May 2012

May 31, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – A judgment has been made in a case that began three years ago and as of last month saw the inside of a court room. In the trademark infringement case between Gucci and Guess a judge has awarded Gucci with damages totaling $4.66 million as well as an injunction against Guess from using three of the four alleged infringing trademarks.

Gucci initially claimed that Guess was infringing on its green and red striped logo, a “G-Square” stylized mark, “Quattro G”, and a “G” script logo. The alleged infringing trademarks were being used on products such as purses, wallets, belts and shoes. Gucci claimed that these items were far too similar and confusing consumers which in turn caused a decline in profits for the luxury brand.

Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in favor of Gucci although it was not awarded quite the amount of damages it had initially sought. Gucci was originally seeking damages of $120 million. After analyzing the damages, an expert stated that Gucci’s requested amount was “highly speculative” and therefore Judge Scheindlin stated that Gucci was not entitled to claims of damages that alleged the infringement caused harm to its brand. Also, Judge Scheindlin placed an injunction which prohibits Guess from producing three of the four alleged infringing trademarks. The trademark for the “G” script logo was excluded from the injunction.

In the opinion brief of the case Judge Shira Scheindlin wrote: “Over the past three years, the parties have put in countless hours and spent untold sums of money, all in the service of fashion–what Oscar Wilde aptly called ‘a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.’ It is my hope that this ugliness will be limited to the runway and shopping floor, rather than spilling over into the courts.”

Guess’ CEO Paul Marciano stated “Overall, we are extremely satisfied and vindicated that this case should have never been filed”. Gucci, as of yet, has not offered a statement. This has not been the first nor will it be the last of lawsuits to come for the luxury brand. Gucci was founded in 1921 and has been known to protect its brand ever since.

May 23, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Los Angeles based D and D Marketing, Inc., doing business as T3 Leads, is being sued for trademark infringement for allegedly violating a San Antonio company’s trademark by using its name on various websites designed to generate business leads for other companies.

The trademark infringement complaint was filed by San Antonio-based USAA (United Services Automotive Association), a financial services company that provides banking, investing, and insurance services to individuals and families that serve, or served in the United states military. In its complaint, filed in a state district court in Bexar County, Texas, USAA claims that the infringing websites were responsible for generating leads that included the names and private financial information of consumers who had visited the sites to possibly obtain automobile insurance or financial services.

The same day that it filed its complaint, USAA also obtained a temporary restraining order to bar T3 Leads from using its name as any part of a domain name. Next week, a judge will decide whether the restraining order should actually become a temporary injunction.

USAA is alleging that T3 Leads is infringing its trademark by including the USAA name in several lead-generating websites, such as usaautoinsurancequotes.com, autoinsurancequotesusaa.com, payday-loans-usaa.com, and others. The websites were still active this week, however links to apply for a loan or to obtain insurance quotes had been disabled.

Paul Berry, a media relations executive for USAA, said in an email statement that “USAA is committed to protecting its reputation and ensuring that its members know when they are doing business with USAA, and that their personal information remains confidential.”

Operating in the field of “Internet affiliate marketing,” in which a merchant rewards affiliates for directing consumers to the merchant’s website to make a purchase, T3 Leads describes itself on its own website as the “premier Internet destination for quality leads and marketing opportunities” for web merchants and affiliates. The company’s CEO, Dmitry Fomichev, also named in the lawsuit, could not be reached for comment.

Besides allegedly infringing on USAA’s trademark by including it in domain names, T3 is also being accused of advertising the payday-loans-usaa.com website via a Twitter campaign.

Both Fomichev and D and D Marketing have been accused a trademark infringement before. Last summer, the entity was issued a permanent injunction barring it from using QuickClick or quickclickloans.com trademarks, after a Georgia company that operates the quickclickloans.com website sued it for trademark infringement. The parties reportedly reached an undisclosed settlement.

May 10, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Lamborghini has recently filed for a new trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for ‘Huracan’. The word translates to ‘hurricane’ in Spanish and is also known in ancient Mayan history as the god of fire, wind and storms. Lamborghini filed in class 12 for ‘passenger cars and structural parts thereof’ and class 28 for ‘model cars’.

Although it is a guessing game to Lamborghini fans everywhere as to what kind of passenger car to expect, if the vehicle is anything close to the Urus SUV, which was unveiled at this year’s Beijing motor show, fans can expect to be pleasantly surprised.

Lamborghini has not produced a sports utility vehicle since the 1980′s boundary breaking LM002 until this year when it unveiled the Urus. The Urus is expected to go into production in 2015. Some believe that the Urus may actually eventually use the Huracan name instead. It is also rumored to be the replacement name for the revolutionary Gallardo.

In its history, Lamborghini has used words for its luxury cars that have a Spanish origin and are associated with bullfighting. For example, although we now know Murcielago to be one of the fastest cars in the Lamborghini family, the name originates from a famous Spanish bull. Also, Reventon, another Lamborghini trademark, was named after a bull that killed Felix Guzman, a famous bullfighter in 1943. Other Lamborghini cars whose names have a relation to Spanish bullfighting are the Gallardo and Estoque.

Los Angeles – President Obama recently gave a speech to members of the military and their families where he spoke about his outrage that members of the military and their families were being targeted and taken advantage of because of their GI Bill. The President said to the crowd, “Sometimes you’re dealing with folks who aren’t interested in helping you” and “they don’t care about you, they care about the cash.” For this reason, President Obama ordered the Department of Veterans Affairs to file for the trademark ‘GI Bill’. The Obama Administration believes that trademark filing will help to stop for-profit schools with “deceptively and fraudulently” targeting military families.

In 2010, President Obama created a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was formed to specifically aid veterans, members of the military and their families. Within this Bureau was a special Office of Service Member Affairs which worked with these families to “make better informed decisions regarding consumer financial products and services.” However, after two years it seems as though military families are still being targeted by private for-profit colleges and universities that are eager to enlist these individuals for federal money in its pocket, also known as the GI Bill.

In his speech this week, Obama gave an example of a for-profit college that recruited marines with brain injuries who couldn’t remember what they signed up for. He called this example “appalling and disgraceful” and urged the crowd to be aware of these types of people by saying, “they’re trying to swindle and hoodwink you.” Many of these colleges and universities have created websites to give the appearance that it is connected to the government in order to appeal to these families in particular.

President Obama is scheduled to sign an order that includes programs such as “Know Before You Owe”, which schools can participate in through a voluntary basis. The “Know Before You Owe” program will allow potential students to get an estimate of just how much their education may cost them in total so that they are not blindsided by additional fees, interest, and/or penalties. This will also help with determining if a college or university is considered accredited before enrolling.

In an opposing view of the President’s actions, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Cain stated, “To me the president needs to be taking care of world-sized problems” and “this is kind of like trying to kill a fly with an M-1 Abrams tank.” Sgt. Cain stated that his chain in command already has programs set up to look out for these scams. The Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, a representative of for-profit schools, stated it was “disappointed Obama decided to bypass the Congress.”

The GI Bill is estimated to pay out a staggering $9 billion this year alone to educate approximately 600,000 veterans. It is no wonder that according to a recent report by the Senate, for-profit schools spend a combined total of $3.7 billion on recruiting and marketing alone.