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Showing posts from March, 2008
Viva Las Vegas

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I've got Vegas on the brain as I'll be heading out that way tomorrow. As a result, the blog posts won't be happening again until next week when I come back, hopefully with a little more jingle jangle in my pockets.

So I thought I'd use Las Vegas as an inspiration point to check out some of the more interesting Vegas-tinged trademarks:

Dave's Fabulous Las Vegas Barbecue Sauce. The logo is a take off on the famous Las Vegas sign.

Erotic Suite Palms Las Vegas. The suite features a dancer's pole, a round bed & a $4000 per night cost.

What happens in VEGAS...Ends up on the Internet... is currently being opposed by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority based on their filing of What Happens Here, Stays Here, which is suspended pending the disposition of What Happens in Vegas Does Not Always Stay in Vegas & 2 marks for What Happens Here, Stays Here, which is the LV Convention & Visitors Authority mark.

Looking further into th…
Refusal on Basis of Ornamentation

I've devoted a few posts to the subject of trademarks and clothing lines but it wasn't until I was talking with a client yesterday that I realized I had answered the what but not the why.

I was explaining to the client that submitting a picture of a t-shirt with his clothing line name on the front would not suffice as proof of use for the USPTO. He then asked me why. After getting off the phone, I realized that while I had answered him I hadn't fully addressed it here.

The title of this post is the response you'd likely get from the USPTO if you submit a photo of a t-shirt with your name and/or logo displayed on the front.

What does refusal on basis of ornamentation mean exactly?

"Subject matter that is merely a decorative feature does not identify and distinguish the applicant’s goods and, thus, does not function as a trademark. A decorative feature may include words, designs, slogans or other trade dress. This matter should be refuse…
How Slow Can the PTO Go?

I had intended the post for today to be a follow-up to these 2 posts:

O Romeo, Romeo & When Applications Go Wrong.

To sum up, these posts were about potential problems for the applications of Romeo & for La Bella Bella Maternity. And my intention had been to compare my predictions with how the USPTO interpreted the applications.

However, both of these applications have yet to be assigned to an examining attorney. Romeo filed on January 4th, which means it's been 72 days. La Bella Belly Maternity filed on January 17th, which means it's been 59 days.

Now, it's not news that the USPTO takes awhile to get things moving. But this lag in movement does go to show how vital it is to ensure that the name is legally available prior to filing.

Both of these marks have the potential of being refused for likelihood of confusion. Should that be the case, the USPTO will let the applicant know by way of an Office Action. Now, if either of these marks have to un…
McCain Winning '08 Presidential Trademark Race

The presidential race is heating up and with any flurry of political activity comes an influx of trademarks hoping to capitalize on the nation's interest.

John McCain 2008 - The Exploratory Committee currently has two Federal trademarks, one registered & one pending, for "McCain Space" and "McCain." These applications were filed in January 2007 for, among other things, "promoting the public awareness of a candidate for election." A month later, Senator McCain announced on Late Show with David Letterman that he was seeking the nomination. It appears the trademarks were a harbinger of things to come.

Senator Clinton has been in the news recently about her use of "Solutions for America," which is a trademarked phrase owned by the University of Richmond. According to an article by Scott Jacshik of Inside Higher Ed, the university has "refused to answer any question about why the institutio…
®, Registered vs. TM, Trademark

The TM or SM symbol is to be used for marks that either have a pending trademark applicationclaiming the rights to the mark.

The ® symbol is to be used for marks that have a Federally registered trademark.

Trademarks can be names of products or services, logos, slogans, packaging and even sounds and smells. In essence, a trademark can be almost anything that is used to identify a particular product or service. Registering a trademark grants the owner exclusive rights to the mark within the specified industry. Of course, it's necessary to research the mark comprehensively

Proper Use of the Symbols:

You can freely use the TM or SM symbol while your application is pending OR if you're simply claiming the rights to the name. Sometimes these symbols are governed by local or state laws so it may be best to double check. But more often than not, you're free to use it.

The ® symbol should only be used once you've received your Federal trademark regist…
Trademark vs. Service Mark

Simply put, trademarks are for goods while service marks are for services. When discussing either, it is common to use the term "trademark", even when discussing a service use, because the handling of either is interchangeable by both the USPTO and all 50 Secretary of State Offices.

The USPTO says that a "service mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product. The terms 'trademark' and 'mark' are often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks."

Let's look at each term in more detail


The USPTO's definition: trademark "protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods."

If your name and/or logo appear on the tangible goods that you're selling, you'd be filing for a trademark.For instance, let'…