Country Archer vs. Tillamook Country Smoker…are you confused?


, , , ,

Food fight!

Country Archer is a California-based purveyor of beef jerky.

Tillamook Country Smoker, based in Tillamook, Oregon, is one of the four largest purveyors of jerky in the United States.

On July 12, Tillamook Country Smoker received a demand letter from Country Archer accusing Tillamook’s new packaging of trademark infringement, copyright infringement, trade dress infringement and violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law.

Based on their belief that the demand letter was frivolous, Tillamook promptly filed this lawsuit seeking a declaration of non-infringement.

Take a look at the comparison images from the Complaint. Are you confused?

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 6.37.39 AM

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 6.37.55 AM

Tillamook Country Smoker, Inc. v. S & E Gourmet Cuts, Inc. et al

Court Case Number3:16-cv-01477-BR
File Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Plaintiff: Tillamook Country Smoker, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: J. Peter Staples, Susan D. Pitchford, Amelia S. Forsberg of Chernoff Vilhauer LLP
Defendant: S & E Gourmet Cuts, Inc. d/b/a Country Archer, Country Archer
Cause: Declaration of Non-Infringement of Trademarks, Declaration of Non-Infringement of Trade Dress, Declaration of Non-Infringement of Copyright, Declaration of Non-Infringement of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown



Sewing patterns lead to copyright lawsuit; functionality doctrine invoked?


, , , ,

This copyright lawsuit arises from the alleged infringement of sewing patterns. The Plaintiff, based in Eugene, Oregon, has sold sewing patterns since 1982. The Defendants, based in Georgia, are an online competitor allegedly selling unauthorized copies of the Plaintiff’s patterns.

Note that clothing design is usually held to be functional, and thus does not qualify for copyright protection. However, this lawsuit involves the patterns (drawings) themselves, not the clothing design shown therein.

Copyright in a work that portrays a useful article extends only to the artistic expression of the author of the pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. It does not extend to the design of the article that is portrayed. –

I think there can still be an argument made that the sewing patterns do not qualify for protection under 102(b), that they are an illustrated procedure or process for making a dress.

17 U.S. Code § 102 (b)

In no case does copyright protection for an original work of authorship extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

Judge for yourself in the Complaint (below) but many of the drawings have little ornamental design elements beyond the utilitarian, and thus unprotectable, functionality required to accurately and adequately show someone how to make the dress.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.35.57 AM

Stay tuned for updates.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 9.08.48 AM

Ranita Corporation v. Beamer et al

Court Case Number: 6:16-cv-01368-MC
File Date: Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Plaintiff: Ranita Corporation d/b/a Sure-Fit Designs
Plaintiff Counsel: Jacob S. Gill of Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Shlachter P.C.
Defendant: Oticca Beamer, Fit & Fashion LLC, Beamer & Associates d/b/a Fit & Fashion
Cause: Copyright Infringement, Vicarious Copyright Infringement, Contributory Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Michael J. McShane


Bio-energy facility accused of stealing and modifying software written in “German-lish” relic code


, , , , , , , ,

The Plaintiff is an Austrian bank enforcing the claims of an insolvent Austrian company, Entec, that designed and built a bio-energy facility in Junction City, Oregon. Successful operation of the facility relied on some proprietary software, which in turn required a paid license. This dispute arises out of, among other things, the facility’s failure to pay the license fee. There is also an allegation that the software was illegally accessed and modified, perhaps to make the software operate with payment or to make it more functional.

The Defendants, the facility and a consultant firm, are accused of failure to pay for the installation of a software program, making unauthorized modifications to the software program, and ongoing use of the software program without a paid license.

The software code is described in the Exhibits as “written in German-lish [sic] and in a manner to intentionally create dependency and with a multitude of relic code.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 8.38.36 AM

Sparkasse Bregenz Bank, AG v. JC-Biomethane, LLC et al

Court Case Number: 6:16-cv-01199-AA
File Date: Thursday, June 23, 2016
Plaintiff: Sparkasse Bregenz Bank, AG
Plaintiff Counsel: Darien S. Loiselle, Stephanie Holberg of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, P.C.
Defendant: JC-Biomethane, LLC; Essential Consulting Oregon LLC; Dean Foor
Cause: Copyright Infringement of the Software Program and Design Documents, Circumvention of Copyright Protection Systems, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Misappropriation of Trade Secrets, Conversion, Breach of Contract, Quantum Meruit, Breach of Duty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Ann L. Aiken




Yarn company sues to enforce Twisted trademark


, , , , , ,

The Plaintiff, based in Portland, Oregon, sells knitting, crochet, spinning, and weaving supplies using the trade name Twisted.

In April 2016, the Plaintiff learned that Defendants, a competitor based in Chelan, Washington, had recently changed their name from “Warehouse Woolery” to “Twisted Fine Yarn & Wool”. The Complaint (below) references several actual instances of confusion.

On June 9, 2016, after receiving Plaintiff’s letters, which put Defendants on notice of Plaintiff’s TWISTED marks and claim of infringement, Defendants filed a federal trademark application for TWISTED FINE YARN & WOOL. That action, unsurprisingly, prompted this trademark lawsuit and likely a trademark opposition. Stay tuned for updates.Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 6.08.23 PM

Twisted LLC v. 3ZS LLC et al

Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-01259-BR
File Date: Friday, June 24, 2016
Plaintiff: Twisted, LLC
Plaintiff Counsel: Parna A. Mehrbani of Lane Powell PC
Defendant: 3ZS, LLC d/b/a Twisted Fine Yarn & Wool, Sandi Sandum
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Oregon, State Trademark Infringement, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown


COAST SPAS v. WEST COAST SPAS…are you confused?


, , , , ,

Plaintiff has sold hot tubs and spa products under the COAST SPAS mark for 19 years.

They recently became aware that a competitor has been manufacturing and selling hot tubs and spas under the WEST COAST SPAS mark since 2011.

According to the Complaint (below), Plaintiff has encountered instances of actual confusion leading to lost sales.

Defendant’s website address,, is similar to the Plaintiff’s domain,

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 9.08.17 AM

Coast Spas Manufacturing Inc. v. Marletto Manufacturing, Inc.

Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-01162-YY
File Date: Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Plaintiff: Coast Spas Manufacturing Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: J. Christopher Carraway of Klarquist Sparkman, LLP
Defendant: Marletto Manufacturing, Inc. d/b/a West Coast Spas
Cause: Federal Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Youlee Yim You



Copyright Lawsuit filed over DVD of Elvis Presley’s First Ed Sullivan Appearance



Plaintiff claims to be the owner of the musical composition “Vagabonds Theme.” The composition was allegedly included by Defendants without authorization on a DVD entitled “Elvis – The First Ed Sullivan Show.”  Plaintiff reached out to Defendants to offer a retroactive license, as they had done for a prior infringement, but were not satisfied by Defendants’ lack of a meaningful response, hence this lawsuit.

Note that the Ed Sullivan Show was not the King’s TV debut, but it remains an important milestone in his unparalleled career.

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 7.36.15 AM

Segura v. Sofa Entertainment, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-00938-AC
File Date: Friday, May 27, 2016
Plaintiff: Kevin T. Segura d/b/a Shiny Vinyl Music
Plaintiff Counsel: Elizabeth Tedesco Milesnick, Andrea M. Barton of Miller Nash Graham & Dunn LLP
Defendant: Sofa Entertainment, Inc., Direct Holdings Americas Inc. d/b/a Starvista Live and Timelife
Cause: Copyright Infringement
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: John V. Acosta


Five largest global trademark offices join forces as TM5, create icons



The five “biggest” (their term, not mine) trademark offices in the world have got together to form the TM5, an international framework for…creating silly icons. As a display of their collective might and unparalleled joint capabilities, the TM5 has created and adopted a set of “Common Status Descriptors,” a uniform set of icons to visually depict the trademark application process. Because actual words like Registered, Awaiting Examination and Expired were just too difficult for trademark practitioners to understand…

In addition to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the other members of the TM5 are the trademark offices of Japan, Korea, China and the EU.

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.48.13 AM

The USPTO has already begun using the new icons. Here’s an example in practice on the USPTO website:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.45.57 AM

Without a green circled ribbon, how did we ever ascertain that a trademark was registered? Go TM5!

Simple Finance files trademark lawsuit against Simple RTO, alleges website mimicry


, , , , , ,

This trademark dispute involves the trademarks SIMPLE and SIMPLE FINANCE in connection with financial services.

In addition to using confusingly similar trademarks, the Defendant is also accused of mimicking the design of Plaintiff’s website.

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 6.38.44 AM

Simple Finance Technology Corp. v. Simple RTO, LLC

Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-00801-BR
File Date: Monday, May 9, 2016
Plaintiff: Simple Finance Technology Corp.
Plaintiff Counsel: Kristina J. Holm, William C. Rava of Perkins Coie LLP
Defendant: Simple RTO, LLC d/b/a Simple Finance
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, State Dilution
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Anna J. Brown


Portland Retirement Community files Trademark Lawsuit against Residents Foundation, asserts Banking Violations


, , , ,

The Plaintiff in this action, Willamette View, is a 60-year old continuing care retirement community in Portland, Oregon. Plaintiff owns no federal or state trademark registrations.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 8.07.12 AM

Since 1967, the Defendant, Willamette View Foundation, has provided financial management and fiduciary services to Plaintiff’s senior residents.

From its founding in 1967 through January 2016, Willamette View Foundation used its corporate name, Willamette View Foundation, as the trade name with which it held itself out to and conducted business with the public. In February 2016, it began using a new trade name, The Residents Foundation–Willamette View. While there is almost certainly more going on behind the scenes between these two related-but-unrelated organizations, that name change set the stage for the current trademark dispute.

In addition to the trademark quarrel, the Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant may also be in violation of Oregon’s Banking Act.

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 7.54.45 AM

Willamette View, Inc. v. Willamette View Foundation dba The Residents Foundation-Willamette View

Court Case Number: 3:16-cv-00778-MO
File Date: Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Plaintiff: Willamette View, Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: Stuart R. Dunwood, Kaley L. Fendall of Davis Wright Tremaine
Defendant: Willamette View Foundation d/b/a The Residents Foundation-Willamette View
Cause: False Designation of Origin, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Michael W. Mosman




adidas sues Ecco over “Three-Stripe” Trademark


, , , , , , , ,

The adidas “Three-Stripe” crusade continues, this time against Ecco Shoes.

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 7.48.57 AMClick the Adidas tag on this post for other “Three-Stripe” litigation.

adidas America, Inc. et al v. ECCO USA, Inc. et al

Court Case Number: 3:2016-cv-00684
File Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Plaintiff: adidas America, Inc., adidas AG
Plaintiff Counsel: Daniel P. Larsen of Ater Wynne LLP
Defendant: Ecco USA, Inc., Ecco SKO A/S
Cause: Federal Trademark Infringement, Federal Unfair Competition, Federal Trademark Dilution, Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, Common Law Trademark Infringement, Common Law Unfair Competition, Breach of Contract
Court: District of Oregon
Judge: Michael H. Simon



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 173 other followers