Skip to Content
ublogo print

University Libraries

Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

Law Library News

Posts Tagged ‘Trademark’

Knock It Off With The Knockoffs

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


If there is one piece of my wardrobe that I consider a staple, hands down it’s my chucks. If you need to ask what color, clearly you don’t recall my philosophy from the Law Library’s fashion exhibit. Generations have enjoyed the classic sneakers, and they even managed to work their way into pop culture (perhaps you had the eye of the tiger and noticed them on a certain boxer from Philly during an iconic training montage). With such a history, you can image that Converse is none too pleased that there are other companies edging onto its turf and is now looking to KO the knock-offs in court. (See what I did there?)

On Tuesday, Converse filed 22 separate lawsuits that accused 31 companies of trademark infringement.  You may recall some of the intricate footwork required when Christina Louboutin tried to trademark its red sole  or the Beyonce/Jay-Z fail to lock down the name Blue Ivy. Converse claims that its trademarked designs include the black stripe on the mid-soles as well as the “logo-crested heel bumpers.” Converse tweeted out a diagram explaining what “makes a Chuck a Chuck” on October 14.  On top of the 22 lawsuits it filed in the United States District Court in Brooklyn, Converse is also looking overseas since it filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission.

Best of luck, Converse. You’re looking at a Drago of a challenge.

Duking It Out

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |


I will admit to a slight obsession with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since the royal wedding, but just as there is one fictional lawyer for me (who you can now take to the beach in ebook form—thanks, Harper!) there is only one Duke. Do I need to give you three guesses, Pilgrim? Obviously I’m talking about Marion Robert Morrison, better known as John Wayne. Fun fact—John Wayne starred in the “print the legend” masterpiece, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,  which contains my second favorite fictional lawyer, Ransom Stoddard. So when I hear that certain institution of higher learning is putting its dukes up against the legend who brought Sean Thornton and Rooster Cogburn to life, its’ going to catch my attention.

Duke University and John Wayne Enterprises—Wayne passed in 1979, but his heirs are keeping up the legacy—have been squaring off over the word “Duke” for years now. (Back in ’05, the University objected to the heirs’ trademark application to use the name Duke for a restaurant.) Now the University is objecting to John Wayne Enterprises’ plans to expand into the bourbon market.  The heirs have taken the University to court, arguing, “Duke University does not own the word ‘Duke’ in all contexts for all purposes.”

Them’s clearly fightin’ words. I’m not sure how this one is going to shake out, but I am fairly certain that you don’t want to mess with the Duke.