Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011
More Changes Coming to the USPTO's Online Presence

The USPTO issued a press release on December 7th. Here are the details:

On or about December 16, 2011, the USPTO will introduce a new system, Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR 1.0). TSDR 1.0 will redefine the way Trademark status data and all documents will be displayed to the public. It reengineers the existing functionality that TARR and TDR currently provide and adds new features, providing access to one place for viewing, printing, and downloading snapshots of the data the USPTO stores about a trademark application or registration. New features include: The ability to preview and print the status content being presented.The ability to download a PDF or the original form of the status content (an Extensible Markup Language (XML) file).The ability to view the mark as stored in the USPTO mark image repository, and expand the size thereof through mouse rollover feature.The organization of content into logical s…
Occupy Trademark

The Occupy Wall Street movement has moved into the trademark arena with a number of new trademark application filings.

There are currently two filings for Occupy Wall Street both of which were filed on the same day:

* Occupy Wall Street, which appears to be owned by those directly involved with the movement.
* Occupy Wall Street, which is owned by Fer-Eng Investments, LLC. "Fer-Eng Investments appears to be a shell corporation with the only officer named as “The Ferraro-Eng Family Trust.” The names provided on the address refer to Vincent Ferraro and Wee Nah Eng. Interestingly enough, Ferraro, a Stanford Business School grad, is the former Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing for Hewlett-Packard"

Now, those affiliated with the movement filed as in-use so Fer-Eng's intent-to-use filing will likely not end well.

The two latest to jump into the trademark pool are:

OCCUPY Las Vegas
Occupy Los Angeles

The LA mark filed for "political action committee service…
Update on the Steve Jobs Exhibit at the USPTO

The USPTO exhibit I wrote about last month honoring Steve Jobs' patents & trademarks is up and running. Check out the awesome iPhone models here.

To check out the more unusual Apple trademarks, read this Atlantic article. I don't know...I think the glass retail store is pretty cool.

Are you going to the USPTO exhibit? Do you have a favorite Apple trademark?
Eat More...

Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food chain, has sent a cease and desist to a Vermont-based artist to stop using the phrase "Eat More Kale" with claims that the mark "is likely to cause confusion of the public and dilutes the distinctiveness of Chick-fil-A's [slogan "eat mor chikin"] and diminishes its value." Read the full article here.

Bo Muller-Moore isn't selling food but rather is promoting a food movement, specifically, "eating locally, supporting local farmers, bakers, famers markets, farm stands, CSA's, community gardens and restaurants, sustainable lifestyles, social commentary and community."

This certainly isn't the first time Chick-fil-A has disputed an "eat more" mark; see their opposition history here.

Is this "over-enthusiasm for brand protection" on Chick-fil-A's part? Or is there a legitimate complaint here?
Tootsie vs Footzy: The Famous Trademark Lawsuit

Here's a great example of the "famous trademark" claim: "Tootsie has decided to file suit in federal court against the makers, a company called Rollashoe, for 'infringing on the brand name' Tootsie Roll." Read the full article here.

Last year, the candymaker, Tootsie Roll, filed an opposition at the USPTO against the shoe brand, Footzyrolls, and then upped the ante last week with a lawsuit.

Is Tootsie Roll's claim of dilution and likelihood of confusion hitting the sweet spot? Or is Footzyrolls correct in claiming this lawsuit is "completely frivolous?"
Gobble, Gobble

Since Thanksgiving is upon us here in the US, I got to thinking how I could relate this holiday to trademarks. For most of us, Thanksgiving is a time of the year where we eat a lot of great food and spend time with family. That being said, let's look at some of the trademarks that may be on your table this holiday season:Butterball ®: While this company is best known for their poultry products, they also sell soups, marinades, seasonings, and spices.
Stove Top ®: There were plans for 'dinner meal kits' but that application was abandoned at the applicant's request back in 2000.
Sara Lee ®: At this point in the meal, buying a pie is much easier than making your own.What are your favorite Thanksgiving brands?
Ch-Ch-Changes Coming to the USPTO Filing System

Starting November 19th, the USPTO is instituting several changes to their TEAS or Trademark Electronic Application System. Nothing too major really. Here are some highlights:

1) "Applicants will have the opportunity to list multiple email addresses" -- there can only be one primary email and any others are to be considered "courtesy emails."

2) "Sound/motion/multimedia files (.wav, .wmv, .wma, .mp3, .mpg, or .avi formats, not exceeding 5 MB in size for audio files and 30 MB for video files) may be filed directly as part of the form" -- this is going to apply for new applications only.

3) There will be a new voluntary amendment form available for "dba" applicants to ensure that section is filled out correctly.

4) "Links for Trademark Information Network “how-to” videos incorporated into appropriate sections of the forms (e.g., at applicant section, drawing section, goods/services section)."

The Trademark Situation: Jersey Shore Star Suing A&F

Not too long ago the clothier Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore NOT to wear their clothes. Looks like one of the reality stars has found his fee - $4 million. Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is looking for that dollar amount "in a complaint he's filed...that accuses Abercrombie of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false description."

Is The Situation on the money? Or is A&F in the right?
A Couple of Big Time Trademark Disputes End

First up is the "three-year trademark" fight between Cadbury and Nestlé over the use of the color purple. "A preliminary ruling by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) states that Cadbury can trademark the colour for packaging its chocolate" Read more here.

Next is the battle of the birds. Kellogg had originally asked the Maya Archaeology Initiative to cease using their toucan logo. However, in a turn of events, the owners of Sam the Toucan have decided to "contribut[e] $100,000 to help launch one of the MAI's priority projects to improve the lives of the Maya people in Central America. Kellogg will also be featuring major Mayan accomplishments and a link to MAI's website on Kellogg's Froot Loops cereal boxes next year." Read more here.

Steve Jobs Exhibit at the USPTO

The USPTO has decided to pay tribute to the late Steve Jobs with an exhibit highlighting the Apple innovator's patents and trademarks. Here is part of the press release:

"In tribute to the tremendous influence of Steve Jobs, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will showcase The Patents and Trademarks of Steve Jobs: Art and Technology that Changed the World. The free exhibit will open to the public on November 16 at the USPTO’s campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

“This exhibit commemorates the far-reaching impact of Steve Jobs’ entrepreneurship and innovation on our daily lives,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO David Kappos. “His patents and trademarks provide a striking example of the importance intellectual property plays in the global marketplace.”

Located in the atrium of the Madison Building, the exhibit features more than 300 of the patents that bear the name of the …
University of Missouri Buys Porn Domain Extensions

Nope, our nation's universities are NOT moving into the adult entertainment field. Actually, MU purchased, and to prevent others from using those names in salacious ways.

"Division of Information Technology spokesman Terry Robb said. "People could mistakenly go to, and there you are. It's our trademark name, and a porn site obviously should not use our trademark name for their activities.""

Is this going to start a triple-x trend akin to the heyday of domain name squatting? Or is this an unnecessary worry for trademark owners? Either way, ICM Registry stands to make a whole lot of money.
Urban Outfitters Stops Using the Word 'Navajo'

Last month, the clothing-and-home-decor retail store Urban Outfitters pulled the word 'Navajo' from a new line after criticism from the Navajo Nation as well as numerous bloggers.

However, items that were affiliated with the name are still being sold - everything from underwear to shirts to flasks.

Does the offense stop with the name? Or does it extend into appropriation of Native patterns?
The Art and Science of Brand Names

On October 12th, NPR's Talk of the Nation had John Colapinto on to talk about the "the art and science of creating brand names." It's a fascinating interview - check it out here.