Jordan LaVine, head of FG's Trademark Department, was quoted extensively in a Philadelphia Magazine article discussing a trademark dispute that hit state court this week. Hidden City Philadelphia, a Center City nonprofit, has sued 6ABC over the station’s series of segments titled “Hidden Philadelphia.”
Corcoran may do well to keep the case out of federal court. According to Philadelphia intellectual property attorney Jordan LaVine, whose clients include GrubHub, the New York Times, the Vanguard Group, and Variety magazine, the case would be no slam dunk in federal court.
As far as LaVine is concerned, the Hidden City Philadelphia trademark is just not distinctive enough to make the case an easy win.
“It’s a close call,” says LaVine. “But it’s just not a particularly strong mark. Think of a totally arbitrary mark or a fanciful mark — that’s what we call a made-up term — like a pharmaceutical name such as Humira. Those types of marks are more strongly protected.”
At the end of the day, argues LaVine, your average person is not going to see the 6ABC Hidden Philadelphia coverage and confuse it with some offering from Hidden City Philadelphia, and that is the ultimate test in a federal trademark proceeding.
“If you look at any of the Hidden Philadelphia features on the 6ABC site, you just don’t think that this comes from the same people,” he observes.
To read the article in its entirety, click here.