“Punchbowl News” Doesn’t Infringe Trademark for “Punchbowl” Online Greeting Card Service
From today’s decision in Punchbowl, Inc. v. AJ Press, LLC, written by Judge Daniel Bress and joined by Judge John Owens and District Judge Sidney Fitzwater:
Punchbowl, Inc., is an online party and event planning service. Punchbowl News is a subscription-based online news publication that provides articles, podcasts, and videos about American politics, from a Washington, D.C. insider’s perspective. Punchbowl claims that Punchbowl News is misusing its “Punchbowl” trademark. Applying our
precedents, we hold that Punchbowl News’s use of the term “Punchbowl” is expressive in nature and not explicitly misleading as to its source. It thus falls outside the Lanham Act [the federal trademark statute] as a matter of law.
Seems quite right to me, under the so-called Rogers test:
The Lanham Act “creates a comprehensive framework for regulating the use of trademarks and protecting them against infringement, dilution, and unfair competition.” Traditionally, courts apply a likelihood-of-confusion test to claims brought under the Lanham Act.
When “artistic expression is at issue,” however, we have held that “the traditional test fails to account for the full weight of the
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