Trademark Decision Gives Sport Marketers Cause for Paws: Wolfskin v. New Millennium

Jeffrey F. Levine

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently ruled on an intellectual property dispute between outdoor apparel company Jack Wolfskin Ausrustung Fur Draussen GmbH & Co. KGAA (Wolfskin), and sportswear company New Millennium Sports, S.L.U. (New Millennium). The case arose after Wolfskin attempted to trademark a non-human paw print design to use on its products. The court’s analysis of the legal effect of modifications to protected trademarks and its discussion concerning the common use of paw prints in trademark designs is particularly useful to sport marketers and those responsible for intellectual property design, development, and protection.