Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Virgin Enterprises Files Trademark Applications Covering "Space Travel Passenger Transportation Services"

Trademark applications covering space travel aren't that common, but they are starting to pop up more and more. For example, last summer I blogged about Paul Allen's Vulcan Space. The most recent applications, however, are from Richard Branson's Virgin Enterprises.

On July 13th, Virgin Enterprises filed two applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the Virgin Orbit logo (one seen below and the other the same thing but against a black background) as a trademark.

The applications cover several goods and services related to space travel, air transport, and satellites, including:
  • Launching of spacecraft, namely satellites and rockets, into orbit for others (Class 39);
  • Space travel passenger transportation services (Class 39);
  • Luggage check in for space travel (Class 39);
  • Commercial space lines, namely, rockets, spacecraft (Class 12);
  • Satellites for scientific purposes to be sent into orbit (Class 9)
  • Satellite transmission of signals (Class 38)
The applications are based on similar trademark applications Virgin Enterprises filed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2017. They appear to be related to Virgin Orbit (obviously), the newest member of the Virgin family.

Interestingly, these are not the first space travel-related trademark applications filed by Virgin Enterprises. Earlier this year, the company filed an application for VIRGIN ORBIT in standard characters covering the same goods and services listed in the logo applications. Additionally, the company has owned a trademark registration for the Virgin Galactic logo seen below, covering "Travel agency services, namely, making reservations and bookings for transportation, space travel agency services; namely, booking of transportation into space" since November 2008.
Virgin filed several other trademark applications for variations of the Virgin Galactic logo back in 2014 and 2015 as well. None of those applications have registered yet, probably because Virgin Galactic does not appear to be using those variations of the logo in commerce and such use is required before the applications can mature into a registration given the intent to use filing basis. See TMEP 902.

According to my very quick search, Virgin and Vulcan appear to be the only companies with active trademark applications or registrations covering the transportation of passengers into space, save for one registration covering a spacecraft logo owned by an Excalibur Almaz Limited corporation on the Isle of Man.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Is RED CUP PONG Merely Descriptive of Beer Pong Tables?

College students might be in the best position to answer this question. On July 10th, a company in Virginia named Blue Ridge Product Solutions, LLC filed applications to register RED CUP PONG (in standard characters), and the stylized logo seen below, with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Both applications cover "Game tables; inflatable mattress swimming floats for recreational use, namely, beer pong floats; games, namely, table top games, equipment sold as a unit for playing drinking games, parlor games, singing games played with cards and game components" in Class 28.
According to the applications and specimens submitted with the same (see above), Blue Ridge Products Solutions, LLC is in the business of selling party games and accessories and has been using the "Red Cup" marks at least as early as December 1, 2010.

But are the marks merely descriptive of the underlying goods? A mark that merely describes the goods in connection with which it is being used cannot be registered on the USPTO's Principal Register without a showing of acquired distinctiveness. TMEP 1209; 15 USC 1052(e)(1). A mark is merely descriptive " if it describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the specified goods or services." TMEP 1209.01(b). However, if a mark is deemed merely descriptive, it can be registered upon proof of "acquired distinctiveness," which means the mark has become distinctive as applied to the applicant's goods in commerce (i.e., consumers associate the mark with the applicant's goods, rather than only as a descriptive term). TMEP 1212; 15 USC 1052(f).

So does RED CUP PONG or RED CUP describe a feature, purpose, or use of drinking games and beer pong floats? Or do the terms "require imagination, thought, or perception to reach a conclusion as to the nature of those goods..." in which case the mark would be suggestive and registerable on the Principal Register without a showing of acquired distinctiveness. TMEP 1209.01(a).

We'll find out what the examining attorney assigned to this application thinks in about three months. The applicant might hope for an examiner without too many "fun" college experiences...

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

JAY Z's Company Files 15 Applications to Register JAYBO as a Trademark

A couple weeks ago it was Beyonce filing applications for the names of her and JAY Z's twins, now it's JAY Z's turn. On July 6th, S. Carter Enterprises, LLC (a company associated with JAY Z) filed fifteen applications to register JAYBO as a federal trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
According to my quick research, Jaybo is an animated character in the music video for "The Story of O.J.," a song released as part of JAY Z's new 4:44 album. The full video is available on YouTube. In the video, JAY Z highlights a long history of racist cartoons from major animation studios, including Disney and Warner Bros.

If these recent trademark applications are any indication, JAY Z has plans to take the JAYBO message even further. S. Carter Enterprises, LLC filed the JAYBO applications in fifteen different classes of goods and services (hence the fifteen applications), resulting in a vast range of goods and services being covered. Some of the goods and services covered by the JAYBO applications include:
Each application was filed on an intent to use basis, suggesting S. Carter Enterprises is not using JAYBO in commerce with these goods and services yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). It also means the company must actually start using JAYBO with the listed goods and services before the applications will mature into trademark registrations. TMEP 902; 15 USC 1051(c)-(d).

If you're a JAY Z fan, keep an eye out for JAYBO merchandise, potentially coming soon.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Quarterly Index (4/1/17 - 6/30/17)

Entertainment Trademark Filings:
Sports Trademark Filings:
Food and Drink Trademark Filings:
Other Unique Filings:

Friday, June 30, 2017

Beyonce Spends $12,000 in Filing Fees on Trademark Applications For What May Be Her Twins' Names

The same company that owns several of Beyonce's federal trademark registrations (like the registration for BEYONCE) just filed more trademarks applications for what may be the names of her twins. The applications, which were filed by BGK Trademark Holdings, LLC on June 26th, are for RUMI CARTER and SIR CARTER. The company filed one application for SIR CARTER and two for RUMI CARTER (although the RUMI CARTER applications appear to be identical).
Mark Image
The goods and services covered by these applications are expansive, spanning 15 classes and totaling over $4,000 in filing fees per application. Some of the goods and services covered include:
  • Fragrances and skin care products (Class 3);
  • Baby teething rings (Class 10);
  • Baby carriages and baby strollers (Class 12);
  • A variety of bags, including tote bags, beach bags, and hand bags (Class 18);
  • Playpens for babies (Class 20);
  • Drinking cups for babies (Class 21);
  • Crib bumpers, fitted crib sheets, crib skirts, and baby blankets (Class 24);
  • Hair accessories (Class 26);
  • Baby rattles and baby swings (Class 28);
  • Online retail store services featuring music (Class 35); and
  • Entertainment services in the nature of live musical performances (Class 41).
The applications, which were signed by Celestine Knowles Carter, were filed on an intent to use basis, suggesting Beyonce is not using these trademarks in commerce yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future (which makes sense considering the twins were only born recently). See TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1052(b)

Are these the names of Beyonce and Jay-Z's twins? You be the judge. But note this same company owns the application for BLUE IVY CARTER covering nearly identical goods and services. That application was published in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Official Gazette in January and is likely to register any day now.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Amazon Files Applications to Register AMAZON SPHERES, and Sphere Design, as Trademarks

A few days after Amazon announced it was acquiring Whole Foods, it filed two federal trademark applications for something completely unrelated - the AMAZON SPHERES.
What are the Amazon Spheres? Apparently they're giant glass spheres the mega-company is building in downtown Seattle that will house waterfalls, rivers, and tropical gardens. The structures won't be finished until early 2018.

On June 21st, however, Amazon Technologies, Inc. filed two federal trademark applications related to the spheres - one for the words AMAZON SPHERES (which I first thought would be another consumer good) and one for the design seen above (which is described in the application as only a "sphere design").

Amazon filed both applications on an intent to use basis, suggesting it is not using the marks in commerce yet but it has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future (which makes sense given the opening date). TMEP 806.01(b); 15 U.S.C. 1051(b). The goods covered by each application are the same and include the following:
  • Paper goods and printed matter (Class 16);
  • Clothing, headgear, footwear (Class 25);
  • Toys and sporting goods (Class 28); and
  • Advertising and business services, retail store and online retail store services (Class 35).
According to my quick search, these two trademark applications bring Amazon's total to 33 applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so far in 2017. These appear to be the first applications related to the "Amazon Sphere," although I suspect there will be more to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

COVFEFE for Beer and 31 Other Applications to Register COVFEFE as a Trademark Filed in Less Than Two Weeks

Back in January it was "Alternative Facts." In June, it's COVFEFE. Since President Trump tweeted the strange word in the early morning hours of May 31st, 32 applications to register the word as a trademark have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The very first application, for #COVFEFE, was filed by an individual in Illinois and covers hats, t-shirts, jackets, and various other apparel items. Some of the other goods and services covered by these COVFEFE applications include:
There are also several applications covering various clothing items in Class 25.

Obviously, multiple applications for the same word covering the same goods and services will cause problems for most of these applicants because the USPTO will not register a mark that is confusingly similar to a mark contained in a previously filed application covering related goods or services. 15 USC 1052(d). Generally, the applicant that files first for particular goods and services is entitled to registration over later-filed applications.

However, that assumes all the other statutory requirements for registration are met. See 15 USC 1052 for common refusals to registration. For example, generally, before a trademark application will mature into a registration, it must be in actual use as a trademark in interstate commerce (meaning the mark identifies the source of the applicant's goods/services and such goods/services are being sold, shipped, or, in the case of services, promoted or rendered across state lines). If an applicant cannot successfully demonstrate it is using COVFEFE as a trademark in commerce, or if there are any other deficiencies with the application (i.e., inadequate description of the goods/services, deficient specimen of use, incorrect classification of goods/services, etc.) the application will be abandoned and the non-refundable filing fees lost.

So, although 32 COVFEFE trademark applications have been filed through June 11th, and many more are likely to come, a very small number of these will actually register. Most will be refused registration due to earlier filed COVFEFE applications covering related goods/services, others will not submit sufficient proof of use, and other applicants will be denied due to various deficiencies in their applications.

In other words, while it's relatively easy to file a federal trademark application, it is only the beginning of a complicated legal process and by no means guarantees an applicant a federal trademark registration.

The trademarks and the application serial numbers filed through June 11th are: