The Tightrope Between First Amendment Violations and Lawful Regulation of Vulgar Trademarks

Author: Sean Flaherty

Trademark attorneys and brand owners alike know that trademark applications are not to be refused registration by the USPTO unless they fall within certain codified prohibitions. 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a) (“Lanham Act Section 2(a)”), for example, bans trademarks which “[c]onsists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter; or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute . . .”

But in 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744, 1763 (2017), that the “disparagement clause” of Section 2(a) was unconstitutional as amounting to viewpoint discrimination. This set the stage for subsequent challenge to the remaining part of 2(a)—the “immoral/scandalous” clause. This issue was recently argued on April 15, 2019 before the Supreme Court in Iancu v. Brunetti, Case No. 18-302.

Trademark Application and TTAB Appeal

In 2011, Erik Brunetti, “an artist and entrepreneur whose graphics are infused with cultural strands from skateboarding, graffiti culture, punk rock music, and remnants of Situationist Ideal ideologies” sought to register the trademark application no. 85310960 for “FUCT.” In re Brunetti, 2014 TTAB LEXIS 328, *3-4 (T.T.A.B. August 1, 2014). The PTO rejected the application under the prohibition against “immoral/scandalous” marks, and Brunetti appealed to the TTAB. There, Brunetti attempted to argue that the mark did not carry any particular meaning, was not being used for its phonetic equivalent, and instead was “an arbitrary made up word” which evoked an edgy aesthetic. Brunetti further argued that to the extent the term had any meaning, it correlated to each of the first letters of the phrase FRIENDS U CAN’T TRUST. However, the TTAB stated that the foregoing arguments “stretche[d] credulity.”

The TTAB affirmed the refusal, noting that “the threshold for objectionable matter is lower for what can be described as ‘scandalous’ than for ‘obscene,’” citing In re McGinley, 660 F.2d 481, 211 USPQ 668, 673 n.9 (CCPA 1981). The also TTAB recognized its own statutory limitations in noting it was not “the appropriate forum for re-evaluating the impacts of any evolving First Amendment jurisprudence within Article III courts upon determinations under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act.” In re Brunetti, 2014 TTAB LEXIS 328 at *16.

Federal Circuit Appeal

Brunetti appealed the TTAB to the Federal Circuit. The Court of Appeals did not disturb the TTAB’s factual finding that the mark was vulgar and therefore fell within Section 2(a)’s prohibition against the registration of scandalous marks. In re Brunetti, 877 F.3d 1330, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (“Dictionaries in the record characterize the word as ‘taboo,’ ‘one of the most offensive’ English words, ‘almost universally considered vulgar,’ and an ‘extremely offensive expression.’”) But, while the case was on appeal, Matal v. Tam1 was decided. Applying that holding to Brunetti’s application, the Federal Circuit found the “immoral/scandalous” prohibition as an unconstitutional content-based restriction on speech. In re Brunetti, 877 F.3d at 1341. The Federal Circuit held that the regulation did not survive even intermediate, much less strict scrutiny, because (i) “the government ha[d] failed to identify a substantial interest justifying its suppression of immoral or scandalous trademarks”; (ii) the government could not show that the “regulation directly advance[d] the government’s asserted interest” (because the ban does not prevent actual use of the vulgarity and thus “does not protect the general population from scandalous material”); and (iii) the government failed to show that the regulation was “carefully tailored” given the significant evidence of inconsistent application and “vague nature of the scandalous inquiry.”

Finally, the Federal Circuit denied the government’s last-stand argument, which was to interpret the ban narrowly so as to uphold its constitutionality, by making the prohibition coextensive with a ban on obscenity. However, the Federal Circuit noted that due to the language used in the statute, no basis was provided to the Court to rewrite the law. Id. at 1357 (“We do not see how the words ‘immoral’ and ‘scandalous’ could reasonably be read to be limited to material of a sexual nature. We cannot stand in the shoes of the legislature and rewrite a statute.”).

Supreme Court Review

The Supreme Court granted certiorari and recently held oral argument.

Brunetti primarily argued that there was no principled distinction between the unconstitutionality of the prohibition against the offensive viewpoints targeted by “disparagement clause” in Tam and the offensive viewpoint targeted by the “immoral/scandalous clause” presently before the Court. Further, the applicant argued that all examination of trademarks necessarily implicated an evaluation of content, and thus the government could not argue that the prohibition amounted only to regulation of the “mode of expression.”

In light of Tam, the government was hard pressed to maintain the facial validity of the regulation. Instead, the government conceded the statute should be narrowed so as to preserve its validity.

At oral argument, Justice Kagan asked: “[J]ust so I could understand, you’re asking us to narrow this statute to exactly what?” Deputy Solicitor General Malcom Stewart replied, “To marks that are offensive, shocking to a substantial segment of the public because of their mode of expression, independent of any views that they may express.” Here, the government essentially argued that the PTO should be permitted to restrict speech akin to fighting words, which are susceptible to regulation because they are not based on viewpoint, but instead voiced merely to anger and incite. The government also distinguished Tam by arguing the prohibition against scandalous words is viewpoint-neutral and applied regardless of the applicant’s intended message.

The oral argument lasted nearly an hour with the Court peppering each party with a great number of questions. At several instances, the Court indicated uneasiness with vagueness of the regulation, as evidenced by the PTO’s track record of inconsistent application. But that is not to suggest an unconstitutionality ruling is assured. The Justices probed whether any speech in the context of trademarks could thereafter be regulated in the event this provision were ruled unconstitutional. Could a trademark registrant owning a vulgar mark for example, not be denied advertising space on the side of a public bus, given that its trademark registration was now approved by the federal government?

Justice Breyer repeatedly raised the point that even today, a limited number of dirty words and racial slurs are well defined and well documented to have a physiological effect on the hearer, and asked why the government should not be permitted to ban those words from the trademark registration program. Similarly, Justice Gorsuch asked with regard to the trademark registration program, “why can’t the people choose to withhold the benefit [of registration] on the basis that there are certain words that are profane and that we, as a matter of civility in our culture, would like to see less of rather than more of, and you can use – you’re free to use them . . .but we are not going to trademark them, and we’ve held just last year that a patent is a public benefit that can be withdrawn without a judge. Why isn’t this also similarly a public benefit rather than a private right?” Additionally, Justice Sotomayor posited, “Why can’t the government say, no, we’re not going to give you space on our public registry for words that we find are not acceptable?”

Although the expected bet is on another decision striking down the prohibition as unconstitutional in light of Tam, don’t be surprised if the Court instead decides to walk a tightrope and find that certain vulgarities do not implicate bona fide viewpoints, are used for no more than to create a shocking response in the hearer, and are thus susceptible to regulation without running afoul of the First Amendment.

About the author: Sean Flaherty is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. His practice focuses on litigation matters involving copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents, as well as transactional matters related to intellectual property licensing. Mr. Flaherty is a registered patent attorney with a degree in Civil Engineering. Mr. Flaherty’s biography can be found here.
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1 Prior to this Supreme Court decision, the Federal Circuit had held Section 2(a)’s disparagement provision as unconstitutional under the First Amendment, failing to survive either intermediate or strict scrutiny. See In re Tam, 808 F.3d 1321, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2015)

Supreme Court: Copyright Owners Must Register with U.S. Copyright Office Before Filing Suit

Author: Joni Flaherty

In a unanimous decision authored by Justice Ginsburg, the Supreme Court has held that copyright owners must register with the U.S. Copyright Office before commencing a lawsuit to enforce their rights. In Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, 586 U.S. ___ (2019), the Supreme Court found that the Copyright Act of 1976 requires that the Copyright Office issue a certificate of registration, and that application for the certificate was not enough prior to commencing suit. The decision resolves a split among circuit courts, favoring the “registration approach” followed by the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, under which registration by the Copyright Office was required to proceed, and rejecting the “application approach” followed by the Fifth and Ninth Circuit courts. The result turned on the interpretation of the phrase “registration of the copyright claim has been made” in Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act. That section reads:

[N]o civil action for infringement of the copyright in any United States work shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made in accordance with this title. In any case, however, where the deposit, application, and fee required for registration have been delivered to the Copyright Office in proper form and registration has been refused, the applicant is entitled to institute a civil action for infringement if notice thereof, with a copy of the complaint, is served on the Register of Copyrights. The Register may, at his or her option, become a party to the action with respect to the issue of registrability of the copyright claim.

Fourth Estate, a public benefit online news producer, licensed articles to Wall-Street.com, a news website. When the license expired and Wall-Street.com failed to remove the articles from its website, Fourth Estate brought a trademark infringement claim. Wall-Street moved to dismiss the claims on the grounds that Fourth Estate had applied for, but had not yet registered, copyrights in its articles. Interpreting Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida granted Wall-Street’s motion to dismiss, and that decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The Supreme Court affirmed, citing the practical implications of litigating prior to the Copyright Office’s grant or denial of registration. The Court found that Fourth Estate’s concerns about depriving copyright owners of the ability to timely enforce their rights was “overstated,” and given that the average registration process takes several months (seven months, on average), there was little danger that a diligent copyright owner would be barred by the three-year statute of limitations. The Court also acknowledged exceptions to the rule, and the opportunity for copyright owners to pay an additional fee to rush their copyright application.

As a practical matter, the decision may encourage some copyright owners to promptly register their creative works. The decision may also cause a delay in some infringement suits or lead to more early dismissals of claims, and may also prevent eager litigants from adding a peripheral infringement claim for an applied-for but not yet registered copyright to a complaint.

About the author: Joni Flaherty is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups. Her practice focuses on intellectual property and business litigation, with an emphasis on unfair business practices, trademark claims, and contractual disputes. Ms. Flaherty’s biography can be found here.

What the FBI’s “Project Titan” Criminal Complaint Reveals About Trade Secret Protection Efforts

Author: Louis Dorny

The FBI’s affidavit presented in support of a January 22, 2019 criminal complaint provides a rare glimpse into Apple’s effort to maintain trade secrets in its secretive Project Titan self-driving car operation. This glimpse was rare because any detailed effort to protect intellectual property in the form of a trade secret is often kept quiet to avoid providing any aid to a would-be thief.

The Background

Widely reported in recent days is the announcement of a second employee in six months to be accused by the FBI of stealing trade secrets from Apple’s self-driving car unit, known as “Project Titan.” Now, the feds have unsealed the January 22, 2019 criminal complaint against Jizhong Chen, a PhD-trained employee of Apple on the Project Titan team as a hardware developer. As alleged, Apple discovered the existence of over 2,000 photographs on Chen’s personally-owned computer, and subsequently learned Chen applied for two external jobs, including one at a China-based autonomous vehicle company — a purported direct competitor. Chen advised Apple he planned on leaving the country for China on January 22, 2019. The criminal complaint was filed the following day in the Northern District of California.

Apple was alerted to Chen after fellow employees spotted him taking photographs of the workspace where the project takes place. The FBI says Chen told Apple’s global security team that he backed up his work computer to a personal hard drive and computer as an insurance policy after being placed on a performance improvement plan by Apple. Apple’s security team found Chen had “over two thousand files containing confidential and proprietary Apple material, including manuals, schematics, and diagrams,” according to the charging document.

Not A Trade Secret Unless You Restrict Access

Similar to many jurisdictions that follow the Uniform Trade Secret Act (“UTSA”), California has specific requirements to protect against misappropriation of trade secrets. To qualify as a trade secret under section 3426.1 of California’s Civil Code, the owner of the trade secret must establish two elements: First, the trade secret must derive actual or potential independent economic value from not being generally known to the public or to other persons who can obtain economic value from the use or disclosure of the claimed secret. Second, the entity claiming trade secret must establish that it undertook “reasonable efforts under the circumstances” to maintain the secrecy of the trade secret.

So How Does Apple Restrict Access?

Excerpted below with highlighting supplied are paragraphs from the eight-page complaint, which can be found here.

Three software controls are evident to protect data. First, each user requires a password to access a database. Second, database access is restricted to a subset of project employees—likely on a need-to-know basis. Third, all access to information  is logged and therefore capable of audit. An administrator must approve access. None of this is surprising. It has long been true that information stored on computer must require some reasonable form of restricted access. Morlife, Inc. v. Perry, 56 Cal.App.4th 1514, 1523 (1997). Trade-secret protection programs need not be as extensive as this to qualify under the statute. The standard is reasonable, which changes depending on the circumstances.

Physical access is restricted by limiting access to “core” employees with badge access while keeping the whereabouts secret. Such efforts are costly and likely warranted on “Project Titan,” but may be cost-prohibitive elsewhere. Again, efforts required to maintain secrecy are those that are “reasonable under the circumstances.” Moreover, “[t]he courts do not require that extreme and unduly expensive procedures be taken to protect trade secrets against flagrant industrial espionage. It follows that reasonable use of a trade secret including controlled disclosure to employees and licensees is consistent with the requirement of relative secrecy.” UTSA, Comment to § 1 (citation omitted); Senate Comment (1984) to California Civil Code § 3426.1.

While essential to put an employee or contractor on notice of the claim of a protected trade secrets with some specificity, a company would be unwise to rely on confidentiality agreements alone as a sufficient secrecy program. Courts have held that “[r]equiring employees to sign confidentiality agreements is a reasonable step to insure secrecy.” Whyte v. Schlage Lock Co. 101 Cal.App.4th 1443, 1454 (2002); MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc., 991 F.2d 511, 521 (9th Cir. 1993) (applying California version of UTSA).

Training is often the weak link in an IP protection program due to cost or overreliance on employee agreements. Training is also a problem at the management level, which may not have a firm grip just what exactly compromises the trade secrets. On Project Titan we learn the most interesting tips of all: 1) training includes the importance of keeping details secret and avoiding intended and inadvertent leaks; 2) methods of ensuring protection of trade secrets, as well as device-specific policies; and 3) transmitting documents using secure mechanisms. In sum, an employee who has access to company trade secrets must know what is considered a trade secret. the contours of permissible use and the consequences of misuse—which can only be understood through an active effort to train. While no case in California has held that the failure to implement a training protocol for employees is unreasonable, that case may not be far off.

About the author: Lou Dorny is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups. His practice focuses on intellectual property and high-technology matters, with a particular emphasis on trade secrets. Mr. Dorny’s biography can be found here.

SCOTUS: AIA Does Not Limit Long-Standing “On Sale” Bar Precedent

Author: Patrick Mulkern

Summary

In a recent unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court rejected a patentee’s argument that the America Invents Act (“AIA”) narrowed or otherwise affected the “on sale” bar rule governing secret sales, invalidating a patent because the subject matter had been subject to a confidential license agreement years prior to the precipitating application.1

Factual Background

Petitioner Helsinn Healthcare S.A. (“Helsinn”) is a Swiss pharmaceutical company that makes a drug for chemotherapy-induced nausea.2 In September 2000, Helsinn partnered with MGI Pharma, Inc. (“MGI”) to market and distribute the drug in the United States. Their license agreements included specific dosage information and required MGI to keep all Helsinn’s proprietary information confidential, but the fact of the license itself was announced in a joint press release.

In 2003, Helsinn filed a provisional application covering specific doses of its nausea drug.3 In May 2013, Helsinn filed the fourth of four applications that claimed priority to that 2003 date, ultimately issuing as U.S. Patent No. 8,598,219 (“the ‘219 Patent”).

Respondents Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (“Teva”) are generic drug manufacturers which sought FDA approval to market a generic version of Helsinn’s drug with the same dosage as that claimed in Helsinn’s ‘219 Patent. Helsinn sued Teva for infringement, but Teva claimedthe ‘219 Patent was invalid because the claimed dosage was “on sale” more than one year before the 2003 provisional application to which the ‘219 patent claimed priority.

The district court determined the “on sale” bar did not apply because, under its interpretation of the AIA, an invention is not “on sale” unless the challenged sale made the invention available to the public.4 The district court reasoned that, because the substance of the Helsinn-MGI license agreement had not disclosed the specific dosage, the sale did not make the invention public.

The Federal Circuit reversed, however, because “the details of the invention need not be publicly disclosed” for a sale to fall within the AIA’s “on sale” bar.5 Instead, it only mattered whether “the existence of the sale is public[.]”  According to the appellate court, here, the fact of the Helsinn-MGI agreement had been publicly announced in a joint press release.

Legal Background

The phrase “on sale bar” refers to the patent statute’s language, which prevents a person from receiving a patent if “the invention was . . . on sale” in the United States “more than one year prior to the date of the [patent] application[.]”6 Similar language has been a part of every patent statute since 1836—including the statute in force immediately before the AIA took effect. Then, in 2012, the AIA merely added the phrase “or otherwise available to the public.” Ultimately, the relevant AIA section read: “A person shall be entitled to a patent unless . . . claimed invention was . . . in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public[.]”7

The pre-AIA on sale bar had been held to apply when the product was “the subject of a commercial offer for sale” and was “ready for patenting.”8 The Supreme Court’s precedent had made clear (under the pre-AIA language) that the sale, or offer of sale, need not make the invention itself available to the public. Instead, for example, the Court in Pfaff held the inventor lost his rights without any regard to whether the offer of sale disclosed the details of the invention. Other cases have similarly focused only whether the invention was sold, not whether the details of the invention had been publicly disclosed.9 The Federal Circuit has agreed with these cases, consistently holding that even “secret sales” can invalidate a patent.10

This Decision

The Supreme Court began its analysis with a foundational canon of legislative analysis, presuming that “when Congress reenacted the same [on sale bar] language in the AIA, it adopted the earlier judicial construction of that phrase.”11 Justice Thomas noted how, in arguing as amici, the United States acknowledged that “adding the phrase ‘otherwise available to the public’ . . . would be a fairly oblique way of attempting to overturn that settled body of law.”12 Instead, the Supreme Court held, “[t]he addition of ‘or otherwise available to the public’ is simply not enough of a change for us to conclude that Congress intended to alter the meaning of the reenacted term ‘on sale.’”13 Thus, an inventor’s sale of an invention to a third party—even one who is obligated to keep the invention confidential—can qualify as prior art under § 102(a) of the AIA.14

Impact

While the new language of the AIA may have instilled some uncertainty about the new scope of the on sale bar, this decision answers those questions by clarifying that the on sale bar applies even to sales of an invention to a third party regardless of whether the sale results in the patented information being publicly known. Small companies who may look to license their inventions for testing or (like Helsinn) financial reasons during the development stages are on notice that they must be vigilant in filing their patent applications early. Specifically, in-house counsel should be constantly interfacing between the product development team and product commercialization team to understand the development timeline and what actions are being taken with respect to that product vis à vis any related patent applications.

Although the PTO and AIA’s own sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), came out in favor of Helsinn’s position—and against the Federal Circuit’s decision as “indefensible”—it is clear that Congress will need to be more explicit if it desires to overturn case law interpreting the on sale bar. Even though the PTO had taken the position that the AIA “does not cover secret sales or offers for sale,” this decision may likely cause an update to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.15

About the author: Patrick J. Mulkern is an associate in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and transactional matters, with a particular emphasis on patent, trademark, and trade secret litigation. Mr. Mulkern is a registered patent attorney and his biography can be found here.

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1 See Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharms. USA, Inc., Case No. 17-1229, 586 U.S. ___ (Jan. 22, 2019).
2 Id., Slip Op. at 2.
3 Id., Slip Op. at 3.
4 Id., Slip Op. at 4 (citing Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Dr. Reddy’s Labs. Ltd., 2016 WL 832089, at *45, *51 (D.N.J. Mar. 3, 2016)).
5 Id. (citing Helsinn Healthcare S.A. v. Teva Pharms. USA, Inc., 855 F.3d 1356, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2017)).
6 Id., Slip Op. at 5-6 (quoting 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) (2006 ed.)).
7 Id., Slip Op. at 6 (quoting 35 U.S.C. § 102(a)(1) (2012 ed.)).
8 See Pfaff v. Wells Elecs., Inc., 525 U.S. 55, 67 (1998).
9 See, e.g., Elizabeth v. Pavement Co., 97 U.S. 126, 136 (1878) (“It is not a public knowledge of his invention that precludes the inventor from obtaining a patent for it, but a public use or sale of it.”).
10 See, e.g., Special Devices, Inc. v. OEA, Inc., 270 F.3d 1353, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2001).
11 Helsinn, 586 U.S. at ___, Slip. Op. at 7.
12 Id., Slip Op. at 7-8 (quotations and citations omitted).
13 Id., Slip Op. at 8 (emphasis added).
14 Id., Slip Op. at 9.
15 See Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, § 2152.02(d) (9th Ed., 2018).

The Murky Waters of Authorship in a Software World

Author: Reid Dammann

It is quite common for parties to enter into agreements to develop software. Often times, one party has a general understanding of how they would like the software to function on either the back or front end, and/or how they would like the graphical user interface to be displayed to a user. More often than not, the second party to this kind of an agreement is a software programmer. The software programmer is generally able to understand the requirements and otherwise code such that the software performs the functions that are required when it is executed.

One of the bigger issues that springs out of these kinds of arrangements is authorship. This area is constantly evolving and is more or less a factual question generally reserved for the jury. Authorship becomes an issue when the agreement is silent on the same and the respective programming knowledge base between the parties overlaps, leading to confusion as to who contributed to the resulting source code.

The Copyright Act does not explicitly define the term “author.” However, to gain the Copyright Act’s protection, a person must create copyrightable work that is “original” and “fixed” in a “tangible medium of expression.” Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 102. A work is considered “fixed” when “its embodiment in a copy…by or under the authority of the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be reproduced (emphasis added).” Id. at§ 101. Therefore, the Copyright Act expressly provides that an author can empower another to “fix” the author’s original idea. Both tangibility and originality are necessary to be an “author.” One who has an original idea that is not expressed in tangible form is not an author. Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory, Inc., 797 F.2d 1222, 1234 (3d Cir.1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1031, 107 S. Ct. 877, 93 L.Ed.2d 831 (1987) Neither is one who embodies in tangible form another person’s idea, without making any original contribution of his own. The Supreme Court has stated that “[a]s a general rule, the author is the party who actually creates the work, that is, the person who translates an idea into a fixed, tangible expression entitled to copyright protection.” Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid, 109 S. Ct. 2166, 2171 (1989). The critical phrase in determining authorship is “by or under the authority of the author.”

That statutory language and the Supreme Court’s guidance produce a definition of an author as the party who actually creates the work—that is, the person who translates an idea into an expression that is embodied in a copy by himself or herself, or who authorizes another to embody the expression in a copy. The definition, however, has limits. When one authorizes embodiment, that process must be rote or mechanical transcription that does not require intellectual modification or highly technical enhancement such as what occurred in M.G.B. Homes, Inc. v. Ameron Homes, Inc., 903 F.2d 1486 (11th Cir. 1990) (architectural drawings), Geshwind v. Garrick, 734 F.Supp. 644 (S.D.N.Y. 1990) (computer animated film), and Whelan Associates, Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory, Inc., 609 F.Supp. 1307 (E.D. Pa. 1985) (computer program), aff’d, 797 F.2d 1222 (3d Cir.1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1031, 107 S.Ct. 877, 93 L.Ed.2d 831 (1987).

There is a “fundamental distinction” between an “original work” of authorship and “the multitude of material objects in which it can be embodied.” H.R.Rep. No. 1476, 94th Cong., 2d Sess. 53, reprinted in 1976 U.S. Code Cong. & Admin. News 5659, 5666. As the House Report for the Copyright Act’s precursor bill explained: “Thus, in the sense of the bill, a ‘book’ is not a work of authorship, but is a particular kind of ‘copy.’ Instead, the author may write a ‘literary work,’ which in turn can be embodied in a wide range of ‘copies’ and ‘phonorecords,’ including books, periodicals, computer punch cards, microfilm, tape recordings, and so forth.” In questioning the House Report, Professor Nimmer remarked that the solitary act of “setting up the recording session” is “ill-based” for claiming authorship on behalf of the record producer. 1 M. Nimmer & D. Nimmer, Nimmer on Copyright § 2.10[A][b] at 2-146 (1990). Indeed, “this is no more an act of ‘authorship’ than is the act of one who makes available to a writer a room, a stenographer, a typewriter, and paper.” Id.

In S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081 (9th Cir. 1989), a Payday employee (Goodman) asserted that she was a joint author. In that particular case, the Court stated that Payday has not presented evidence sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact regarding joint authorship. Payday alleges only that Goodman told the programmers what tasks the software was to perform and how it was to sort data. She did none of the coding and does not understand any computer language.

A claim of joint authorship on similar facts was rejected in Whelan Assocs. v. Jaslow Dental Laboratory, 609 F. Supp. 1307, 1318-19 (E.D.Pa. 1985), aff’d, 797 F.2d 1222 (3d Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1031, 93 L. Ed. 2d 831, 107 S. Ct. 877 (1987). In that case, a dental laboratory owner commissioned software for use in his business, disclosed to the programmers the detailed operation of his business, dictated the functions to be performed by the computer, and even helped design the language and format of some of the screens that would appear on the computer’s visual displays. The court nonetheless found that the programmer was the sole author of the software. The court’s principal focus was on the creation of the source and object code. The owner’s “general assistance and contributions to the fund of knowledge of the author did not make [him] a creator of any original work, nor even the co-author. It is similar to an owner explaining to an architect the type and functions of a building the architect is to design for the owner. The architectural drawings are not co-authored by the owner, no matter how detailed the ideas and limitations expressed by the owner.”

In Payday, the Court stated “[w]e conclude that the Whelan court’s analysis is sound. Goodman, in our view, is not a joint author of the payroll programs. She did nothing more than describe the sort of programs Payday wanted S.O.S. to write. A person who merely describes to an author what the commissioned work should do or look like is not a joint author for purposes of the Copyright Act.” The Court further stated, “[t]he supplier of an idea is no more an ‘author’ of a program than is the supplier of the disk on which the program is stored. Cf. 17 U.S.C. § 102(b) (no copyright protection for ideas); 17 U.S.C. § 202 (copyright distinct from material object in which work is embodied). We therefore decline to affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment on the alternate basis of joint authorship.”

In sum, on the one hand, the case law supports the programmer as the author in the situation where the programmer fixes the code into a tangible medium of expression with just a general guidance on how the software is to function from the other party, essentially giving the programmer a large amount of discretion on the expression. On the other hand, as the other party to the agreement contributes more specifically to the project, and even the code itself, along with the programmer, joint authorship emerges as the idea becomes fixed in the source code, therefore reducing the amount of originality provided by the programmer and attributing it to the other party. There is no guarantee of joint authorship for the programmer just because that person wrote the program. If that programmer acts as, essentially, a scrivener, then there may be no authorship at all.

About the author: Reid Dammann is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. His practice focuses on litigation matters involving copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and patents, with a particular emphasis on software. Mr. Dammann is a registered patent attorney with an advanced dual degree in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Mr. Dammann’s biography can be found here.

Brewery Near Me: Why You Should Name Your Brewery After a Location and Related Trademark Considerations

Author: Michael Kanach

Home for the Holidays

Whether you are traveling home for the holidays or visiting an old friend, the holiday season is a time to return to old favorites. For craft beer fans visiting home and looking for a place to gather, they will notice the brewery landscape has changed over the last few years. Whether you are visiting a large city or a small town, the number of new breweries may surprise you. In fact, the number of breweries in the United States has more than tripled recently, increasing from less than 2,000 in 2010 to more than 7,000 in 2018.1 On November 20, 2018, the Brewers Association’s Bart Watson tweeted “Here are the ~1,000 breweries that have opened since last Thanksgiving,”2 with a link to a google map showing new breweries that opened between November 25, 2017, and November 17, 2018.3 In addition, numerous breweries have recently shut down, been acquired, or changed names based on trademark disputes.

Searches for “Brewery Near Me” will be trending on Google and other search engines. For example, when you type “Brewery” into Google.com or Bing.com, both search engines will propose the search “Brewery Near Me.” Alternative results include “Brewery Near My Location,” or nearby city names, such as “Brewery San Francisco” and “Brewery Oakland.” With consumers searching on maps, in search engines, and in beer-focused applications such as Untappd and RateBeer, breweries need to stand out when their name shows up on the list.

From a trademark and branding perspective, you want consumers to recognize your name – and recognize it as a source of great beer. You want your name to communicate the quality of your product and differentiate your brewery from the others in your neighborhood. In other words, you want consumers to know what they can expect when they choose to visit your brewery or drink your beer. Are you known for your rotating selection, your hazy IPAs, your flagship lager, your barrel aged stouts, your sours, or your Belgians? Or maybe you’re known for your food, your staff, or other non-beer-related aspects of running a restaurant or brew pub.

Drink Local = Higher Brand Awareness

When the message is “drink local,” and thousands of smaller breweries are opening up to serve their local communities, it can be beneficial to tell your consumers where you are located. For many breweries, their location is not simply an address in a city or a town. It is also their brand.

In a discussion with Robert Cartwright of DataQuencher, which performs surveys of beer drinkers for breweries, his surveys have shown that location names can help certain breweries increase their brand awareness. The data shows that, for breweries up to about the 20,000 barrels mark, the breweries that have a location in their name have significantly higher brand awareness than other breweries. In other words, microbreweries may benefit from their location-based names, but regional brewers may not see much additional impact.

For example, in Virginia, Blue Mountain Brewery, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains has a higher than anticipated awareness from beer drinkers in the State of Virginia. Given their production numbers (less than 15,000 barrels in 2017) and the size of the Virginia market, it would be normal for Blue Mountain to have a brand awareness in the high 20% to 35% range. Instead, DataQuencher’s recent survey results show that Blue Mountain Brewery has a brand awareness of 49% among VA beer drinkers. This location-based name may also help in each of the states through which the Blue Ridge Mountains extend—namely, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

With respect to the San Francisco Bay Area, certain microbreweries rank higher than anticipated in “brand awareness” based on their location-based names, including San Francisco Brewing Co., Alameda Island Brewing Company, Marin Brewing Company, and Oakland Brewing Company. See the recent chart below prepared by DataQuencher. It is not surprising to see some larger breweries with location-based names, such as Sierra Nevada and Russian River, at the top of the list.


Chart reproduced and used with permission.

DataQuencher’s recent survey evidence, which shows higher brand-awareness for breweries with location-based names, is consistent with the breweries who have earned their brand awareness through decades of sales and advertising, as well as distribution through large retail chains and to multiple states. Not surprisingly, many of the largest breweries in the United States have location-based names.4 In fact, about a third (17 of 50) of the Brewers Association’s list of the 50 top selling breweries in the United States in 2017 have location-based names.

The chart below includes a list of those breweries with an explanation of their location-based name for those unfamiliar with the local references. The cites to Wikipedia are because the USPTO will often cite to Wikipedia (or Urban Dictionary!) and other websites as a basis for refusing to register geographically descriptive trademarks.

Boston (#2) a city in Massachusetts5
Sierra Nevada (#3) a mountain range in California and Nevada6
Deschutes (#10) a river,7 county,8 and National Forest9 in Oregon
Brooklyn (#11) a borough in New York City, New York10
SweetWater (#15) a creek11 and state park12 outside Atlanta, Georgia (Sweetwater Creek)
New Glarus (#16) a village in Green County, Wisconsin13
Alaskan (#19) from the state of Alaska14
Great Lakes (#20) lakes along the border of United States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) and Canada (Ontario)
Abita (#21) a town in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, a river (Abita River)15, and nearby springs (Abita Springs)16
Stephens Point (#23) a city in Wisconsin17
Summit (#25) a street in Saint Paul, Minnesota (Summit Avenue)
Long Trail (#31) a hiking trail which runs the length of the state of Vermont18
Rogue (#32) a river19 and a valley20 in Oregon
Uinta (#37) a chain of mountains in northeastern Utah and southern Wyoming (Uinta Mountains),21 a county,22 a reservation,23 and a National Forest24 in Utah
Lost Coast (#47) a coastal region in California25
North Coast (#48) a region in Northern California that lies on the Pacific coast between San Francisco Bay and the Oregon border26
Wachusett (#49) a mountain in Massachusetts (Mount Wachusett)27

In addition to the chart above, two more breweries in the top 50, DogFish Head (#12) and Allagash (#36), are named after small towns in the State of Maine,28 which – while nowhere close to their brewery locations29 30 – both help tell a story about the brewers’ roots and the breweries’ small beginnings.

How Does a Brewery Obtain a Trademark for its City, Town, Mountains, River, Lake, or Street?

First, a little background about trademarks. Your trademark is your name, logo, or anything else that indicates your brewery is the source of a product or service.

A mark can be:

  • a name of a beer or the brewery,
  • a drawing (e.g., The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, 21st Amendment’s various can designs),
  • a color or color scheme (e.g., Russian River’s Pliny the Elder’s red circle on a forest green label),
  • a shape (e.g., Bass’s red triangle, Heineken’s red star),
  • a design,
  • a slogan, or
  • even the unique overall “look and feel” of the brewery, product, or packaging (or other forms of “trade dress”).

You obtain common law trademark rights when you begin to use the mark. If someone else used it first, you are a junior user and they are the senior user. To obtain nationwide rights to your trademark, you can file an application to register your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”).

One myth is that you don’t want to name your brewery after a location because it’s hard to get a trademark. While it is true that location-based names have inherent hurdles, including from a trademark perspective, there are also potential benefits from a trademark and branding perspective.

Those hurdles include difficulty in proving that your name is an indication that your brewery is the source of the beer. In trademark language, we call that “acquired distinctiveness,” or “secondary meaning.” It may take years for your brewery to build distinctiveness in the eyes of consumers, while a more unique and arbitrary name may obtain a registered trademark much faster.

Because locations are descriptive, the USPTO often refuses to register marks with a location is in the name. On one hand, the USPTO may refuse to register the mark because you are describing where you are located. In that case, the name is “geographically descriptive” and other breweries located there should be able to use that name to describe their brewery. One the other hand, if your name is a location where you are not located, the USPTO may refuse to register your mark on the basis that it is “geographically deceptively misdescriptive.” This means your name makes people believe you are from a location from which your beer does not originate, and that description is misleading and deceptive.

Relatedly, if you advertise your products as coming from a geographic location – but your beer is not from there – those false statements could give rise to a class action lawsuit for false advertising. Numerous lawsuits have been filed over the past several years. For example, class action lawsuits have been filed against Fosters (not imported from Australia),31 Becks (not imported from Germany),32 Kirin (not imported from Japan),33 and Red Stripe (not imported from Jamaica).34 While the breweries named as defendants in those class action lawsuits were some of the largest alcohol producers in the world – Miller Brewing Co. (Fosters), Anheuser-Busch (Becks, Kirin), and Diageo (Red Stripe) – plaintiffs could file similar lawsuits against craft beverage producers as well. So it is wise to clearly label where your brewery (or winery, meadery, or distillery) is located.

To avoid such misrepresentations in labeling and advertising, you will notice the labels for some breweries list more than one location. For example, Lagunitas clearly advertises that it is brewed in Petaluma, California and Chicago, Illinois.  Likewise, Sierra Nevada’s labels clearly advertise that it is brewed in Chico, California and Mills River, North Carolina.

While there are many considerations when it comes to branding and trademarks, these are several of the considerations with respect to location-based names. As is the case with all intellectual property, it is prudent to talk to an attorney about your strategy for obtaining and enforcing your trademarks.

For more information about trademarks and intellectual property, you can reach Michael Kanach a partner in the Intellectual Property and Food and Beverage groups at Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani. Mike is also a practice group leader for the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Law group and the Entertainment and Recreation practice group. Mike’s email is mkanach@grsm.com and his phone number is 415-875-3211.
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1 “Number of Breweries, Historical U.S. Brewery Count,” Brewers Association, https://www.brewersassociation.org/statistics/number-of-breweries/ (as of November 19, 2018).
2 Bart Watson (@BrewersStats), https://twitter.com/brewersstats/status/1064927306571964416?s=11 (accessed (November 20, 2018, 9:03 AM)
3 “Breweries Opened in Last Year – New breweries that have opened between 11/25/2017 and 11/17/2018.” https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1Bw583n55Vu4ghUsUyuOcOVFzjymeBU4p&usp=sharing
4 “Brewers Association Releases 2017 Top 50 Brewing Companies By Sales Volume,” Brewers Association, March 14, 2018, located at https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/brewers-association-releases-2017-top-50-brewing-companies-by-sales-volume/
5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston
6 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_(U.S.)
7 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschutes_River_(Oregon)
8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschutes_County,_Oregon
9  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deschutes_National_Forest
10 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn
11 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_Creek_(Chattahoochee_River_tributary)
12 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweetwater_Creek_State_Park
13 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Glarus,_Wisconsin
14 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska
15 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abita_River
16 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abita_Springs,_Louisiana
17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stevens_Point,_Wisconsin
18 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Trail
19 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_River_(Oregon)
20 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Valley
21 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uinta_Mountains
22  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uinta_National_Forest
23 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uintah_and_Ouray_Indian_Reservation
24 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uinta_National_Forest
25 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Coast
26 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Coast_(California)
27 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Wachusett
28 “How Your Favorite Brewery Got Its Name” Thrillist, Lee Breslouer, located at www.thrillist.com/amphtml/drink/nation/dogfish-head-name-how-your-favorite-brewery-got-its-name
29 DogFish Head is a name of a small location in Southport, Maine, over 9 hours away and 573 miles away from the DogFish Head Craft Brewery location in Milton, Delaware
30 Allagash is a town and river in northern border of Maine, 5.5 hours away and 341 miles away from the Allagash Brewery location in Portland, ME.
31 “Man Sues Over Foster’s Beer Being Brewed in Texas, Not Australia,” Time, Sarah Begley (December 15, 2015), http://time.com/4148740/man-sues-fosters-beer/
32 “Anheuser-Busch Admits Beck’s Isn’t Actually German, Looks to Settle Class Action Lawsuit” Food and Wine, Mike Pomranz (June 22, 2017),  https://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/drink/anheuser-busch-admits-beck-s-isn-t-actually-german-looks-settle-class-action-lawsuit
33 “If You Bought Kirin Beer In The Last 5 Years, You Could Get $12,” Huffington Post, Harry Bradford (January 7, 2015 5:16 pm ET, January 9, 2015, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/kirin-beer-money_n_6430732.html
34 “Red Stripe Is the Latest Beer to Get Sued Over Mislabeling Where It Is Brewed,” Food and Wine, Mike Pomranz (June 22, 2017) https://www.foodandwine.com/fwx/drink/red-stripe-latest-beer-get-sued-over-mislabeling-where-it-brewed

U.S. Supreme Court to Resolve Circuit Split Regarding Trademark Licensees’ Rights Upon Licensor Bankruptcy

Author: Benni Amato

According to the International Trademark Association (“INTA”), “whether a debtor-licensor can terminate a trademark license by rejection, thereby ‘taking back’ trademark rights it has licensed and precluding its licensee from using the trademark” is “the most significant unresolved legal issue in trademark licensing.” It likely will not stay unresolved for much longer; on October 26, 2018, the United States Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari to resolve this specific issue as part of the Mission Product Holdings Inc. v. Tempnology LLC case.

Tempnology is a New Hampshire-based company that developed chemical-free cooling fabrics. It used this fabric to produce clothing that were designed to remain cool during exercise. Tempnology and Mission entered into a distribution agreement in November of 2012 that gave Mission the non-exclusive right to sell certain patented and trademarked Tempnology products throughout the world and the exclusive right to sell some of those products within the United States.

After a complex factual and procedural history, Tempnology filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2015. The day after the filing, Tempnology moved to reject the agreement under 11 U.S.C. §365(a). After two appeals, a split First Circuit panel held that Tempnology’s rejection terminated the trademark rights licensed to Mission under the agreement.

As explained by the majority in the First Circuit decision, after a debtor-licensor files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it may secure court approval to “reject” any executory contract so that the other party to the contract is “left with a damages claim for breach, but not the ability to compel further performance.” Mission Prod. Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC (In re Tempnology, LLC), 879 F.3d 389, 404 (1st Cir. 2018). “When the rejected contract, however, is one ‘under which the debtor is a licensor of a right to intellectual property,’ the licensee may elect to ‘retain its rights . . . to such intellectual property,’ thereby continuing the debtor’s duty to license the intellectual property.” The problem begins, however, with the fact that Congress left trademarks off the definitional list of intellectual properties in 11 U.S.C. §101(35A).

The First Circuit found that it made sense for Congress to have excluded trademarks. After all, “the effective licensing of a trademark requires that the trademark owner—here the debtor, followed by any purchaser of its assets—monitor and exercise control over the quality of the goods sold to the public under cover of the trademark.” Should the licensor fail to exercise reasonable control, that could result in the abandonment of its trademarks.

Thus, the First Circuit reasoned that should Mission be allowed to continue to use Tempnology’s trademarks, that would force Tempnology to choose between performing executory obligations in monitoring and controlling the quality of goods or risk losing its trademarks and diminishing their value to Tempnology. The loss of the contractual licensing value to Mission should instead be compensated via damages.

The First Circuit decision, however, was a direct split from the Seventh Circuit decision six years prior in Sunbeam Prods. v. Chi. Am. Mfg., LLC, 686 F.3d 372, 377 (7th Cir. 2012). The Seventh Circuit, with an opinion from its Chief Judge Easterbrook, stated that “[t]he limited definition in §101(35A) means that §365(n) does not affect trademarks one way or the other. According to the Senate committee report on the bill that included §365(n), the omission was designed to allow more time for study….” “What §365(g) does by classifying rejection as breach is establish that in bankruptcy, as outside of it, the other party’s rights remain in place. After rejecting a contract, a debtor is not subject to an order of specific performance…The debtor’s unfulfilled obligations are converted to damages…But nothing about this process implies that any rights of the other contracting party have been vaporized.”

Mission and its amici have urged the Supreme Court to adopt the Sunbeam approach, which allows licensees to keep their licensed trademark rights even when the debtor-licensor has successfully rejected the contract. Their reasons include:

  • Enabling the debtor to take back rights already granted to a licensee encourages them to “cut a better deal for those rights” to the detriment of the licensee through no fault of licensee’s. (Mission’s petition for writ of certiorari.)
  • “If the debtor believes its trademarks are worth the cost of monitoring, it will presumably incur that cost to preserve the value of the asset…. That decision is no different than the cost-benefit analysis debtors undertake every day when deciding whether to make an investment in an estate asset to maximize its value. It has no bearing on the question whether rejection terminates a licensee’s trademark rights.” (Mission’s petition for writ of certiorari.)
  • “A licensee who is confident that the licensor’s bankruptcy will not upend its continued right to use licensed trademarks or sell the debtor’s products under an exclusive-distribution agreement will be more inclined to enter into an agreement that creates net efficiencies for distribution and production arrangements.” (Mission’s petition for writ of certiorari.)
  • “Licensors benefit because licensees will pay more up front or in royalties for licensed rights that survive a potential bankruptcy filing by the licensor.” (INTA’s amicus brief.)
  • “Licensees, who have substantial reliance interests in the licensed trademarks (g., having hired employees and/or established manufacturing capacity to take advantage of the rights), will not suddenly find their rights rendered valueless by the licensor’s decision to terminate a trademark license agreement through rejection in bankruptcy.” (INTA’s amicus brief.)
  • “Under the First Circuit’s rule, a debtor/licensor can use the power to reject to destroy a licensee’s business or hold the licensee hostage, forcing it to pay twice for a license it had already purchased.” (Law professors’ amicus brief.)

Tempnology, on the other hand, sought to distinguish its case from that of Sunbeam’s. Sunbeam involved a “short term transitional license for sale of a finished product,” whereas the Tempnology-Misson agreement was a complex joint venture/joint marketing and distribution arrangement with a two-year wind-period that would require post-rejection interaction between the parties to ensure maintenance of quality control.

Regardless of how the Supreme Court eventually rules, having this issue settled will at least provide clarity for trademark licensors and licensees in the event of bankruptcy. We will report on the high court’s final decision.

About the author: Benni Amato is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. Her practice focuses on litigation matters involving trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, patents, internet issues, cybersecurity, and contractual disputes, as well as domain name arbitrations and trademark and copyright prosecution and licensing. Ms. Amato’s biography can be found here.

Supreme Court Holds Lost Foreign Profits Available under §284 in Connection with Foreign Contracts

Author: John Teresinski

In WesternGeco LLC v. Ion Geophysical Corp, 585 U. S. ____ (2018), the Supreme Court weighed in again on patent matters, ruling that lost profits may be awarded for patent infringement under 35 U.S.C.  §284 based on contracts outside of the U.S. While U.S. federal laws and U.S. Patents are generally presumed to apply to U.S. territories, the Court in WesternGeco found that lost profits are recoverable for infringement resulting from a U.S. activity of shipping infringing components of a patent invention overseas. The decision marks a broadening of potential damages available to patent owners for infringement.

The case arose from a patent infringement suit initiated by WesternGeco1 asserting its patents directed to technology for ocean floor surveying. WesternGeco claimed to be the only surveyor using its patented lateral-steering technology. In 2007, ION Geophysical Corporation began manufacturing components in the U.S. for a similar competing system and then shipping the components abroad to create surveying systems that were indistinguishable from WesternGeco’s. At trial, WesternGeco proved it lost 10 surveying contracts due to ION’s infringement. WesternGeco was awarded damages of $12.5 million in royalties and $93.4 million in lost profits.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the award of lost-profits damages. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court and after bouncing back to the Federal Circuit, the Court granted certiorari to determine the scope of the extraterritorial application of 35 U.S.C. §271(f).

In its decision, the Court discussed the two-step framework for deciding questions of extraterritoriality of U.S. statutes. The Court concluded that conduct relevant to the statutory focus is domestic. The Court proceeded to discuss §284 regarding damages remedies and the statutory framework for infringement under §271(f). In brief, the Court concluded that exporting components from the U.S. was a domestic act of infringement under §271(f)(2). The Court also distinguished the current case from damages claims that are based entirely on injury suffered abroad.2 The decision was authored by Justice Thomas and joined by a majority of the Court (7-2). Justice Gorsuch authored a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Breyer arguing that the Court’s decision improperly extends the reaches of patent infringement.

Practitioners will surely cite WesternGeco as a basis for broadening damages claims and, in particular, claims for lost profits when there are international sales and contracts. In patent cases, lost profits awards can often surpass the amounts of a reasonable royalty. While it remains to be seen whether this case will dramatically broaden damages awards, it is likely that WesternGeco will be limited to cases with similar factual scenarios to support enhanced damages. The Court noted the nearly indistinguishable nature of the infringing products and the limited developers of the technology. A copy of the Court’s opinion can be found here.

About the author: John Teresinski is a registered patent attorney and a member of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. His practice focuses on IP portfolio management, utility and design patent procurement, non-infringement and invalidity analyses, post grant proceedings, patent enforcement, and defense of matters for technology clients, with an emphasis on electrical and electromechanical, user experience, semiconductor, wireless communication, and display technologies in the computer and hardware industries.
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1 WesternGeco is a subsidiary of Schlumberger NV, the world’s largest oilfield services provider.
2 Citing RJR Nabisco, Inc., v. European Community,  579 U.S. ___,___ (2016) (Slip op., at 9).

USPTO Practice Change Increases Fees for Multiple Reissue Patents and Allows for Refund of Surcharge Fees

Author: Kimberley Chen Nobles

Managing a patent portfolio often includes payment of maintenance fees to keep patent rights in force. While patent owners are accustomed to the fee based system, the new practice can result in a significant increase in fees to maintain multiple reissue patents. In addition, patent owners may have an opportunity to recoup fees paid to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Recognizing certain fees can assist with planning and portfolio management.

The USPTO recently issued a new practice and guidance for maintenance fees with respect to multiple reissue patents.2 Maintenance fees are costs associated with maintaining a patent after the patent is granted and are due for the 3rd, 7th, and 11th anniversaries of the patent grant. Failure to pay the requisite maintenance fee can lead to loss of patent rights. Managing the timing of maintenance fee payments can avoid surcharges associated with the maintenance fees.

The following is an outline of how to identify which matters the new practice applies to, how to comply with the new practice, and an exemplary scenario.

USPTO Practice for Maintenance Fee Payments (and Possible Refund!)

Effective January 16, 2018, each utility reissued patent requires its own maintenance fees. This new practice replaces the former practice of only requiring payment of one maintenance fee in the latest reissue patent. Patent owners may have to budget additional funds for maintaining any multiple reissue patents.

What is a multiple-reissue patent?

A reissue patent is a patent grant that is issued to correct an error in an earlier patent grant. In some cases, multiple reissue patents are granted. Prior to the new practice, patent owners were only required to pay maintenance fees in the latest reissue patent for a multiple reissue patent family. The USPTO may reissue a single original patent as multiple reissued patents (35 USC 251(b), 37 CFR 1.77).

Example: Original patent is issued → Patent Owner initiates a Reissue proceeding to correct a defect in the patent → Multiple reissue patents issued (e.g., Reissue Pat 1 and Reissue Pat 2)

When are the fees due?

Maintenance fees are paid in windows, either 6 months before a due date, or six months following the due date. Payments in the 6-month window following a dude date require payment of a surcharge. The due dates for each window are three years and six months (3 ½ years), seven years and six months (7 ½ years), and eleven years and six months (11 ½ years), with the due dates calculated from the original patent date.

In the current fee schedule, the 3rd, 7th, and 11th anniversary fees are $1,600, $3,600 and $7,400, respectively.

 

Maintenance Fee Guidance

  • Identify Multiple Reissue Patents, Pending Reissue Applications, and Original Patents
  • Identify Maintenance Fee Payment Dates/Payments
  • Flag/Set fee payments for Multiple Reissue Patents
  • Determine if fee payments are due/have been paid within the period of January 16, 2018 to July 16, 2018
  • Determine if refunds should be requested for surcharge payments

What about payments made prior to January 16, 2018?

The new practice applies to payments made for maintenance fees on or after January 16, 2018 even if prepaid. For reissue matters that may have already been paid, check payments made from July 17, 2017 to January 15, 2018 (for multiple reissue matters). If a payment has been made, a separate maintenance fee may be required in any earlier reissued patent(s) and original patent if there is a pending reissue application.

Payments Made in Original Patent?

The new practice changes the procedure for original patents that are the basis for reissue patents and the basis for reissued applications. Maintenance fees remain due in the original patent whenever an application for reissue of the original patent is pending on the maintenance fee due date.

Payments Made for Reissue Application about to Issue?

Maintenance fee must be paid for the original patent to maintain the last reissued patent even when the reissue patent is expected to issue within the grace period.

Example Scenario – Pending Reissue Patent

For a 7 ½ year maintenance fee due date is Feb. 27, 2018, the new practice applies. In the scenario below, two reissue patents and one pending reissue application exist due to a previous reissue application. As a result, Maintenance fees for the 7 ½ year payment (e.g., $3,600 per reissue/pending reissue) must be made in both reissue patents and the original patent.

 

Requesting Surcharge Refund

While the surcharge fee of $160 based on the current fee scale is a fraction of some of the maintenance fees, Patent owners can request a refund of the surcharge under 37 CFR 1.20(h) for payments made from January 17, 2018 to July 16, 2018. As mentioned above, the surcharge cannot be waived at the time of payment. Refund requests must be made by January 16, 2019.

1 Link to Official Notice: https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/reissue-mf-pay.pdf?utm_campaign=subscriptioncenter&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term

2 Link to FAQs: https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/faqs-reissue-mf-pay.pdf?utm_campaign=subscriptioncenter&utm_content=&utm_medium=email&utm_name=&utm_source=govdelivery&utm_term

About the author: Kimberley Chen Nobles is a partner in Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani’s Intellectual Property practice group. She focuses her practice on representation of technology companies worldwide in transactional and litigation matters involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.  Ms. Nobles’ biography can be found here.

Craft Beer and Trademarks – 10 Takeaways from the 2017 College Football Season

Author: Michael Kanach

Nothing pairs quite like beer and football. As we approach Super Bowl LII, there is no shortage of articles informing businesses how to avoid a trademark dispute with the National Football League (NFL), particularly regarding the registered trademark “Super Bowl.”1 2 3 4 5

With advertisers paying millions of dollars for a 30 second advertisement spot during the “Big Game,” there are millions of reasons for the NFL to ask companies to cease and desist using its trademarks when used without authorization. AdAge estimates that marketers will have spent about $5.4 billion total in advertising over these 52 years of Super Bowls.6 An example of one brewery planning to make a big spend on Super Bowl Sunday is Gambrinus’ Spoetzl Brewery of San Antonio, Texas, one of the largest craft breweries in the nation.7 They are prepared to spend $1.2 million for a 30-second advertisement for its Shiner Bock beer brand to air across the State of Texas during the Super Bowl.8

According to The Brewers Association, there were more than 6,000 breweries operating in the United States in 2017.9 But, of course, not all breweries have the budget to spend on a television advertising spot during the Super Bowl, so craft breweries often have to come up with creative ways to get noticed. One way breweries have worked to obtain a local following is to support their local teams, professional and collegiate, especially during the football season. Sometimes, in this fandom, breweries (inadvertently) cross over the line into using their favorite team’s intellectual property without approval.

The following four stories from the 2017 college football season provide trademark and branding lessons for craft breweries who want to use trending themes, viral stories, names, and images from their local institutions – to sell beer.

As the images and stories below demonstrate, trademarks are not simply names, logos, and slogans. A trademark can be anything that indicates the source of a product or service. As these packages show, a trademark can be a color scheme, distinctive font, single letter, image (e.g., a train or a famous building on campus), trending hashtag, viral event, and even the design of a special necklace. The main lesson you can learn from these stories about craft breweries using others’ trademarks is to obtain prior written approval from the trademark owner.

Purdue University wins injunction over Boilermakers Beer:

In June 2016, an individual in Naples, Florida, obtained a trademark in the State of Indiana for the marks “Purdue Boilermakers Brewing” and “Boilermakers Beer” claiming first use in 2016.10 According to the defendant’s website, “Sports Beer Brewing Company™ is an intellectual property holding company consisting of a portfolio of sports trademarks, registrations and service marks for sports teams through out (sic) the United States.”11 It’s not clear whether Sports Beer Brewing Company actually brews beer themselves, since their website says they “will contract with a local micro-brewery in your area for a tasting to decide what type of beer you want to brew.”12

The Trustees of Purdue University own several federally registered trademarks, including “Purdue,” “Boilermakers,”13 and various images of trains or locomotives.14 One such registered trademark for BOILERMAKERS claims a first use in commerce at least as early as in 1959, decades before Sports Beer Brewing Company filed an application to register the trademark with the state of Indiana in 2016.15 The Trustees of Purdue University filed a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, to enforce their trademarks.

Purdue licenses its logos and trademarks to Peoples Brewing Company, located in Lafayette, Indiana, for labeling on a beer named “Boiler Gold.” Below left, is an image of the Boiler Gold beer can’s label,16 which contains authorized references to Purdue, a train, and the distinctive letter “P” and the school’s color scheme of “campus gold” and black.17 The infringer’s logo is shown below right, with the University’s name on a black background and underneath a gold and white-colored train.

On November 9, 2017, Purdue University obtained an injunction against Sports Beer Brewing Company and its owner Paul Parshall. The court found the defendant’s trademarks were confusingly similar to Purdue’s trademarks. The injunction read, in part, that Paul Parshall was:

… enjoined to immediately discontinue using or offering or licensing the terms “Purdue”, “Boilermakers”, “Boilermakers Beer” and “Purdue Boilermakers Brewing” or any other marks which feature the words “Boilermakers” and/or “Purdue” for any commercial purpose.

Sports Beer Brewing Company’s ownership of a state trademark did not prevent the university from obtaining an order enjoining it from selling products with the school’s names, logo, and color scheme. According to the defendant’s website, http://www.sportsbeerbrewing.com/, defendant still owns numerous other trademarks for beer names under a “claim your brand” link. These names include the following schools: Pitt (Pitt Panthers Brewing Co • Pitt Panthers Beer) and the University of Miami (Miami Hurricanes Brewing • Canes Beer), which are discussed below for other reasons.18

“Hail to Pitt” (University of Pittsburgh) – #H2P Beer Labels Removed:

In a separate dispute related to the University of Pittsburg (a.k.a. Pitt), a Pennsylvania craft brewery’s use of Pitt’s trademarks is a lesson for brewers to make sure to get written approval from the university before making any substantial investments in labels, bottles, and cans. Voodoo Brewery, located in Meadville, Pennsylvania, began selling a beer under the name “#H2P” with cans designed in Pitts’ colors and script and an image of a cathedral.19 This name “H2P” is short for “Hail to Pitt” and was a trending hashtag for the university during the college football season.20 Pitt owns a registered trademark for “H2P,” which was registered in 2011 and claimed a first use in commerce in 2010. In addition, Pitt owns at least two registered trademarks for “Pitt” with stylized font, and with a distinctive letter “P,” claiming a first use in commerce at least as early as 1990.21 22 Pitt’s colors are royal blue and yellow (or alternatively navy blue and gold).23 The Cathedral is focused throughout the University’s advertising, as shown in the school’s official “Graphic Standards.”24 The letter “P” in the brewery’s “H2P” logo appears to be the same “P” in the University’s registered “Pitt” logo, which has been used for decades.25

According to an October 2017 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Voodoo Brewery’s brewmaster was a former Pitt student and involved in athletics, and the brewery believed it had the University’s approval because the brewery had previously sold these beers on campus.26 However, there was nothing in writing from the University approving the packaging, so the brewery was forced to cease and desist using the schools trademarked hashtag, distinctive name, images, and color scheme.

University of Miami Hurricanes – Turnover Chain IPA Changes Name to “Chains”:

Like a viral hashtag, craft breweries tend to follow trending stories relating to their local teams and try to incorporate them into their beer names, labels, and designs. In 2017, J. Wakefield Brewing, in Miami, Florida, announced that it would brew a beer called “TURNOVER CHAIN” IPA.27 The “Turnover Chain” was a reference to the 2017 Miami Hurricanes’ football team’s over-sized, Cuban-linked, gold chain with a large “U” (for Miami University) in the school’s colors: orange and green. This chain is ceremoniously placed around a defensive player’s neck to wear on the sideline after forcing a turnover.

On November 16, 2017, the University of Miami filed a trademark application for TURNOVER CHAIN for various goods (although not including beer) claiming a date of first use in commerce in September 2017. (U.S. Trademark Serial No. 87688132). In addition, the University of Miami’s “Visual Identity Manual” explains that the University’s colors are orange and green and shows examples of the “U” logo, with orange on the left and green on the right.28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. Wakefield Brewing in Miami, Florida filed a Certificate of Label Approval (COLA) with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which was approved on November 19, 2017.29

An article on SouthFlorida.com’s website said that a former Miami Hurricane’s football player was on board and promoting the Miami-themed beer.30 In a separate Press Release in Brewbound, the brewery discussed how the founder and brewmaster Johnathan Wakefield was a big Miami Hurricane’s fan and met with a former player. But the brewer’s status as a true fan was not enough. Neither was label approval from the government or concept approval from a former football player. The brewery did not have approval from the University.

Shortly after initial announcements of the “TURNOVER CHAIN” beer, J. Wakefield Brewing began selling a product named “Chains” which no longer included the word “TURNOVER” and no longer included a green/orange color scheme. In an article in Brewbound, a disclaimer was included and the following explanation was provided related to the beer name: “Chains, formerly known as Turnover, is not affiliated with any educational institution and is not being marketed to college students.”31

Iowa University – “Iowa City Wave” Milkshake IPA:

Ending on a high note, the 2017 college football season had a true feel-good-story based in Iowa. At the end of the first quarter, at each of the University of Iowa home football games, the entire stadium full of more than 60,000 fans would turn towards the new UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital that overlooked the field.32 The fans inside Kinnick Stadium would wave to the children and their families inside the hospital, who would wave back. If you have not seen it yet, watch a video.33 It’s powerful.

Taking this trending, season-long, feel-good, local story and imagining a way to support their local team and local children, Backpocket Brewing in Iowa decided to brew a beer and donate the proceeds to the Children’s Hospital.34 After selling the “Iowa City Wave” milkshake IPA for a limited time, the brewery delivered a check of over $600 to the hospital, posting on Twitter the following message on November 20, 2017: “Thank you everyone who came out to the taproom & enjoyed our milkshake IPA to help us raise over $600 for the @UIchildrens #IowaCraftBeer.”35

While it may not be authorized by,36 sponsored by, or affiliated with the university,37 it is nice to see the donation being put to good use. It is not clear whether the brewery and the University or the hospital have been in contact regarding this beer name. This is a unique situation – but not because the brewery is making donations to the Children’s Hospital. For example, the outcome of the trademark disputes related to Purdue, Pitt, and Miami-branded craft beer would not have been different even if proceeds of sales were donated. Rather, it is a unique situation because it is not clear who owns “The Wave.” At this time, the University has not filed an application to register a trademark containing the word “Wave” for any goods and services. However, this new tradition of the “Wave” is likely to continue into next football season and it may become a clear indication of source for the University and/or the Children’s Hospital.

Conclusion:

The following do NOT automatically authorize you to use your favorite college’s trademarks:

  1. You are “local.”
  2. You are the #1 fan of the #1 team.
  3. You registered a trademark with the State.
  4. You obtained a COLA label approval for your label.
  5. You have been using a name in your advertising for years.
  6. You donate money to the school.
  7. You got approval from alumni (not even from famous alumni).
  8. You have sold that beer at the school before.
  9. You filed an application to register a trademark with the USPTO.
  10. You are donating all proceeds of all sales.

In conclusion, get approval from the owner of the trademark. Get it in writing. And then make sure you comply with the university’s branding requirements.If you do not have approval, check the branding requirements to familiarize yourself with the school’s brand so you can make sure you do not step over the line.

While each of the examples discussed above relate to universities, these lessons apply to the major leagues as well. For example, Boulevard Brewing was one of the first breweries to work with a Major League Baseball team when it became the official craft beer sponsor of the Kansas City Royals.38 39 In the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing partnered with both MLB’s San Francisco Giants (“Los Gigantes” Mexican Style Lager) and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors – using team logos and color schemes in their packaging.40 41 In addition, San Jose’s Gordon Biersch partnered with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks by creating a special “Chum” red dry hopped ale in team colors and including the team logo.42 These examples of official sponsorships and authorized uses of trademarks include official announcements and press releases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Kanach is a Partner in the firm’s Intellectual Property and Food & Beverage practice groups, and a frequent speaker and writer on craft beer trademark law. For more information about Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP’s Intellectual Property Practice Group, including the firm’s specialization in the craft beer industry, please visit www.grsm.com/practices/food-beverage/craft-breweries and https://www.gordonrees.com/practices/intellectual-property.

Mr. Kanach is also a member of the firm’s Entertainment, Fashion, Media & Sports practice group. For more information, please visit https://www.gordonrees.com/practices/entertainment-media-sports.
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1 “How to Use the Super Bowl to Promote Your Business – Not!” Small Business Trends, Joshua Sophy, January 28, 2018. https://smallbiztrends.com/2018/01/super-bowl-trademark-rules.html
2 “Super Bowl or the Game That Shall Not Be Named!” Hop Law, Garner & Ginsburg, P.A., December 20, 2017. http://www.hoppylawyers.com/super-bowl-game-shall-not-named/
3 “The NFL Pretending Trademark Law Says Something It Doesn’t Leads To Hilariously Amateurish Ads For ‘The Big Game’ – from the the-game-that-shan’t-be-named dept” Tech Dirt, Timothy Geigner, January 29, 2018. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180126/09444139092/nfl-pretending-trademark-law-says-something-it-doesnt-leads-to-hilariously-amateurish-ads-big-game.shtml
4 “Making Fair Use of the Super Bowl Trademark” Duets Blog, Steve Baird, September 25, 2017. https://www.duetsblog.com/2017/09/articles/advertising/making-fair-use-of-the-super-bowl-trademark/
5 “Securing necessary copyright and trademark rights for broadcasts and promotions related to the NFL championship games and Super Bowl 52” Lerman Senter PLLC (Lexology), January 11, 2018. https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=92ce3502-82e6-4768-8721-d279df297589 http://www.lermansenter.com/assets/attachments/758.htm
6 “Big Game Punting: Super Bowl Scores $5.4 Billion In Ad Spending Over 52 Years” AdAge, Bradley Johnson, January 11, 2018. http://adage.com/article/special-report-super-bowl/super-bowl-ad-spending-history-charts-52-years/311881/
7 “Brewers Association Releases 2017 Top 50 Brewing Companies By Sales Volume” Brewers Association, March 14, 2018, https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/brewers-association-releases-2017-top-50-brewing-companies-by-sales-volume/
8 “Craft Brewing and Distilling News for January 24, 2018” Shanken News Daily, January 24, 2018 http://www.shankennewsdaily.com/index.php/2018/01/24/20038/craft-brewing-distilling-news-january-24-2018/
9 “2017 Craft Beer In Review” Press Release, The Brewers Association, December 13, 2017. https://www.brewersassociation.org/press-releases/2017-craft-beer-review/
10 Indiana Government website trademark search page: http://www.in.gov/apps/sos/trademarks/
11 http://www.sportsbeerbrewing.com/claim-your-brand-.html
12 http://www.sportsbeerbrewing.com/about-us.html
13 U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4497301.
14 U.S. Trademark Registration Nos. 2023046 and 2023047.
15 https://www.whois.com/whois/sportsbeerbrewing.com
16 TTB ID 17283001000314 https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicFormDisplay&ttbid=17283001000314
17 https://www.purdue.edu/brand/downloads/508_Quick-Brand-Guide-PDF-300.pdf
18 http://www.sportsbeerbrewing.com/claim-your-brand-.html (last viewed on January 29, 2018).
19 “Pitt drops trademark hammer on Voodoo Brewery’s Pitt-themed beer” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Adam Bittner, October 19, 2017. http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/10/19/h2p-beer-pitt-trademark-voodoo-brewery-pittsburgh-panthers-homecoming/stories/201710190025
20 H2P (standard character mark) for magnets and label pins owned by the Registrant University of Pittsburgh-Of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education (“Pitt”) (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4014150)
21 PITT (in script lettering) for football helmets (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4960354).
22 PITT (in script lettering) for numerous goods, including shot glasses, drinking glasses, and miniature toy helmets (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4960171).
23 http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/06/27/Pitt-colors-change-royal-blue-and-yellow/stories/201706270143 “Will Pitt change its colors back to royal blue and yellow?” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Kevin Stankiewicz, June 27, 2017.
24 http://www.communications.pitt.edu/Graphic-Standards.pdf
25 PITT (in script lettering) for football helmets claims to have a first use in commerce at least as early as 1973 (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 4960354).
26 http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/Pitt/2017/10/19/h2p-beer-pitt-trademark-voodoo-brewery-pittsburgh-panthers-homecoming/stories/201710190025
27 “Miami Hurricanes’ Turnover Chain becomes a beer” SouthFlorida.com, Talia J. Medina, November 15, 2017. http://www.southflorida.com/restaurants-and-bars/drinking/sf-j-wakefield-turnover-chain-miami-canes-beer-20171115-story.html
28 The University of Miami’s “Visual Identity Manual” https://ucomm.miami.edu/_assets/pdf/tools-and-resources/UMiami_IDguide_March_2015.pdf (Updated March 2015)
29 Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (“TTB”) of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Certificate of Label Approval (“COLA”) TTB ID: 17320001000412, approved on November 19, 2017. https://www.ttbonline.gov/colasonline/viewColaDetails.do?action=publicDisplaySearchBasic&ttbid=17320001000412
30 See footnote 27: “The IPA will be brewed in partnership with former Miami Hurricanes linebacker D.J. Williams, who was a member of the 2001-2002 national championship team.”
31 “J. Wakefield Brewing to Release Chains New England-Style IPA” Brewbound, Press Release, Dec. 11, 2017. https://www.brewbound.com/news/j-wakefield-brewing-release-chains-ipa
32 “The Iowa Wave through a child’s eyes” USAToday, George Schroeder, November 2, 2017. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaaf/2017/11/02/iowa-wave-through-childs-eyes/826378001/
33 “Iowa Hawkeyes’ new tradition is more than just a wave” ESPN, Published on Sep 30, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7UqYD_owgY
34 “Iowa City Wave, Backpocket’s newest beer, will benefit the UI Children’s Hospital” Little Village Magazine, Emma McClatchey, November 2, 2017. http://littlevillagemag.com/iowa-city-wave-backpockets-newest-beer-will-benefit-the-ui-childrens-hospital/
35 https://twitter.com/BackpocketBrew/status/932722791710937088
36 See footnote 34. “Overton said he and other Iowa City natives on staff had been meaning to make a beer that pays homage to Hawkeye football. With Iowa City Wave, they not only nabbed a trademark-free title, but a way to both honor and contribute to the growing awareness of children’s hospital patients and their families by Hawk fans.”
37 According to a search of the University’s  searchable website portal, there do not appear to be any breweries listed as licensed: http://portal.uilicensing.com/index.cfm/licensee/search
38 “The Kansas City Royals have named an official craft beer. Will other teams follow?” The Washington Post, Fritz Hahn, March 10, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/03/10/the-kansas-city-royals-have-named-an-official-craft-beer-will-other-teams-follow/ (“The Kansas City Royals have named Boulevard Brewing their official craft beer partner. According to Major League Baseball, it’s the first time a team has had an official craft beer.”)
39 https://www.boulevard.com/partner/royals/
40 “Anchor Brewing’s Golden Warriors beer for the Dub Nation” The Mercury News, Jay R. Brooks, March 27, 2017, updated March 30, 2017. https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/03/27/anchor-brewings-golden-warriors-beer-for-the-dub-nation/
41 http://www.nba.com/warriors/anchor?mpweb=1009-2132-44620
42 “Gordon Biersch’s new San Jose Sharks beer is called ‘Chum’” The Mercury News, Sal Pizarro, September 8, 2016, updated September 9, 2016. https://www.mercurynews.com/2016/09/08/gordon-bierschs-new-san-jose-sharks-beer-is-called-chum/