By Jonathan M. Gelchinsky | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 967
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued thirteen trademark decisions in 2014, six of which are precedential, while the other seven are nonprecedential. Eight of the thirteen decisions involved primarily substantive issues, while the remaining five involved mostly procedural issues. All except one of the decisions involved appeals from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The remaining decision was based on an appeal from a U.S. district court. Six of the TTAB appeals were based on opposition proceedings, three were based on cancellation proceedings, and three were ex parte appeals of registration refusals.
The Federal Circuit affirmed the lower tribunal in eight of the thirteen decisions. It reversed the TTAB in three cases, one of which involved substantive trademark issues. It dismissed the appeal in one case as moot, and it dismissed a cross-appeal in another case as improper. The Federal Circuit considered one matter of first impression, namely, whether a claim for fraud under section 38 of the Lanham Act may only be asserted on the basis of a registered trademark. Finally, the Federal Circuit issued another six summary affirmances in appeals from TTAB proceedings without opinions.
This Article discusses each of the Federal Circuit’s thirteen trademark opinions in 2014. The discussions are grouped by the cases’ primary issue. The first part of this Article will discuss opinions that dealt with substantive trademark issues, while the second part will examine opinions that were primarily focused on procedural issues.