This Is Trademark: Kate Spade Had To Go To Court To Use The Term 'Saturday' In A Clothing Line

from the so-week dept

If you want to highlight the silly behavior of some folks when it comes to protecting their all-important trademarks, marks on generic terms typically does the job nicely. Whether it's board game makers going after folks for using a common phrase or banks threatening reporters over virtual wallets, the idea of locking up some commonly used words for the purpose of commerce is usually enough to make most folks pinch their noses.

But, because one silly turn deserves another, we've now reached the point where companies are fighting over days of the week, such as the case of Kate Spade winning out over Saturday Surf LLC for the ability to use the name of everyone's favorite day in a clothing line.

After recently filing a lawsuit declaring that its new, SATURDAY brand, did not infringe on the name of any of the popular men’s clothing company, SATURDAY SURF LLC, the district court officially ruled in the women’s retail apparel company’s favor.

Shortly after filing the suit, Surf LLC filed a counterclaim alleging trademark infringement and reverse confusion against Kate Spade’s use of the word Saturday in its new brand. Surf’s biggest concern was that the use of the term Saturday would confuse consumers by leading them to believe that Surf’s products were licensed by or affiliated with Kate Spade, or that Surf was the one infringing on Kate Spade’s SATURDAY mark.
Everyone stand up and take a bow: there are people in court fighting over the word Saturday. That it's a day of the week apparently wasn't enough to make it ineligible for a trademark, of course, but the court ruled instead that the use of Saturday in clothing lines was so widespread that Surf shouldn't be allowed to lock it up against another company's use. That's a good ruling, of course, and the court went on to state that Surf didn't come anywhere near proving they relied on the Saturday mark.
The court also held that Surf did not present sufficient evidence showing use of SATURDAYS as a trademark. According to the ruling, the court found that Kate Space had adopted the SATURDAY mark in good faith, citing Kate Spade’s lack of knowledge about Surf and its consultation with counsel before and after learning of Surf and its SATURDAY-formative marks.
Nice, but all I'm left with is that fact that this required legal action.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 3:05pm

    Favorite day?

    Saturday?

    Surely you jest.

    Work in the service industry for any length of time and you come to LOATHE Saturdays with a burning passion that makes how the NSA views Snowden to be nothing more than someone giving someone else the cold shoulder.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:14pm

    Monster Saturday

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:17pm

    Timmy comes out for regulating businesses! Merely "for the purpose of commerce" must never stifle others.

    I assume Timmy considers himself a "libertarian", but he's just stumbled into the apparent paradox that the only "free" markets are well-regulated! Well here means simply common sense of preventing corporations from locking up ordinary words. But following that line of thought very shortly leads to concluding that corporations must serve public interests rather than be let run loose, and suddenly all the "excessive" regulation of the past -- when the country was most prosperous -- begins to make sense. Corporations will lock up and "monetize" EVERYTHING if allowed to.

    Just one short step more is to recognize that a legislated monopoly such as the NFL can never be consistent with freedom: we could get meaningless sports contests much more cheaply if that monopoly were taken away... So, Timmy: glad to see you're coming along!

    Anyone who doesn't want to tax the hell out of The Rich is advocating for the existing re-distribution from laborers to the few, for concentration of power and its unearned inheritance, besides equating having money with merit. (188 of 193)

    12:17:03[n-290-3]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 4:51pm

    someone like to tell me what we have to call Saturday now? when we are going to go shopping are we supposed to go on any day except the one between Friday and Sunday and not arrange for anything to happen on that day either?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:25pm

    Re:

    And what night will be all right for fighting?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Meanwhile...

    Meanwhile... coming to a Phone near you

    Saturday Smurf™ - available Tuesdays only

    This syndicated paid-for-by-tax-payers advertisement has been brought to you by your local friendly FBI

    Saturday Smurf™ is compatible with Nosey Smurf™, Dreamy Smurf™ and Tracker Smurf™

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:45pm

    Re: Timmy comes out for regulating businesses! Merely "for the purpose of commerce" must never stifle others.

    "I assume Timmy considers himself a "libertarian""

    Hardly. I'm generally left of center, more commonly on the socialist side than anything, but with enough libertarian dashed in to keep things interesting.

    "and suddenly all the "excessive" regulation of the past -- when the country was most prosperous -- begins to make sense."

    If you're point is that we're currently under-regulated, I agree with you. Which is weird. And if by the past you mean the 1950's, then I agree with you more than you likely know.

    "Just one short step more is to recognize that a legislated monopoly such as the NFL can never be consistent with freedom: we could get meaningless sports contests much more cheaply if that monopoly were taken away... So, Timmy: glad to see you're coming along!"

    See, I DO agree with this. You know who doesn't? YOU. You can't say this in one breath and talk up copyright, another legislated monopoly, with the other. At least I'm consistent....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 31st, 2014 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Timmy comes out for regulating businesses! Merely "for the purpose of commerce" must never stifle others.

    Understand though that we are not more or less regulated now, as much as we have less places to hude our misdeeds, so there appears to be more regulation.

    Quite simply, in the 50s brands and fashion could be a very regional thing, with people from other parts of the country totally unaware of each other. Now Saturday Surf and Saturday Brand compete on the open playing field that includes the internet, which means people all over are just as likely to know the brands.

    Enforcement of trademark tends to come with knowledge. The internet makes that knowledge easier to acquire, and so the trademark brand will know about others trying to use similar branding very quickly.

    Using the old Techdirt saw: Technology allows it, and as technology is always right, you get what you get. Technology makes it very possible to track infringement of trademarks all over the world without having to travel. Instead of having to send out people to look for the infringement, you just type in "saturday brand clothes" and you get what you get.

    The levels of enforcement are only a result of the levels of knowledge that technology affords.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 2:42am

    "...all I'm left with..."

    ...is an ineluctable disdain for the Saturday Surf brand.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 1st, 2014 @ 3:26am

    May I suggest a change to trademark law so that if you want a dictionary word(s) for a trademark you must register a graphic, and the graphic must include some distinguishing element, like the Golden 'M' of McDonalds (fast food), or be used in conjunction with some other graphic element. That is an abstract concept, such as a word, or a symbol cannot be registered as a trademark, only graphic representations of them, which must be provided as part of the registration.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), Feb 1st, 2014 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Timmy comes out for regulating businesses! Merely "for the purpose of commerce" must never stifle others.

    You know who doesn't? YOU. You can't say this in one breath and talk up copyright, another legislated monopoly, with the other.[emphasis added]
    If he's merely a contrarian troll, he certainly can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Mats Svensson, Feb 2nd, 2014 @ 2:07pm

    Good news!

    "Fucktards" is still available as a brand.
    Look into it, surf dudes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 27th, 2014 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Timmy comes out for regulating businesses! Merely "for the purpose of commerce" must never stifle others.

    horse with no name just can't stand it when due process is enforced.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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