The Petitions of the Week column highlights a selection of cert petitions recently filed in the Supreme Court. A list of all petitions we’re watching is available here.
In June, a unanimous Supreme Court threw out a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in a trademark dispute over a mock Jack Daniel’s bottle. The justices ruled that a satirical dog toy in the style of the famous whiskey bottle was not protected by the First Amendment, and they sent the case back to the lower courts for them to determine whether the toy infringes on the company’s trademark. This week, we highlight petitions that ask the court to consider, among other things, whether to review another trademark decision by the 9th Circuit, this time in a clash between two feuding furniture makers.
Trademarks identify brands in a market. To prevent confusion among consumers and discourage competitors from passing off rival goods as their own, trademark law gives producers protection over words (think Coca-Cola) and designs (the cursive logo). Recognizing that the style of a brand can sometimes acquire its own meaning in the market, the law may also protect the overall presentation of goods packaged for sale – a concept…