Trademarkology: The Law of the Brand

Trademarkology: The Law of the Brand

Tag Archives: USPTO

Registration of State Names as Trademarks

Posted in Brands, Copyright, Infringement, Patents, Registrations, Trademarks
Collegiate licensing is a big deal these days. Lots of alumni and fans of college teams want to wear clothing bearing the marks of their alma mater or their favorite team. Colleges commonly register their critical trademarks and license others to produce goods bearing their marks. Sometimes they have to pursue infringers who sell those… Continue Reading

March! What a month! (Part 1)

Posted in Brands, Copyright, Registrations, Trademarks
No, I’m not going to write about MARCH MADNESS® – that annual ritual of college basketball and the NCAA® basketball tournament. Rather, I’m writing about the crazy winter weather which battered the East Coast with four Nor’Easter storms dumping record snowfall this March. After last week’s Storm Skylar and this week’s Storm Toby, some parts… Continue Reading

Specimen Pilot Program

Posted in Brands, Copyright, Trademarks
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) has launched a new pilot program designed to ensure that specimens of use submitted to the PTO reflect actual use of the mark in commerce. A mark is “used in commerce” within the meaning of the federal trademark statute (the Lanham Act) when the mark is… Continue Reading

Good Intentions

Posted in Brands, Trademarks
We are two weeks into 2018. Have you kept your new year’s resolutions so far? If you are like me, you have good intentions, but that may be all you have. If one of your intentions this year is to use a new mark with a good or service (or to begin using an existing… Continue Reading

Genericide of the Fidget Spinner

Posted in Trademark Basics, Trademarks
It seems everywhere I look, I see stores, gas stations, mall kiosks and even boutiques in Gatlinburg selling Fidget Spinners.  Every kid I know has one (or probably more than one).  So is FIDGET SPINNER a type of toy or a brand? If you are not yet familiar with Fidget Spinners, then you must live… Continue Reading

Cheaper, Faster, … Better?

Posted in Trademarks
In its quest to improve the accuracy of the trademark register, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) has proposed a streamlined cancellation process for review and comment by August 14, 2017. The proposal would modify existing regulations to make the streamlined process an option available to petitioners seeking to cancel a federal trademark… Continue Reading


Posted in Trade Dress, Trademarks
Most of our posts have focused on the trademark rights associated with particular words, but don’t forget to consider what your product looks like and how they are presented to customers.  You can develop separate rights in the look of your product.  Both the shape of a product and a product’s packaging can be protected… Continue Reading

Arguing Before The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

Posted in Patents, Trademarks
Today I argued before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”). The TTAB is comprised of twenty-three administrative judges who settle disputes regarding trademark registration.  The disputes can be between two parties who have a conflict regarding rights to register a mark under U.S. trademark laws, or… Continue Reading

Let the Record Show…

Posted in Trademarks
If the U.S  Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) refuses registration of your mark, you may appeal to the Federal Circuit for review or begin a proceeding in district court. One of these routes is likely to be more expensive than the other. The recent case of Shammas v Focarino, Case No. 14-1191, decided by… Continue Reading

Red Bull’s Opposition Might Not Have Wings

Posted in Trademarks
It looks like Red Bull GmbH, the maker of the Red Bull energy drink, may have decided to throw its hat into the (bull) ring as a trademark bully. You are likely aware of Red Bull’s main product: an “energy drink” sold in little blue-and-silver cans, whose advertisements claim that it will give you wings. … Continue Reading

Is Taylor Swift Trying to Use Trademark Protection to Monopolize Common Phrases?

Posted in Trademarks
You may have heard already that Mistress of All She Surveys Taylor Swift has filed several applications to register trademarks drawn from lyrics to songs in her boffo album 1989.  Among the marks are “This Sick Beat,” “Nice to Meet You. Where You Been?,” “Could Show You Incredible Things,” and “Party Like It’s 1989.”  By… Continue Reading


Posted in Trademarks
While the sports analysts can’t stop speculating over who will be in the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, the BCS is squaring off against the UPSTO over registration of “COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF”. Since March of 2013, BCS Properties, LLC, has filed six trademark applications for “COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF” and variants thereof, for use in… Continue Reading

What The USPTO Wants You To Know About 2014

Posted in Trademarks
Here at the Trademarkology blog, we tend to focus on the lighter side of trademark law. We leave the boring stuff to the other trademark blogs (just kidding … sort of). Since we’re in the trademark biz, however, we do pay attention when our supreme overlords at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issue reports.… Continue Reading

Trademark Searching Like A Rock Star

Posted in Trademark Basics, Trademarks
Regular readers of the blog will know that I’m currently watching a lot of Music Choice on cable TV due to its magical ability to soothe my 2-month old daughter. In the process, I’m stumbling across random bits of trademark news. A couple weeks ago, the Music Choice “Did You Know” trivia referenced Prince’s decision… Continue Reading

USPTO Holds Veto Power Over President Obama Trademark Applications

Posted in Trademarks
At the annual White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday, President Obama started his remarks by acknowledging that the rollout of could have gone better. The president joked that “in 2008, my slogan was ‘Yes, we can!’ In 2013, my slogan was “Control-Alt-Delete.'” is a key piece of the president’s health care plan, commonly… Continue Reading