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Adding '.com' Changes Everything, or Does It? Updates in Fourth Circuit Trademark Law

  • January 10, 2020

Melanie Dubis and Sloan Carpenter co-authored a column in reviewing important developments in trademark law at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which includes the Carolinas. 

"Can the combination of a generic word and a generic website ending like .com create something distinctive enough to be trademarked?" they wrote along with Catherine Lawson. "When does a large company’s attempt to reduce confusion with a smaller business’s slogan actually result in more confusion? And should a company that wins an argument with the government still have to pay Uncle Sam’s attorneys’ fees?"

"Judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit recently answered those important questions for the world of trademark law, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to consider some of their answers," they continued. "The rulings in v. United States Patent and Trademark Office and Fleet Feet v. Nike have significant implications for the intersection of trademark law and the internet, the competition between larger and smaller businesses, and the cost of being right."

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