Thursday, August 25, 2016

Oakland Raiders File Multiple Trademark Applications for LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Just days before Senator Harry Reid voiced support for a new football stadium that could bring the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas, The Oakland Raiders limited partnership filed three federal trademark applications for LAS VEGAS RAIDERS covering a variety of goods and services. The team filed the applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on August 20th.
Some of the goods and services covered by these applications are:
  • "Education and entertainment services in the nature of professional football games and exhibitions; providing sports and entertainment information via a global computer network or a commercial on-line computer service or by cable, satellite, television and radio; arranging and conducting athletic competitions, namely, professional football games and exhibitions" in Class 041
  • Clothing, footwear, and headwear in Class 025
  • "Downloadable software in the nature of mobile applications for displaying information relating to football exhibitions, football schedules, media guides, and audio and visual recordings relating to football exhibitions; downloadable electronic game software for use on mobile devices, computers, and video game consoles" in Class 009
  • Football helmets in Class 009; and
  • Trading cards in Class 016.
The NFL team filed each application on an intent-to-use basis, signifying the team is not yet using this mark in commerce (obviously), but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.

Does this mean the Oakland Raiders are officially moving to Las Vegas? Not necessarily, but it's a step in that direction. As I've blogged about before, the San Diego Chargers filed federal trademark applications for LA CHARGERS before considering a move to Los Angeles earlier this year.

The August 20th applications are the first trademark applications for LAS VEGAS RAIDERS filed by the Oakland Raiders.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Paul G. Allen's Vulcan Files Six Trademark Applications Related to Space Travel

Here's a goods/services description you don't see on many federal trademark applications - "[t]ransportation of passengers and/or goods by space travel" in Class 039. But on August 19th, Vulcan Aerospace Corporation filed a trademark application for VULCAN SPACE as it relates to those services. It also filed five more applications on the same day for VULCAN SPACE and VULCANSPACE covering various other space travel-related services.
The other services covered by Vulcan's application include:
  • "Business research services in the field of space, space travel and the space industry; Promoting collaboration within the scientific, research and provider communities to achieve advances in the field of space, space travel and the space industry; Promoting public interest and awareness of space travel" in Class 035; and
  • "Development of new technology for others in the field of space travel; Providing an on-line searchable database in the field of space travel for scientific research purposes" in Class 042.
Vulcan filed applications for VULCAN SPACE and VULCANSPACE in each of these three classes (hence six different applications), although that probably was not necessary (the addition of a space between the words probably does not change the commercial impression of the mark). In other words, a registration for VULCAN SPACE would likely prevent another from registering VULCANSPACE for related services because the marks are so similar. See TMEP 1207.01(b)(ii). But if you're a company getting into the private space travel business, I doubt you're worried about a couple hundred extra dollars in trademark filing fees.

According to my quick research, Vulcan, Inc. is a private company in Seattle, Washington focused on "solv[ing] some of the biggest global issues." It was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. Vulcan Aerospace, Inc., first announced in April 2015, appears to be a subsidiary focused on space travel.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's Tip for Saving Your Trademark Filing Fee - Don't File TALKING BOTTLE OPENER for a Talking Bottle Opener

On August 18th, a corporation in California filed a a federal trademark application for TALKING BOTTLE OPENER in Class 021 for "[b]ottle openers." The problem? The mark is merely descriptive of the underlying goods.

Section 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act prohibits the registration of a merely descriptive term on the Principal Register until it can be shown the term has acquired distinctiveness in the marketplace. A mark is considered merely descriptive if it describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the specified goods or services. TMEP 1209.01(b). I've blogged about merely descriptive marks many times in the past (like here, here, and here).

The reasoning behind the 2(e)(1) prohibition is fairly simple - if one obtains the exclusive right to use a descriptive term, others will lose the ability to use that descriptive term to describe their goods or services. For example, how would an operator of a car wash describe his or her service if another business owned a trademark registration for the phrase "car wash?" 

Merely descriptive terms are not absolutely barred from registration, however. If a mark acquires distinctiveness, it can be registered on the Principal Register. In general, this means the mark "through usage by one producer with reference to his product, acquire[s] a special significance so that to the consuming public the word has come to mean that the product is produced by that particular manufacturer." TMEP 1212. The burden is on the applicant to claim acquired distinctiveness and submit the corresponding evidence therewith. TMEP 1212.01. The applicant for this mark has not done either.

So is the phrase TALKING BOTTLE OPENER descriptive of a characteristic, function, or feature of a bottle opener that talks when you use it (in this case, sings the USC fight song)? I think so. And when this application is assigned to an Examining Attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in approximately three months, I think they will agree and issue an Office Action refusing to register this mark under 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act. Unfortunately for the applicant, this means its $225 nonrefundable filing fee is all but lost.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Linkedin Files Trademark Applications for LINKEDIN INFLUENCER

Most people who regularly use the professional social networking service LinkedIn have seen a LinkedIn Influencer. It's an invitation only program that recognizes what LinkedIn considers the world's "foremost thinkers, leaders, and innovators." The company is now seeking to protect the term with a federal trademark registration.

On August 17th, the LinkedIn Corporation filed three federal trademark applications for LINKEDIN INFLUENCER. The company filed the applications in three different classes:
  • Class 045 for "[o]nline social networking services, allowing registered users to share information, photos, audio and video content and engage in communication and collaboration between and among themselves, to form groups and to engage in social networking;"
  • Class 041 for "[e]ducation and entertainment services, namely providing online journals and blogs and non-downloadable publications featuring text, graphics, audio and video clips featuring news, information, and commentary on technology, business, education, economics, global issues, environment, self-improvement, entertainment, politics, the humanities, leadership, public policy, philanthropy, and social and cultural issues; electronic publishing services for others; publishing services for others; electronic and online publishing services;" and
  • Class 035 for "[o]nline business networking services; advertising, marketing and promotion services for businesses; promoting the goods and services of others via computer and communication networks; organizing, maintaining and promoting a forum for the exchange of information among businesses, governments, educational institutions and communities through the use of a global computer network; providing business and networking information in the field of personal development, namely self-improvement, self-fulfillment, charitable, philanthropic, volunteer, public and community services, and humanitarian activities[.]"
Despite already using the term on its website, LinkedIn filed these applications on an intent-to-use basis (which typically means an applicant is not yet using the mark in commerce). However, this might be because the company does not have a good specimen showing use of the mark as a trademark in commerce or because it is not yet using the mark in conjunction with some or all of the services listed in the applications.

Specimens are more than a picture or screenshot of the mark. They must show the mark actually functioning as a trademark, which means it is serving as a source indicator for the identified services. TMEP 1301.04(d). For servicemarks (such as LINKEDIN INFLUENCER), an acceptable specimen will actually show the mark and associate it with the services identified in the application. TMEP 1301.04(f). It's also helpful if the mark is shown with the  symbol.

With these recent filings, you may seen updated LinkedIn Influencer content on the website describing the program in more detail (like this) and/or the addition of the ™ symbol whenever the term is used. LinkedIn will need to submit an acceptable specimen for each application before they will fully register. 15 U.S.C. 1051(b) - (c).

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lionsgate Files 14 Trademark Applications for LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD

Is Lions Gate Entertainment, Inc. joining Disney and Universal in the amusement park business? Recent trademark applications filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggest it might be. On August 12th, the entertainment company filed 14 trademark applications for LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD in standard characters and the design seen below.

Half the trademark applications are for the logo while the other half are for LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD in standard text. Filing an application for the standard character text allows Lionsgate to enjoy protection in the phrase regardless of how it is displayed (i.e. the shape, size, font, or color). Thus, if the logo above ever changes, Lionsgate will still own registrations for the LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD phrase (but it would be smart to file additional applications for the new logo). Additionally, a registration for the logo above provides Lionsgate protection against designs that look similar and are used with related goods/services, even if the other design does not necessarily contain the words LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD.

The goods and services covered by these applications are identical for both the logo applications and standard character mark applications and fall into 7 different classes (hence the 14 applications - Lionsgate filed each application in one class).

Being in 7 different classes, the goods and services covered by these applications are rather broad. The most interesting is a filing in Class 041 for "[a]musement park and theme park services; amusement park services; entertainment in the nature of an amusement park rides...entertainment services in the nature of an amusement park attraction, namely, a themed area..."

Other goods and services covered by these applications include amusement park rides (Class 028), various items of clothing (Class 025), various beverageware (Class 021), luggage and backpacks (Class 018), postcards and posters (Class 016), and computer games and audio/visual recordings of motion pictures and TV shows (Class 009). Taken as a whole, these applications seem to cover amusement park services and a variety of merchandise sold within such parks.

Every application was filed on an intent-to-use basis, meaning Lionsgate is [probably] not using these trademarks yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.

Will this theme park be in China? The applications indicate that the characters contained in the logo are Chinese. Additionally, two years ago Lionsgate and the Chinese Alibaba Group formed a strategic alliance to launch a "Lionsgate Entertainment World" subscription streaming service in the country. Is this theme park the next step in that alliance?

Monday, August 15, 2016

Evan McMullin Files Trademark Application for Presidential Campaign Logo

Just two days after announcing his independent bid for the White House, Evan McMullin's attorneys filed a federal trademark application for his campaign's logo (see below).
The campaign filed the application in Class 035 for "[p]olitical campaign services, namely, promoting public awareness of Evan McMullin as a candidate for public office; providing online information regarding political issues and the 2016 presidential election." The first use date for the mark is August 8, 2016 (the day Mr. McMullin announced his bid).

According to reports, Evan McMullin is a former CIA agent who thinks Donald Trump is going to lose the election. He is running as an independent candidate.

Given that most trademark applications take about 3 months before they are assigned to an examining attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and that it takes approximately 9-12 months for a trademark to register if all goes well, I doubt this mark will ever make it to registration (and will likely be abandoned by the campaign on a later date).

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Quarterly Index (5/11/2016 - 8/10/2016)

How to Lose Your Trademark Filing Fees:
Entertainment Trademark Filings:
Sports Trademark Filings:
Other Unique Filings: