have generally been quite cooperative with adjusting case schedules and modifying procedures in response to the pandemic to support public health and safety.

One notable exception is this recent story of a litigant who lost perspective of what was actually an “emergency” in a counterfeiting case involving unicorn drawings. The plaintiff filed an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order, followed by another emergency motion to reconsider the scheduling of the hearing on that TRO motion, which the court had set back a few weeks for safety reasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The court unsurprisingly denied the motions, noting that the plaintiff should “keep in perspective the costs and benefits of forcing everyone to drop what they’re doing to stop the sale of knock-off unicorn products, in the midst of a pandemic.” The court concluded that the plaintiff “should stop,” as “the world is facing a real emergency,” but “plaintiff is not.” (Thanks Kyle Kroll for sharing.) That is a good reminder to maintain a clear perspective on the important things in life, especially now. For more on adjusting our perspective during these difficult times, see this very helpful blog post, which was written recently by a doctor at Mayo. (Thanks Steve for sharing.)

In other news, here the trademark updates from a couple of my most recent posts before the break.

MoMA v. MoMaCha: Several of my previous posts followed the trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”) against the cafe and art gallery, MoMaCha, in New York City. Since my last post, which covered the court granting MoMA’s motion for a preliminary injunction, the parties settled and stipulated to an order granting a permanent injunction in November 2018, which restrained the defendant from further use of the name MoMaCha. Soon after, MoMaCha rebranded to the slightly different name “MaMaCha.” However, their cafe business, which sold CBD-infused hemp drinks, did not last long under the new name. The cafe was permanently closed in July 2019 amid a CBD crackdown by the New York City Department of Health.

Wine Spectator v. Weed Spectator: My last post discussed the trademark infringement complaint filed by M. Shanken Communications, publisher of Wine Spectator (a popular magazine, website and mobile app that offers wine ratings on a 100-point scale) against California-based Modern Wellness, Inc., who used the name “Weed Spectator” for ratings of cannabis. The complaint alleged claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and dilution. The infringement claim raised interesting questions about the relatedness between wine and cannabis. Unfortunately for us, those questions remain unanswered, as the parties reached a confidential settlement agreement. We could speculate, however, that the settlement agreement favored Wine Spectator, and required Modern Wellness to cease using “Weed Spectator,” because their website (weedspectator.com) and Facebook page under that name are no longer accessible.

Until next time, thanks again for reading, and please stay safe out there.

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