Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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Plaintiff Forney Industries, Inc.'s product packaging has, since at least 1989, used some combination of red, yellow, black, and white coloration. The issue in this case was whether Forney's use of colors in its metalworking product line was a protected mark under the Lanham Act. Forney alleged that Defendant Daco of Missouri, Inc., which did business as KDAR Co. (KDAR), infringed on its protected mark by packaging KDAR’s “Hot Max” products with similar colors and a flame motif. The district court granted summary judgment to KDAR and the Tenth Circuit affirmed. Forney’s use of color, which was not associated with any particular shape, pattern, or design, was not adequately defined to be inherently distinctive, and Forney failed to produce sufficient evidence that its use of color in its line of products had acquired secondary meaning. View "Forney Industries v. Daco of Missouri" on Justia Law

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After the Hatch Chile Company sought to trademark the term “Hatch” for its exclusive use, a chile producing rival, El Encanto, objected. El Encanto argued before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("TTAB," a division of the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)), El Encanto argued that “Hatch” can’t be trademarked both because it refers to a place and because Hatch Chile used the term in a misleading manner. To prove its case of deception, El Encanto sought to show that Hatch Chile’s products regularly include chiles that weren't even from the Hatch Valley. El Encanto sought documents from Hatch Chile's packers and suppliers over where the Hatch peppers came from. Hatch Chile responded with a motion for a protective order; the packer, Mizkan Americas, Inc., moved to quash El Encanto's subpoena. Hatch Chile and Mizkan argued that before documents could be subpoenaed, a deposition had to be held. Because El Encanto's subpoena failed to seek a deposition, Hatch Chile argued the order had to be quashed. El Encanto replied that it didn’t want to waste everyone’s time with a deposition: documents would suffice to answer its pretty simple question. The district court agreed and granted Mizkan's motion to quash. El Encanto appealed. The Tenth Circuit reversed: "consistent with any of the various statutory interpretations and regulations cited to us, a party to a TTAB proceeding can obtain nonparty documents without wasting everyone’s time and money with a deposition no one really wants." View "El Encanto, Inc. v. Hatch Chile Company, Inc." on Justia Law