A recent California case, Macy’s v. Strategic Marks, LLC, N.D.Cal. Dkt. No. 3:11-cv-06198-SC, highlights a number of important issues relating to the doctrine of abandonment – the process by which a trademark owner loses rights in its mark through non-use. For most people, the case evokes nostalgia about famous store names now long gone (A&S, Filene’s, Marshall Fields, Stern’s).
For lawyers, however, the case highlights the unique nature of trademarks as a property right and how both acquiring and losing such rights are different than other IP rights.