January 21, 2015
Today, in a unanimous opinion authored by Justice Sotomayor, the U.S. Supreme Court in Hana Financial., Inc. v. Hana Bank et al. decided that trademark tacking is a question of fact to be decided by juries, and that the technical legal criteria for deciding whether a new mark could be “tacked” onto a prior mark is whether the two “tacked” marks are so similar that consumers “consider both as the same mark.” The Justices reasoned that this standard “relies upon an ordinary consumer’s understanding of the impression of the mark,” and should therefore be decided by a jury of ordinary consumers. Today’s decision could greatly affect the predictability of the outcome of trademark infringement cases.

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