Written by: Kevin J. Walsh and Eric R. Blythe

The Bankruptcy Code generally permits intellectual property licensees to continue using licensed property despite a licensor’s bankruptcy filing. However, because the “intellectual property” definition in the Bankruptcy Code does not include “trademarks,” courts have varied on whether trademark licensees receive similar protection. A New Jersey bankruptcy court recently grappled with this issue, concluding that trademark licensees may retain their trademark rights. The court further concluded that such protections remain intact despite a section 363 “free and clear” sale to a third-party.  To read more about this case,  please access the full version of this Bankruptcy Advisory prepared by the Mintz Levin Bankruptcy Practice.


Written by Geri Haight

Our colleagues in the Bankruptcy Section published a client advisory on a recent decision that has important implications for the bankruptcy rights of trademark licensees (and licensees of other forms of intellectual property).  In Sunbeam Products, Inc. v. Chicago American Mfg., LLC, the Seventh Circuit examined whether the rights of a trademark licensee whose licensor rejected the license agreement in bankruptcy could continue to use the licensed trademark.  In its decision, the Seventh Circuit determined that a trademark licensee has comparable protections afforded to licensees of other forms of intellectual property under Section 365(n) of the Bankruptcy Code.   

For our prior musings on trademarks and bankruptcy, please click here and here.    


Written by Geri Haight and Susan Weller

With the announcement today that the Swedish automaker Saab has filed for bankruptcy, we thought it timely to take a look at what happens to trademarks in the context of a bankruptcy proceeding.  SAAB is the owner of nearly 100 U.S. trademark registrations (for SAAB, ECOPOWER, BIOHYBRID, 9-3, among others). Since trademarks are often one of the most valuable assets a company may own, their disposition in a bankruptcy proceeding is of paramount importance.  So, what is to become of the SAAB trademarks?

The Lanham Act does not discuss the issue of bankruptcy. Trademarks are also excluded from specific mention in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. But there is no question that trademarks, and trademark licenses and related agreements, are considered property of a bankrupt estate subject to the control and jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court. Continue Reading The Future of the SAAB Trademarks: Trademarks in Bankruptcy