LitigationPatentTrademark

Federal Circuit Says Army’s Broad Approval Discretion in Trademark License Is Not at Odds with Trademark Law

In an appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims (Claims Court), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) last week affirmed a decision granting summary judgment in favor of the U.S. government with respect to a nonexclusive trademark license between the Department of the Army and an apparel company (Authentic Apparel Group, LLC v. United States). In the March 4 opinion, the CAFC agreed with the Claims Court that a license agreement’s provision giving the Army broad approval discretion over Authentic’s requests to use the Army’s trademarks on proposed products or marketing materials was not at odds with the principles of trademark law. The CAFC also held that Authentic did not present any legal or factual reasons to deviate from a plain reading of the license agreement’s exculpatory clauses.

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