Wal-Mart's Trademarked Smiley Face Turned Upside Down; Parody Isn't A Trademark Violation
from the not-so-smiley-now? dept
Paul Alan Levy writes "In a new decision, a federal judge in Atlanta has rejected a claim by Wal-Mart that parody t-shirts and bumper stickers sold over CafePress.com, using the phrases "walocaust," and "wal-qaeda," violate its trademark. The court ruled that the fact that the parodies are sold on t-shirts does not detract from the non-commercial nature of the expression, which takes them outside the scope of trademark dilution law, and requires a treatment of infringement claims that is sensitive to free speech rights. The court also rejected out of hand Wal-Mart's outrageous claim that has trademark rights in the yellow "smiley-face" that the parodist used in one of his anti-Wal-Mart designs."