Tag Archives: USPTO

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Gene Simmons Claims Exclusive Right In Hand Gesture

Earlier this month, KISS guitarist Gene Simmons filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to register the “devil’s horns” hand gesture, which he routinely flashes at rock shows, as a trademark for “entertainment, namely, live performances by a musical artist; personal appearances by a musical artist.”  This bold move brings up a number of interesting questions, ranging from “Does the gesture really function as an indicator of source that points to Simmons?” to “How will he ever enforce it?” to “Can you really claim trademark rights in a hand gesture?”  For a number of reasons,… More

10 Trademark Cases About Yo Mama

Anna Jarvis led the efforts to establish the first official celebration of Mother’s Day in 1908, during which she honored her own mother, Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, a Civil War-era social activist. But about a dozen years after that first celebration, Anna Jarvis had become the holiday’s most vocal opponent. Why? Commercialization. The floral and greeting card industries had already taken over her idea,… More

Marijuanaville v. Margaritaville: Registering Trademarks For Chemically Induced Mental Paradises

Although marijuana is becoming legal to varying degrees in an increasing number of states, your chances of getting a marijuana trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) are still grim. In order to register a trademark with the PTO, the applicant has to show that the goods or services with which the mark will be used are permitted under federal law. Therefore, until marijuana gets reclassified by or removed from the federal Controlled Substances Act,… More

The Federal Trademark Statute Assumes Hillary Can’t Win

HiliaryToday’s example of unintentional sexism comes to us from Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act.  On its face, the language of the statute assumes that someone other than Hillary will win the 2016 presidential election – and it won’t be Jill Stein.  It could be Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson, or your dad, but it’ll be someone male.

Section 2 of the Lanham Act,… More

Trademark Red Tape: Incoming Fee Increases And Sweeping TTAB Rule Changes

ASDJune 2016

Welcome to Trademark Red Tape, our periodic round-up of trademark news and happenings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office.  Here are the highlights:

Trademark Red Tape: Disparaging Marks And TTAB Tidbits

ASDMarch 2016

Welcome to Trademark Red Tape, our periodic round-up of trademark news and happenings at the United States Patent & Trademark Office. Here are the highlights:

USPTO Pilot Program Offers Relief to Proprietors of “Evolving” Goods and Services

Imagine, for a moment, a successful software company, Agave, that owns the trademark PHOTOCHOPS for a popular image-editing program.  Being a diligent trademark owner, Agave registered the trademark PHOTOCHOPS in 2005, right when the original PHOTOCHOPS launched, in connection with “downloadable computer programs for creating and manipulating graphic images on a computer” in International Class 9.  Over the years, the PHOTOCHOPS platform slowly shifts from downloadable software to a pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform,… More

Top Eight Things You Should Know About the Hague System For International Registration of Designs

CaptureU.S. applicants will soon be able to use a streamlined international filing procedure for design patents similar to the Madrid Protocol for trademark registrations.  Currently, U.S. applicants seeking to protect designs in multiple countries must file separate applications for each of the countries through their national or regional patent offices.  Starting May 13, 2015, when the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs goes into effect in the U.S.,… More

Supreme Court’s B&B Hardware ruling creates the potential for court deference to the TTAB — but will it happen?

sdf

Did  TTAB proceedings — until now considered a relatively obscure branch of IP litigation, conducted before an administrative body of which most attorneys are blissfully unaware — just assume greater importance?  That seems to be the general reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in B&B Hardware v. Hargis Industries last month.

B&B Hardware took an unusually aggressive approach to its trademark dispute with Hargis,… More

The PTO vs. The Phantom Marks: A Ghost Story

RRRRDon’t read this one before bed.

As autumn sets in and Halloween approaches, my mind turns to jack-o-lanterns, skeletons, and phantoms. Phantom marks, that is. Equally incorporeal though perhaps somewhat less frightening than their ghostly namesakes, phantom marks are registered trademarks that contain a “phantom,” or changeable, element.  A well-known phantom registration was _ _ _ _ _ _ FOR DUMMIES for various self-help books,… More

The Trademark “Chaff” Quandary: PTO Report On Post-Registration Proof of Use

Mag GlassAs any IP lawyer will readily admit, trademark practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) comes with its fair share of annoyances: inconsistent treatment of similar applications, unreasonably stringent identification requirements, and so forth. Another difficulty lies in what appears to be a large number of registrations subsisting on the federal register, past their initial maintenance filings, despite a high likelihood that such marks are no longer used,… More

Trademark Offices Warn Applicants of Solicitations by Unscrupulous Companies: How Can a Trademark Owner Protect Itself?

It seems that a trademark owner cannot file a trademark application without subjecting itself to a frenzied barrage of unwanted solicitations by companies seeking the payment of fees in exchange for various trademark-related services, such as publication in the company’s private database or registry, trademark monitoring services, or recordation of the trademark with customs authorities. In some cases, the solicitations resemble invoices and appear to be issued by a government entity.… More

Harry Potter and the [Allegedly] Purloined Font

Just in time for the release of the final installment in the Harry Potter film franchise, a related branch of the Harry Potter empire finds itself involved in a curious copyright dispute. This is not another case of an obscure author claiming that J.K. Rowling stole her billion-dollar story from an earlier work. Instead, an independent font company has asserted, in a lawsuit filed on July 5 in the Eastern District of New York, that merchandise sold at Universal Studios’ “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme park in Orlando makes unauthorized use of one of its typefaces.