Friday, January 19, 2018

Minnesota Vikings File Trademark Applications for MINNESOTA MIRACLE, MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE Day After Divisional Playoff Win

The Minnesota Vikings are wasting no time in taking steps to protect the terms coined for their crazy walk-off win in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs last Sunday.

On January 15th, the day after the miraculous win, Minnesota Vikings Football, LLC filed four federal trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - one for MINNESOTA MIRACLE and three for MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE. The applications cover a variety of goods and services.
The application for MINNESOTA MIRACLE covers a broad range of goods and services spanning across ten different classes, including football helmets, jewelry, cups/mugs, toys and sporting goods, television broadcasting services, education and entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions, arena services, and more. One of the MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE covers identical goods and services. The Vikings filed both these applications on an intent to use basis, suggesting they are not currently using the mark in conjunction with all these goods and services but have a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. 15 USC 1051(b); TMEP 806.01(b).
Interestingly, despite filing these applications within a day of the Vikings' win, the Vikings filed the other two MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE applications on a 1(a) basis, indicating they were already selling/transporting the listed goods and advertising and rendering the listed services in interstate commerce before filing the applications. One of those applications covers t-shirts and various entertainment services related to professional football games while the other covers various broadcasting services.

In any event, the Vikings didn't waste any time in seeking to enhance their legal rights related to these terms. According to the electronic time stamps, these four applications were filed between 3pm and 11:30pm on January 15th. The team must have gotten on the phone with their legal counsel pretty quickly after the win to get these filed.

According to my quick search, these are the first trademark applications for MINNESOTA MIRACLE or MINNEAPOLIS MIRACLE filed by the Vikings, although the team is currently listed as the owner of 118 other filings with the USPTO (the vast majority of which are pending applications that have not registered yet).

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Anheuser-Busch Files Trademark Applications for Multiple Variations of DRINKWEISER

A public awareness campaign related to the responsible consumption of alcohol is in the works over at Anhesuer-Busch, and the name of the campaign will be DRINKWEISER (or some variation), if recent trademark applications are any indication.
On January 5th, Anheuser-Busch, LLC filed applications to register DRINKWEISER, DRINKWISER, DRINK WEISER, and DRINK WISER as trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Each application covers the same services in Class 35 - "Promoting public awareness of the responsible consumption of alcohol."

Anheuser-Busch filed each of these applications on an intent to use basis, suggesting it is not currently using DRINKWEISER or any of the variations in commerce in conjunction with the listed services yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. 15 USC 1051(b); TMEP 806.01(b). Before these applications can mature into registrations, Anheuser-Busch must start using the mark with the listed services and submit sufficient proof of same to the USPTO. TMEP 1103. My guess is that only one of these applications, if any, actually registers. The fact that Anheuser-Busch filed four applications for variations of the same mark suggests they have not decided which version they plan on using.

In any event, it looks like Anheuser-Busch is planning a public awareness campaign related to the responsible consumption of alcohol and DRINKWEISER (or some variation) will be the tagline. By the way, for those fans of the DILLY DILLY phase, Anheuser-Busch owns two pending federal trademark applications for it, one covering beer and the other covering headwear and shirts. The application covering beer is in the final stage of the registration process.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Texas Lawyer Files Application to Register THE DOPEST LAWYER IN TOWN as a Trademark

The Dopest Lawyer is based in San Marcos, Texas, at least according to a recent trademark application.

On January 4th, a lawyer named Daniel Mehler filed an application to register THE DOPEST LAWYER IN TOWN as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application covers "legal services; legal consultation services" in Class 45.
According to the application, Daniel has been using this designation as a trademark in interstate commerce at least as early as January 1, 2014. His firm's website indicates his firm is "dedicated to all things cannabis." The Dopest Lawyer...get it?

While applicants selling marijuana, marijuana extracts, and THC-infused substances are routinely denied federal trademark registrations (regardless of the state in which such applicants are located), this application is only for legal services, which aren't, obviously, illegal.

To qualify for a federal trademark registration, the use of the mark in commerce must be lawful. See TMEP 907. Because marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801-971), goods or services related to the sale or transportation of marijuana violate federal law. Therefore, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will refuse to register marks covering those goods and services (like this application covering "desserts infused with cannabis"). Goods or services that don't involve the sale or transportation of marijuana, but are nonetheless related to marijuana, can still be registered (like this registration covering a creative agency that serves the cannabis business marketplace).

Will The Dopest Lawyer in Town receive a federal trademark registration for his tagline? Pay attention to this application to find out. To all the other lawyers out there - unfortunately it looks like you might have missed the opportunity to coin this term for yourself.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Quarterly Index (10/1/17 - 12/31/17)

Entertainment Trademark Filings:
Sports Trademark Filings:
Other Unique Filings:

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Vince McMahon's Alpha Entertainment, LLC Files Five New Trademark Applications for XFL

A couple days ago, David Bixenspan of Deadspin reported on rumors surrounding Vince McMahon's vision to bring back the XFL, a football league that operated as a joint venture with the WWE and NBC that that played one season in 2001. In that article, Mr. Bixenspan reported that the WWE confirmed Vince McMahon formed an entity called Alpha Entertainment "to explore investment opportunities across the sports and entertainment landscapes, including professional football." On December 16th, it appears Alpha Entertainment, LLC took additional steps in that direction.
On that date, Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed five trademark applications for XFL with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. And yes, they are related to professional football.

The core application for XFL covers "Entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions" and "arranging and conducting athletic competitions, namely, professional football games and exhibitions," among other services in Class 41.

The other four applications cover a variety of ancillary goods/services, such as merchandise, including:
Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed each application on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting it is not using XFL in conjunction with the listed goods and services yet (which makes sense considering the league isn't active) but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). Before the USPTO will register these XFL marks, Alpha Entertainment will need to start using the marks in conjunction with the listed goods and services and submit sufficient proof of same to the USPTO. See TMEP 1103.

Back in September, Alpha Entertainment, LLC filed two identical applications (not sure why) for URFL covering goods similar to those listed in XFL application filed in Class 9. According to my quick search, those two URFL applications, and the five XFL applications described above, are the only federal trademark applications that have been filed by Alpha Entertainment, LLC.

Interestingly, World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. also owns three pending trademark applications for XFL (none of those have yet registered, however). The WWE's applications also cover entertainment services (albeit primarily related to wrestling) as well as a variety of clothing items. Because those XFL applications are owned by a separate entity, the USPTO may refuse to register Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL applications under Section 2(d) of the Trademark Act if the USPTO deems the underlying goods and services to be related. See TMEP 1207 et seq. In other words, the USPTO doesn't register marks that are confusingly similar to previously filed marks, so the WWE's XFL applications might prevent the registration of Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL marks.

We'll find out in approximately three months whether the WWE's pending XFL applications block Alpha Entertainment, LLC's XFL applications. If so (and maybe even regardless), Alpha Entertainment and the WWE will need to determine who owns the XFL mark. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Is Reading Rainbow Coming Back as Reading Rainbow 2.0? WNED Files Trademark Applications for READING RAINBOW 2.0, 7 Other Reading Rainbow-Related Marks

Reading Rainbow, the classic children's television that aired for twenty years through the 1980's, 90's and early 00's, may be making a comeback as Reading Rainbow 2.0, if recent trademark applications are any indication.

On December 8th, the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association (WNED) filed federal trademark applications for READING RAINBOW 2.0 and seven other Reading Rainbow-related trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The applications filed by WNED last Friday are for:
In addition to the standard character mark applications above (meaning those applications cover only the words, not a particular design), WNED filed two more applications, one for each design seen below:
Mark ImageMark Image
The goods and services covered by these applications vary slightly, but all appear to be related to the television show. For example, most of the applications cover "Audio materials in the fields of education and teaching" in Class 9. The READING RAINBOW 2.0 application covers "Entertainment services, namely, creation and distribution of a TV series" (Class 41) and "Providing a website featuring streaming of audio and video material on the Internet" (Class 38).

WNED filed all of these applications on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting (but not necessarily meaning) it is not yet using these marks in commerce in conjunction with the goods and services but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b).

WNED owns several other registrations for READING RAINBOW, including registrations covering the distribution of a TV series and related merchandise. According to the Reading Rainbow website (operated by WNED), WNED recently resolved legal disputes with the previous host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow (LeVar Burton) and is "currently working on the next chapter of Reading Rainbow and will continue its mission of fostering education for a new generation." 

Is the next chapter Reading Rainbow 2.0? Pay attention to these trademark applications to find out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Law Firm Files Applications to Register #METOO and #METOO CLAIMS as Trademarks for Legal Services

As I've blogged about before, it is not uncommon to see a rush of trademark applications for various words or phrases circulating in the media. For example, back in June I blogged about a swarm of trademark applications for COVFEFE.

Most recently, it seems a law firm is seeking to capitalize on the #METOO social media campaign highlighting those who have come forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault. The #METOO campaign is associated with "The Silence Breakers," who Time Magazine just recognized as the 2017 Person of the Year.
On December 1st, the Virginia law firm filed two federal trademark applications - one for #METOO and the other for #METOO CLAIMS, both in Class 45 for "legal consultation services." The firm filed the applications on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting it is not currently using these phrases as trademarks in conjunction with the listed services yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future, so not much else can be gleaned from the applications. However, before these marks can register, the law firm must start using them as trademarks and submit sufficient proof of the same to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. TMEP 902.

According to my quick search, two other trademark applications for #METOO have been filed since late October - one covering fragrances and cosmetics and the other covering rubber or silicone wristbands. I would not be surprised to see more filed in the future.