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Blog Home | September 19, 2014

Update: Starbucks and Ethiopian Farmers Reach Trademark Agreement

Last year, coffee giant Starbucks was involved in a trademark dispute with Ethiopia over the names of three different coffees sold by Starbucks. The coffee names – Yirgacheffe, Harar and Sidamo – refer to regions within Ethiopia, and the coffee drinks themselves are made with beans from these respective regions. Concerned that its farmers were [...]

DEAD: Beverage Container with Tamperproof Screwcap Thread

United States Patent No. 4,669,124 (“the ’124 patent”) expired on May 26, 2007 for a BEVERAGE CONTAINER WITH TAMPERPROOF SCREWCAP THREAD. Over the years, a variety of containers have been used to hold beverages: glass bottles; aluminum cans; plastic jars; and, yes, even synthetic bags. Many have had the extent of their use dwindle and [...]

Alive: Patent 7,228,158 for Portable Terminal Capable of Producing Stereo Sound

United States Patent No. 7,228,158 (“the ’158 patent”) issued on June 5, 2007 for PORTABLE TERMINAL CAPABLE OF PRODUCING STEREO SOUND. What ever happened to the early days of cell phones? The days where people carried around a headset attached to a large suitcase-like docking station and referred to the contraption as a “mobile phone”. [...]

Patent Application for Synthetic Bacterium Raises Concern

On May 31, 2007, the USPTO published Venter Institute’s U.S. Patent application number 2007/0122826 for “Minimal Bacterial Genome”. The significance of the application is that the invention described is the world’s first-ever human-made species, a “free-living organism that can grow and replicate”. Appropriately named “Synthia”, the species is made entirely with synthetic DNA from the [...]

Chocolate Company Hershey Sues Marijuana Dealer for Trademark Infringement

Chocolate giant Hershey Co. filed a lawsuit on May 10, 2007 against Kenneth Affolter, a California-based marijuana dealer. The lawsuit accuses Affolter of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition, and Hershey is seeking $100,000 worth of damages. The suit ensued after Affolter sold marijuana-laced snacks with names like Keef Kat, Puff-A-Mint Patty, Rasta Reese’s [...]