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Imperial Tobacco Limited v. Phillip Morris
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
899 F.2d 1575 (1990)
Imperial Tobacco Limited (defendant), a UK corporation that sold cigarettes, registered a trademark in the US on July 7, 1981. Imperial Tobacco’s registration was obtained on the basis of Imperial Tobacco’s prior UK registration. Imperial Tobacco had not sold cigarettes under the trademark in the United States for at least two years when Phillip Morris (plaintiff) filed a petition on November 3, 1986 to cancel Imperial Tobacco’s US trademark. Philip Morris petitioned the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office (the US Patent Office) to cancel Imperial Tobacco’s trademark registration on the grounds that Imperial Tobacco’s nonuse of the trademark constituted abandonment of the trademark. Imperial Tobacco submitted evidence that purported to show that it had been trying to operate in the US market during the period of nonuse and had been developing a marketing strategy during that time period. The evidence indicated that much of this marketing strategy was aimed at marketing products other than cigarettes under the trademark. Imperial Tobacco began selling cigarettes under the trademark in 1987, following the Philip Morris petition. The US Patent Office granted Philip Morris’s petition to cancel Imperial Tobacco’s trademark registration. Imperial Tobacco appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Nies, J.)
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