Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff | Mark Kaufman

In this post, names and circumstances have been changed to obscure the guilty. Let’s say that my client makes plain sweatshirts, and on the back of some of these blank sweatshirts, someone else had printed Alamo-related text and imagery and was selling them. They were doing this on behalf of a local community baseball team that incorporated the word “Alamo” in its design. And let’s say that a plaintiff named Pat files and owns a registration for the trademark in “Remember the Alamo.” Somewhere along the way, Pat catches sight of these sweatshirts and thinks, “Ah, I’ve got them now. They’re a great big sweatshirt company, and I’ll sue them for trademark infringement as well as copyright infringement, because I have a distinctive way that I present the word ‘Alamo’!” (Interesting note: Pat, who represented himself, only provided extremely low-quality pictures of his design in his complaint. I still don’t think anyone knows what his design looks like.)

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