It’s no secret that the courts don’t give a whole lot of thought to what a trademark actually is.
That’s because trademark law doesn’t even begin to capture what a company actually is, much less how it’s supposed to be used.
And that’s where the legal teams at the law firms of Kirkland & Ilitch, Covington &.; Burling &.
Burling and the law firm of Mayer Brown come in.
They represent some of the biggest companies in the world, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Microsoft’s parent company, and Yahoo!
Inc. They’re also among the lawyers most active in bringing trademark cases.
They’ve worked on some of America’s most successful intellectual property cases, including the famous case against Google in 2006, the Google Maps case in 2011, and the Motorola Mobility case in 2014.
Kirkland, which is based in Chicago, has handled nearly all of these cases, and they’ve won.
But there’s one area where they’re really not doing well: trademark law.
The trademark experts we spoke with pointed to the Supreme Court’s decision in Motorola Mobility that year, which struck down a key provision of the 1976 Trademark Act that was meant to protect companies from generic competition.
That meant that a company that was originally created to sell smartphones could not use its brand name for a competing product.
The court held that, under the act, “anyone can be sued by a manufacturer of a product who uses a trademark to sell that product.”
Kirkland argued in the court’s ruling that Motorola Mobility was essentially violating trademark law, because it could not simply make a generic version of its phones.
That ruling came after the Supreme Supreme Court heard the Motorola case, and it was the first time in decades that the court had ruled that a trademark law claim could be made under the Trademark Trial and Appeal Act.
Kirklands lawyers argued that there was no real reason why Motorola should have been able to use the name “Motorola” in its phones because there was nothing at issue in that case.
And while the ruling was not unanimous, the court did find that there were some problems with the Trademarks Act that needed to be addressed.
“The Trademark Trial and Appeals Act was created to deal with the very real problem that there are too many generic alternatives in the marketplace today,” said Kirkland lawyer Chris Jaffe.
“It was created with the goal of preventing a generic competitor from dominating the marketplace by creating new generic products that have no relationship to a particular trademark.”
The court was also concerned that the Trademonter Act, which was created in response to a patent troll that was threatening to destroy a number of American companies, was not sufficiently protective of a company’s trademarks.
“A trademark is not a mere piece of paper,” wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the ruling.
“Every word that a person says in a speech is a word that may be copied and used by others.
It can be copyrighted and it can be registered, but the very existence of a word can never be used to infringe on another person’s rights.”
And that was true in the Motorola saga.
Kirklanders lawyers pointed out that it’s a lot easier to create a generic brand than to invent one.
It’s a matter of convenience, as opposed to importance.
“If you could patent the phrase ‘Apple iPhone’ and sell that device in the United States,” Kirkland attorney Richard Kucher said, “you’d have a problem.
You’d have to invent something new to make that product commercially viable.”
Kirklands attorneys argued that, as a result, the Tradement Act should not have been used to prevent Motorola Mobility from using its trademark to make phones.
“We are concerned that this decision in the Trademanct Act does not address the legitimate concerns that the Court has raised in other cases involving patents and trademarks,” Kirklands wrote in a court filing last year.
But the Kirkland attorneys did not rule on the question of whether the Trademean Act should be read narrowly, which would have allowed them to stop the company from using the name in its devices.
Kirklander’s legal team argued that the statute does not cover “the generic term used to describe an electronic device,” as opposed the specific trademark that the company’s name used.
That term, “iPhone,” “iPhone”, “iPhone” are not the same thing.
That was a common defense used by the Tradethe law firms when they tried to stop Apple from using Motorola’s name in iPhones.
The Trademark Office’s lawyers argued in their briefs that the term iPhone “appears to be generic in that it has no relation to any of the trademarks held by Apple,” and thus is not subject to the Tradems Act.
But Kirkland’s attorneys argued again and again that the trademark law does not apply to generic terms like “iPhone.”
The Trademenct Act, they said, only applies to generic marks