By: Eric G. Soller
The U.S. Supreme Court in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank et al., resolved a circuit split with respect to the “tacking” doctrine in trademark law, holding that it is for the jury to decide whether a party is entitled to tack the use of previous marks to establish priority.
Trademark law provides that a party who first uses a mark in commerce has “priority” over other users of the same or confusingly similar marks. Tacking permits a trademark user to make modifications to their mark over time without losing priority if the modified mark creates the same, continued commercial impression so that consumers consider both marks as the same mark. This allows brand owners to update the mark over time without losing the priority date of the original mark. For example, in Hana Financial, the prior user established priority in their HANA BANK mark by tacking the use of two previously used marks, HANA OVERSEAS KOREAN CLUB and HANA WORLD CENTER.
The Court held that the issue of tacking should be a jury determination because the doctrine focuses on the impression a mark creates on the ordinary consumer. The Court reasoned that the “ordinary consumer” is similar to other factual determinations made by juries, such as the “reasonable man” or the “average person.”
As a result, the ability to have these matters addressed early in litigation is reduced, possibly leading to increased litigation costs.
Several members of the Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, LLP Law Firm volunteered this weekend at the Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh event. Mission of Mercy Pittsburgh, is a free, two-day dental clinic for under-served people living in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, many of whom are from working families who do not have access… Read more »Read More
Articles In This Issue: 1. High Court Overturns 95-Year-Old Antitrust Rule of Law to Permit Retail Price Maintenance Agreements 2. Missing Word Invalidates Form Related Information: Firm Newsletter, Summer 2007Read More
Pietragallo Partner Kevin Raphael will be speaking at the University Risk Management and Insurance Association’s (URMIA) Northeast Regional Conference on April 15th and 16th in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Raphael will be one of three panelists, along with Benjamin Evans (Associate Vice President for Risk Management and Insurance at University of Pennsylvania) and Dean Constatine (Global… Read more »Read More
Pietragallo partners John Schwab and Jim Kraus will be discussing topics related to federal criminal practice in a four-hour symposium hosted by the Allegheny County Bar Association on Friday, April 24th, 2020. Do you have your first criminal case in Federal Court or do you practice criminal defense and need a refresher on the specifics… Read more »Read More