Supreme Court rules tacking together of trademarks an issue for jury
Supreme Court rules tacking together of trademarks an issue for jury

[JURIST] The Supreme Court ruled [opinion, PDF] unanimously Wednesday in Hana Financial, Inc. v. Hana Bank et. al. [SCOTUSblog materials] that whether two trademarks may be tacked together for purposes of determining priority is a question for the jury, not the court. The court stated that arguments made by petitioner in support of the view that tacking was a question of law meant to be decided by the court were unpersuasive. The court responded to the arguments by pointing out that any concern that a jury may improperly apply a relevant legal standard could be cured by a jury instruction and that petitioner failed to support how tacking determinations would create new law and require the decision of a judge or why trademark tacking was different enough from other types of law so as to necessitate taking decision making power away from the jury.

This case was one of three that the Supreme Court decided on on Wednesday. In Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], the court found that the disclosure of sensitive security information in this case an air marshal was not prohibited by law. The issue in question occurred when a former federal air marshal revealed TSA plans to the media in an effort to create a controversy that would change the agency’s practices. The air marshal argued that his subsequent removal was in violation of Prohibited Personnel Practices. Oral arguments were heard for this case in November. In Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp. [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], the court found that the dismissal of an action in multidistict litigation triggers the right to appeal. Oral arguments were heard for this case in December after the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined sua sponte that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeals because a final order had not been issued.