One issue that has generated much commentary and controversy in the trademark litigation field is whether decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) can/should be given issue preclusion (collateral estoppel to us old timers). This morning, the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc., where the Supreme Court found that TTAB decisions can be the basis for issue preclusion so long as the requirements for issue preclusion are met.
This is a significant decision with substantial implications not only for future trademark litigation matters where there has been prior TTAB litigation but also for decisions whether to seek registration for a particular trademark. Most significantly (as was the situation in the B&B Hardware case), a party who is denied trademark registration because of the likelihood of confusion with another mark may be precluded from challenging the likelihood of confusion finding in subsequent trademark infringement litigation.
A copy of the B&B Hardware decision can be found here: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-352_c0n2.pdf