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Decisions in Trademark Case and Government's Challenge to IR&D Finding

By FindLaw Staff on March 22, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In Odom's Tennessee Pride Sausage, Inc. v. FF Acquisition, LLC, No. 09-1473, the Federal Circuit addressed plaintiff's challenge to the decision of the U.S. P.T.O., Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant in an opposition to a trademark application. 

Plaintiff, a producer of food items such as sausages and breakfast sandwiches, argued that defendant's new mark depicting a farm boy, resembled its registered mark and would likely cause prospective consumers to be confused.  In affirming the decision, the court concluded that under DuPont factors, there were sufficient distinctions between the registered marks such as, the size and shape of the boys' hands and feet, shape and size of their hats, and the fact that the defendant's boy has a piece of straw in his mouth and is wearing shoes while plaintiff's boy has neither. 

In ATK Thiokol, Inc. v. US, No. 09-5036, the court faced a challenge to the Court of Federal Claims' decision that Development Effort costs for plaintiff's upgraded rocket motor were chargeable as indirect independent research and development (IR&D) costs.  In affirming the decision, the court concluded that it was proper for plaintiff to treat its Development Effort costs as indirect costs as the costs were related to a contract with Mitsubishi, but not specifically required by that contract.

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