Photo: Nicole Polizzi Brands
Smell of Success—Reality TV star Nicole Polizzi won an injunction against a Princeton perfume company she says sold a knock-off version of her eponymous fragrance, “Snooki.”
The former “Jersey Shore” cast member, currently appearing on “Snooki & JWoww,” sued Excell Brands for trademark infringement, claiming the design of its “Snazzy Woman” perfume imitates her own.
Snazzy Woman’s box is labeled, “Our version of ‘Snooki by Nicole Polizzi’” and uses a logo similar to the one appearing on the official fragrance. Both perfume boxes feature a brunette woman—a hand-drawn one on Snazzy, Polizzi’s photo on Snooki—as well as leopard and zebra prints and a pink-and-purple color scheme.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Naomi Renee Buchwald in Manhattan enjoined Excell from any further reference to Polizzi or her trade names on “Snazzy Woman.”
Still to be resolved is Polizzi’s prayer for more than $6 million in damages. Excell moved for dismissal of the suit in December, calling Polizzi’s infringement claims baseless.
Polizzi’s attorney, Charles Harder of Harder, Mirell & Abrams in Los Angeles, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did Excell Brand’s lawyer, Ronald Israel, of Wolff & Samson in West Orange.
Photo: Keith Allison, via Wikimedia Commons
Skin-Deep Impact—A U.S. Patent and Trademark Office panel ruled Wednesday that the trademarks of the National Football League’s Washington Redskins’ registrations are “disparaging to Native Americans” and must be canceled.
The majority of the three-judge panel rejected the argument that the team has given the term “redskins” a secondary or alternate meaning that strips it of its ethnic connotations. The term retains the core meaning Native American, the judges said.
The team’s lawyers, Robert Raskopf, Claudia Bogdanos and Todd Anten of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, said they are “confident” that the ruling will be overturned on appeal.
If the decision stands, it won’t bar the team, which is owned by Daniel Snyder, from using the trademark. But the team’s ability to “stop others from using the name or to force licensing of the name in all situations would be severely curtailed, which would cut into both the team’s profit margin and its ability to choose the products and services with which the team and its name are associated,” said Reed Smith trademark litigator Brad Newberg. “This could be close to the final straw in forcing the NFL and Daniel Snyder to change the name of the team.”
Donald Trump (Photo: Amy Beth Bennett)
You’re Sanctioned!—A federal judge on Tuesday sanctioned Donald Trump and his company for not disclosing a $5 million insurance policy that could have been used to settle claims over the failed Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The 24-story tower was nearly completed when the developer defaulted in 2009 on the $139 million construction loan. Investors were left without an economically viable way to take title to their condominium units, and a series of lawsuits were set in motion in state and federal courts. All the defendants but Trump settled.
Plaintiff attorney Jared Beck of Beck & Lee in Miami requested sanctions last November after being told by Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, that an AIG insurance policy had “dried up.”
“This was the first time plaintiffs learned of insurance coverage for any defendant, much less that such coverage had been depleted,” Beck stated in his motion for fees, which U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams in Miami granted on Tuesday.
Additionally, Beck filed other motions seeking discovery based on a theory that Trump had a national strategy of not disclosing applicable insurance policies in litigation.
Trump faces litigation related to condominium tower projects in 10 cities across the Americas.
Weak Link—A federal judge on Thursday refused to let LinkedIn Corp. off the hook for pestering its members’ acquaintances to join the professional networking site.
Ruling in a privacy class action, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California found that the social networking site might have damaged its users’ reputations by sending repeated emails to addresses harvested from their contact lists.
Koh dismissed some claims, reasoning that plaintiffs gave consent for the company to invite contacts to join their professional networks. However, she faulted the company for persisting with its email campaign even after recipients declined to join the site. Because the messages appear to come from users, they could be “professionally or personally harmful,” Koh wrote.
The suit, Perkins v. LinkedIn, accuses LinkedIn of harvesting users’ email addresses without their consent to send invitations that are virtually spam. On message boards, one user accused LinkedIn of “hacking,” while another complained that the site was “hurting my reputation rather than helping it,” according to the complaint.
Koh noted that none of the plaintiffs had opted out of the invitation service, though they had the option to do so. She added that LinkedIn was more forthright about its harvesting of user information than many technology companies.
—By Jennifer Genova, Jenna Greene, Adolfo Pesquera and Julia Love