Tag Archives: USPTO

How to Protect Your Trademarks When You Can’t Protect Your Trademarks

This article was published first in Cannabis Industry Journal

While the USPTO might not register your trademark, there are still some tools available to protect your intellectual property.

Federal trademark registrations are invaluable tools for emerging businesses. They put the world on notice of a company’s name; they can secure nationwide priority over others using similar names; they distinguish a product in the marketplace;… More

Flags as Trademarks: What are the Rules of the Road?

I never paid a lot of attention to Flag Day, until the year that my daughter was born on June 14.  Now Flag Day is a special day for our family, and of course there is a lot of flag waving on Independence Day which comes hot on its heels.  So this seems like a good time to review the rules on when you can register and use images of flags as trademarks.… More

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?

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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