Chipotle's Social Media Policy Held Illegal

In re Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill

Facts:

  • Employee posted tweets complaining of charges by Chipotle for "extras" (like guacamole), and complaining about level of wages paid.
  • Employee was asked by Chipotle to remove tweets (which he did).
  • Employee was fired.

Held Illegal by NLRB:

  • Social Media policy prohibits "posting incomplete, confidential, or inaccurate info and [prohibits] making disparaging, false, or misleading statements."
  • Directs an employee to delete certain tweets,
  • Employee was fired for above activity.

Court Dismisses Trademark Claims Over Allusion to "Dirty Dancing" in Social Media and TV Ad

Lions Gate v. TD Ameritrade Services

Facts: Social media post and TV ad in references to "nobody puts your old 401K in the corner," "baby," "time of your life," and a dance move depiction arguably reminiscent of the movie Dirty Dancing.

Motion by Defendant: False association, trademark infringement , unfair competition, and dilution claims should be preempted by Copyright Law.

Holding: Such trademark claims are preempted because claims are the same as the copyright claim (i.e., defendants failed to get permission to use the "idea, concept, or communication" of the plaintiff).


Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Reviews "Jaws" Named Marks

In re Mr. Recipe LLC

Facts: Applicant applied to register the trademark "Jaws" and 'Jaws Devour Your Hunger" for an internet channel related to cooking.

Applicant's Arguments:

  • Cooking shows are separate and distinct from movies
  • "Streaming of audiovisual programming" is different than recordings themselves.

Holding:

  • "Jaws" is a famous mark.
  • "No excuse for approaching a famous mark."
  • One mark is identical and one is similar in sound.
  • Goods and services are related.
  • "Jaws" registrations do not exclude cooking.
  • Applicants marks are likely to cause confusion

NAD Recommends Product Name Be Changed Due to Unsupported Ad Claim

In re Rust-Oleum (#5934)

Facts:

  • "Ultra Cover 2X" is a brand of spray paint, which has been on the market for eight years.
  • "2X" is more prominent than the rest of the name.

Holding:

  • "Ultra Cover 2X" reasonably conveys the message that the product delivers twice the coverage of competing brands.
  • Evidence of consumer confusion is not required to recommend a product name change for express claims.
  • Recommended product name be discontinued

NAD Refers Company to FTC For Failure To Comply Promptly to Recommendation

In re New Nordic U.S.A. Inc. (#5901C)

Facts:

  • NAD recommended that New Nordic discontinue certain claims.
  • New Nordic agreed.
  • New Nordic continued its challenged advertising, but planned to change product within two months in such a way that would make claims truthful.

Holding:

  • The fact that the advertiser "is in the process of making modifications to the product formula does not relieve the advertiser from its obligations to discontinue."
  • Failure to discontinue does not constitute a bona fide effort to comply with NDA.
  • NAD referred to FTC for enforcement.