A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Denies Preliminary Injunction in Trademark Infringement Action

In a June 17, 2016 ruling, Judge Coleen McMahon denied the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction against trademark infringement, and ordered the plaintiff to show cause why the entire action should not be dismissed.  Despite two registration's for the plaintiff's mark with the PTO, the Court found that the mark was essentially a copy of the flag of the former Kingdom of Laos.  Judge McMahon ruled that "[i]t is axiomatic that a design comprising a flag cannot be trademarked."  The Court rejected the plaintiff's argument that the former Kingdom had abandoned the flag in 1975, similarly finding that under the PTO's Trademark Manual of Examining Procedures, "'former flags of existing countries, states or municipalities are refused.'"  Without a protectible mark, Judge McMahon noted that none of the plaintiff's claims appeared to state a claim for relief, and issued the order to show cause as to why they should not be dismissed.
The general information and thoughts posted to this blog are provided only as an informational service to the web community and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. Nothing on this blog is intended to create an attorney-client relationship and nothing posted constitutes legal advice. You should understand that the posts by the author, who is an attorney at U.S. law firm Allegaert, Berger & Vogel, may or may not reflect the views of that firm and that the author of this blog is only authorized to practice law in the jurisdictions in which he is properly licensed to do so. For additional information, click here.