Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fox Files BOB'S BURGER'S Trademark For Line of Retail Products

Fans of Fox's show Bob's Burgers are in for some goods news. On September 25th, just days before the Season 6 premiere of the show, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation filed a federal trademark application for BOB'S BURGERS related to a broad line of retail products.
The goods listed in the application are all in Class 28. This class includes games, play things, some sporting items, and Christmas decorations. Some of the specific items listed on this trademark application are: Christmas tree ornaments, board games, plush toys, toy jewelry, skateboards, balloons, costume masks, and playing cards.

This trademark application is an intent-to-use application, indicating that Fox is planning to develop some sort of Bob's Burgers retail line of products (or license the rights to do so). Fans can rejoice in knowing that the show, which is now in its sixth season, will probably be sticking around for a while.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BUD LIGHT APPLE Coming to the U.S.?

On September 23rd, Anheuser-Busch, LLC filed a federal trademark application for BUD LIGHT APPLE as it relates to "[f]lavored beers." Sound delicious?
Apparently (and according to the Internet), Bud Light Apple is currently available outside of the United States and can be found in Canada. This is consistent with Anheuser-Busch's filing basis for this U.S. application. Anheuser-Busch filed this as a intent-to-use application, meaning it is not using this trademark in the United States yet, but alleged priority in this name based on a foreign use of the mark under 44(d) of the Trademark Act.

Given this recent trademark filing, it appears this flavored beer will be making its way into the United States within the next year or so. More information on this strange concoction can be found here and here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

TAILDATING - The Next Trend in Dating Services?

On September 23rd, a company in Pennsylvania called TailDating, LLC filed a federal trademark application for TAILDATING as it relates to "[s]pecial event planning for social entertainment purposes[;] [i]nternet based social networking, introduction, and dating services." The application indicates this trademark has been around since late July 2015.
According to the company's specimen, which shows the trademark being used in commerce, the service appears to combine tailgating and dating. For a flat rate, taildaters can access the TailDating area, enjoy a tailgate buffet, and an open bar while supplies last. Not a bad idea.

From the company's website, it looks like this service is currently only available in Pennsylvania for Philadelphia fans. If the company secures this federal trademark registration, however, it will give them the exclusive, nationwide right to use TAILDATING in conjunction with these services and thus could pave the way for expansion into new cities.

With the popularity of the NFL and the popularity of dating apps, I could see this catching on. Smart move by TailDating, LLC to file this trademark quickly.

Friday, September 25, 2015

MANHATTAN TAP WATER Merely Descriptive? Not So Fast...

As most attorneys [should] know, trademarks that merely describe the goods or services on or in connection with which the trademark is used are not registerable with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (with a few exceptions). See TMEP 1209.

On September 20th, the Manhattan Distilling Company, Inc. filed a federal trademark application for MANHATTAN TAP WATER. Does this trademark merely describe the goods on which the trademark is used?
Not in this case. The owner of the application should give you a hint. The specified goods are listed simply as "whiskey." This application shows how a mark that would be merely descriptive and unregisterable on certain goods (i.e. water) can be transformed into an arbitrary, and thus legally strong, trademark if used on other goods (i.e. whiskey).

Back to the trademark though - is this what they call water in Manhattan? If so, there must be a lot of thirsty New Yorkers.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

THE REDNECK GOLF CLUB Is Apparently in Florida

On September 18th, The Bluff's Golf Course, Inc. filed a federal trademark application for THE REDNECK GOLF CLUB as it relates to "[g]olf club services[.]" This golf course, located in Zolfo Springs, Florida, is attempting to solidify itself as "The Redneck Golf Club" by securing a nationwide monopoly over the term through this application. The course claims it has been using the term since July 2013.

Unfortunately, I see some issues with the specimen submitted. The specimen, seen below purports to show the mark as used on the course's Facebook page. The term is found in quotes in one post on the page. This is problematic.
An acceptable specimen for a servicemark (not a trademark for goods) is a specimen that (1) shows the mark and (2) demonstrates a direct association between the mark and services. TMEP 1301.04(f). 

When submitting websites as specimens, it is important that the mark be prominently displayed, usually in larger letters, and the services listed in the application are clearly listed on the website near or in conjunction with the mark. TMEP 1301.04(i) shows some examples of acceptable website specimens for services.

The specimen submitted by The Bluff's Golf Course only shows the mark used once in small font. The Trademark Offices likes to see trademarks that stand out, are found in large letters, and are found in places you would normally see a brand name on a webpage (at the top left, front and center, etc.). If this specimen was for THE BLUFFS GOLF COURSE, it would have a better chance of being acceptable.

Additionally, the Facebook page does not make clear references to the golf services provided under the mark. It can be inferred from the page, but a better specimen would show various prices, available tee times, and information regarding the course.

In sum, The Bluff's Golf Course may need to overcome this hurdle and show acceptable trademark use of THE REDNECK GOLF CLUB before it can truly claim to be "The Redneck Golf Club" of America. Does it really want that title though?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

U.S. Navy Files Trademark for NCIS Badge

On September 17th, the U.S. Navy filed a federal trademark application for its Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) badge shown below. This is a design mark application which protects the look and feel of the badge itself.
The Navy listed the related services on the application as "[f]ederal law enforcement services; surveillance services; criminal activity investigations and research and consultation related thereto; police protection services." The first use date for this badge is listed as December 31, 1992.

This application goes to show that private businesses are not the only entities that can benefit from a federal trademark registration. Government agencies can also use the registration process to bolster their legal rights in various terms and designs related to their agencies. In fact, the Navy has filed over 500 federal trademark applications for various terms and designs including the Marine Corps. motto, rank insignia as used on various consumer products, and the Top Gun School badge. The U.S. Army has filed over 400 federal trademark applications as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Fanta Flavor Coming?

A new Fanta flavor may be hitting the shelves soon following a federal trademark application recently filed by the Coca-Cola Company (which owns the Fanta brand). On September 16th, the Coca-Cola Company filed an application for FANTA STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE as it relates to "frozen confections."
This is an intent-to-use trademark application, meaning Coca-Cola is not using the trademark yet but has plans to do so soon.

Coca-Cola does not appear to own any other federal registrations incorporating FANTA and frozen confections, but the company did obtain a registration for FANTA FREEZE in 2005 related to "frozen confections." This application was cancelled in September 2012 but the Trademark Office's database will not tell me why (technical issues, apparently).

Does Coca-Cola's recent FANTA STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE trademark represent a resurgence of frozen Fanta drinks? We might find out soon.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cooking Lessons From The Cheesecake Factory? Furniture?

Do you love The Cheesecake Factory? Do you love their food so much that you wished they gave lessons in cooking? You might be in luck.
On September 14th, TCF Co., LLC filed a federal trademark application for THE CHEESECAKE FACTORY Design above as it relates to "[e]ducational services, namely, providing instruction in the fields of cooking; [e]ntertainment services, namely, providing webcasts in the field of food preparation and cooking; [e]ntertainment services, namely, the provision of continuing segments featuring food preparation delivered by television or [.]"

The Cheesecake Factory currently owns 28 live trademark applications or registrations for its popular name, and this one appears to be an extension of a similar trademark filed last November. The Cheesecake Factory failed to respond to an office action prior to the deadline in that application, so they had to file this new one. It is an intent-to-use application, which indicates The Cheesecake Factory is not providing these cooking webcasts yet, but plans to do so soon.

Interestingly, TCF Co., LLC filed another trademark application on the same day for furniture. This application is also an intent-to-use application. Will you be able to stock your home with furniture from The Cheesecake Factory soon? We might find out in the near future.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Today's Tip For Saving Your Trademark Filing Fee - Avoid Descriptive Trademarks

If you want to successfully obtain a federal trademark registration, you must avoid trademarks that are generic or highly descriptive of your goods or services. With few exceptions, these terms are incapable of serving as trademarks and cannot be registered.

A good example of a trademark that will probably be refused registration for being generic and/or highly descriptive is a trademark application filed on September 12th for DOLPHIN AND SNORKEL TOURS. The services listed on the application are "[c]onducting guided tours of dolphins and snorkeling sites." This is a problem.

As stated above, a trademark will be refused registration if it is generic in relation to the listed goods or services, or is merely descriptive of them. Section 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act prohibits these types of marks from being registered, namely because the law believes anybody should be entitled to use generic or descriptive terms to describe their goods or services. Imagine how difficult it would be to describe your car wash if someone else obtained a trademark registration for CAR WASH as it relates to car washing services and therefore prohibited you from using the term in conjunction with your business. It wouldn't be fair.

According to Section 1209.01(b) of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP), a trademark is merely descriptive if it "describes an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the specified goods or services [listed in the application]."

Section 1209.01(c) describes a generic term as a term "the relevant purchasing public understands primarily as the common or class name for the goods or services." The test for whether a term is generic is "(1) [w]hat is the genus of goods or services at issue? and (2) [d]oes the relevant public understand the designation primarily to refer to that genus of goods or services?" TMEP 1209.01(c)(i).

Do you see any issues with DOLPHIN AND SNORKEL TOURS as it relates to "[c]onducting guided tours of dolphins and snorkeling sites"? At the very least, the trademark is merely descriptive of the services the applicant listed and thus will be refused registration under 2(e)(1) of the Trademark Act. Expect an office action when this application is assigned to an examining attorney at the Trademark Office in approximately three months.

There are limited exceptions to 2(e)(1), such as using the mark continuously for more than five years, but the applicant's first use date is in 2013 (five continuous years does not guarantee that you will overcome a 2(e)(1) refusal anyway).

Notably, the applicant did not appear to work with an attorney on this trademark application. If it had, the attorney could have pointed out these issues and helped save the applicant's $225 filing fee, which is likely lost now.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


In a move that often precedes the release of a television show or movie, A&E Television Network, LLC filed a federal trademark application on September 11th for TINY HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. The services listed on the trademark application are
Entertainment services, namely, a multimedia program series featuring subjects of general human interest distributed via various platforms across multiple forms of transmission media; entertainment services, namely, an ongoing television series featuring subjects of general human interest; providing a website featuring entertainment information[.]
The intent-to-use basis of this application indicates that A&E has a plan to use this trademark in the future but is not doing so yet.
A quick Google search revealed what appears to be a popular blog under the same name and hosted by a woman who created tiny vacation homes in Hawaii and then again in Idaho. Is she the subject of A&E's new show? Stay tuned to A&E to find out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Did you ever dream of a Michael Buble shower gel? Maybe a Michael Buble deodorant? Well, your dream is about to come true. On September 10th, the famous singer Michael Buble filed a federal trademark application for his own name, MICHAEL BUBLE, as it applies to
Body deodorants; Body sprays; Cosmetic preparations for bath and shower; Cosmetics; Deodorant for personal use; Deodorants for body care; Fragrances; Non-medicated bath preparations; Non-medicated preparations all for the care of skin, hair and scalp; Non-medicated skin care preparations; Non-medicated toiletries; Perfume; Shower and bath foam; Shower and bath gel[.]
How do we know this is actually Michael Buble? Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act prohibits the registration of a trademark containing any name, portrait, or signature that identifies a living person without that person's written consent. Michael Buble gave that consent with this application, seen below.
Additionally, the owner of the trademark is listed as Pancho Music, Inc. c/o Brue Allen Talent, Michael Buble's management agency.

So when will these Michael Buble bath products be available? This trademark application was filed on an intent-to-use basis, meaning Michael Buble is not using the trademark in commerce yet. He should, however, have a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. Expect to see these products available to come home to you soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tinder Files Trademark for SWIPE UP, New "Super Like" Featuring Coming Soon

Most millennials know the "swipe right, swipe left" functions of the popular dating app Tinder, but on September 9th the company filed a federal trademark application for SWIPE UP.
The goods and services listed on the application are:
Downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application for internet-based dating and matchmaking; downloadable software in the nature of a mobile application in the field of social media, namely, for sending status updates to subscribers of web feeds, uploading and downloading electronic files to share with others[.]
These services are very similar to the description of services on the TINDER trademark application, leading me to believe that this term will be used in conjunction with the application as well. Earlier this year Tinder also filed trademark applications for SWIPE LEFT and SWIPE RIGHT.

On the date this trademark application was filed, Tinder published a blog post referring to a new "Super Like" function that will soon be available on the app. This function allows you to "swipe up" on someone's profile to let someone know he or she stands out and you like him or her more than other profiles on the dating app. Apparently, this service is only available in Australia currently but will be released to the rest of the world later this year, which is consistent with the intent-to-use basis of this application (meaning Tinder is not using the term in the United States yet).

Because all these applications were filed on an intent-to-use basis, Tinder has not had to submit specimens showing its use of these terms in commerce as trademarks yet. I will be curious to see what documentation they will eventually submit that shows SWIPE UP, SWIPE RIGHT, and SWIPE LEFT as trademarks given that these terms really just describe a function of the app. Tinder might have some issues there.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tip For Saving Your Trademark Filing Fee - Don't File a MUNCHIN DONUTS Trademark

In a lesson on what not to do, a California company called Munchin Donuts, LLC filed federal trademark applications in two different classes for MUCHIN DONUTS. The underlying goods are listed as "donuts; coffee" and "catering of food and drinks; coffee shops."
Does the term MUCHIN DONUTS, especially when used in conjunction with coffee shops and donuts, remind you of anything? Maybe a huge brand named Dunkin' Donuts? If so, you just experienced what trademark law is designed to protect against: customer confusion as to the source of certain goods. 

In general, trademark infringement occurs when the same or similar term is used on related goods and services. Additionally, the Trademark Office will not register a mark that is confusingly similar to a mark that is already registered (and Dunkin' Donuts has multiple federal trademark registrations). See Section 1207 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure.

Both MUNCHIN DONUTS trademark applications were filed on an intent-to-use basis, meaning the company is not using the name in commerce yet (and I doubt they ever will). Luckily, since the company is not yet using the term and appears to be early on in the branding phase, it should be fairly easy to come up with a new name (or at least easier than re-branding after several years of use).

When these applications are assigned to an examining attorney at the Trademark Office in approximately three months, that attorney will almost certainly cite Dunkin' Donuts' trademark registrations as a basis to refuse registration to MUNCHIN DONUTS. If not, I feel confident that Dunkin' Donuts will file an opposition to these registrations if the marks are actually published for opposition. In either case, both filing fees for these applications are likely lost (a total of $550).

The lesson - don't file an application that is confusingly similar to a pre-existing trademark. And use qualified trademark counsel.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Delicious SPAGHETTI MEATBALLWICH Trademark Filed

On September 6th, a restaurant in Tarzana, California filed a federal trademark application for the term SPAGHETTI MEATBALLWICH as it relates to "[s]andwiches; Sandwiches, namely, Meatball; Spaghetti and meatballs."
The applicant's specimen of use, shown above, is a screenshot of the sandwich on its website. Although website screenshots are not always acceptable specimens, this one should work.

According to Section 904.03(i) of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure, "a webpage can constitute a 'display associated with the goods' [which is an acceptable specimen] if it:
  • (1) contains a picture or textual description of the identified goods;
  • (2) shows the mark in association with the goods; and
  • (3) provides a means for ordering the identified goods."
  • As you can see on the specimen above, the webpage certainly shows a pictorial description of the sandwich, the trademark is in large letters right above the picture, and in the top right corner there is the ability to order online. If the webpage did not contain one of these elements, such as the ability to order the sandwich, it may not have been an acceptable a specimen.

    If the applicant is successful in obtaining this registration, they will become the only restaurant that can name a sandwich the "Spaghetti Meatballwich."

    Patrick Ewing Files Trademark for Own Name

    On September 4th, Patrick Ewing filed a federal trademark application for his name, PATRICK EWING, as it relates to 
    All purpose sport bags; All-purpose athletic bags; All-purpose carrying bags; Backpacks; Billfolds; Briefcases; Business card cases; Card wallets; Duffel bags; Handbags; Key wallets; Key-cases; Leather bags and wallets; Leather key chains; Luggage; Messenger bags; Toiletry bags sold empty; Tote bags; Umbrellas; Wallets.
    As with all trademarks bearing a living individual's name, Patrick Ewing signed a consent form to register this trademark (seen below).

    The application is an intent-to-use application so Patrick Ewing isn't using his names on these various items yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the futre.

    Patrick Ewing has had 12 trademark applications containing his name filed with the Trademark Office but only four of these are still alive. They relate to headwear, footwear, and shirts.

    With this recent filing, Patrick Ewing seems to be expanding the line of products bearing his name. These products may be in stores in the near future.

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    U.S. Olympic Committee Files LOS ANGELES 2024 Trademarks Following Bid Annoucement

    On September 3rd, the day after Los Angeles announced it would be seeking a bid for the 2024 Olympics, the U.S. Olympic Committee filed five federal trademark applications related to "organizing and promoting the City of Los Angeles for selection as the site of an international athletic event," ornamental lapel pins, and clothing. The trademarks are:

  • LA 24;
  • LA 2024; and
  • LOS ANGELES 2024.

  • The U.S. Olympic Committee submitted a screenshot of its Facebook page promoting the bid as its specimen of use, which shows each of the trademarks being used with the promotion services listed in the applications.

    The move follows Boston's announcement in July 2015 that it would no longer be seeking a bid for the same Olympics.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2015

    Playboy Files Trademarks for Possible New Logos

    On September 3rd, Playboy International Enterprises, Inc. filed eight different federal trademark applications, six of which were for the logo below.
    The goods and services covered under these applications ranged everywhere from electronic cigarettes and tobacco, to a variety of clothing and apparel, barware items, athletic bags and backpacks, jewelry, and mobile applications.  

    The other two trademark applications were for the logo below.
    The goods and services listed under these two applications related to entertainment services in the form of video games, web-based applications, nightclubs, and social entertainment events.

    Do these applications signal new logos for Playboy? Maybe. Playboy filed each of these applications on an intent-to-use basis, meaning the company is not using these logos in commerce yet but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.

    Thursday, September 3, 2015

    HAVANA AIR Providing Private Flights to Cuba

    On August 28th, a company in Miami, Florida called ViajeHoy, LLC filed a federal trademark application for HAVANA AIR as it relates to "[a]irline and shipping services; transportation services; arranging travel tours; rental of cars; travel agency services; airplane chartering; import and export cargo handling services[.]"
    The company appears to be capitalizing on the newly established relations between the United States and Cuba, although the trademark application indicates this company has been using the mark HAVANA AIR since February 28, 2013.

    According to the company's website, HAVANA AIR looks to provide private flights to Cuba from Miami, among other services.

    With this filing, ViajeHoy, LLC seeks to become the only company legally permitted to use HAVANA AIR on airline services (as well as the other services listed in the application).

    Wednesday, September 2, 2015

    MGM Resorts Files Trademarks for Concert/Sports Venues

    On August 27th, MGM Resorts International, Inc. filed two federal trademark applications related to "[p]roviding general purpose venues for sports and concerts[.]" The marks are LAS VEGAS VILLAGE and LAS VEGAS FESTIVAL GROUNDS.
    MGM filed both these applications on an intent-to-use basis, meaning the company is not yet using these marks in commerce but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future.

    According to MGM's website, it appears the company is already operating "MGM Village" and "MGM Festival Grounds." Thus, it looks like the company is seeking to change the name of these venues.

    In some instances, a new trademark may be "tacked" onto an old trademark, giving the new trademark priority that relates back to the first use of the old trademark (for example, MGM could have obtained priority in LAS VEGAS VILLAGE relating back to the first use of MGM VILLAGE). However, tacking only works when the new trademark is the legal equivalent of the old one (i.e. exactly the same or almost exactly the same) and the underlying goods or services are the same or substantially the same.

    In MGM's case, "Las Vegas" is not the legal equivalent of "MGM" and thus tacking cannot be used (even though the underlying services are exactly the same).

    For trademark owners, this demonstrates an important consideration - choose your trademark carefully. If you decide to change your name down the road, chances are you will need to file another trademark application if you wish to give yourself nationwide rights in the new name.

    Tuesday, September 1, 2015

    Apple Files Trademark For "Activity" App Logo Days Before September Special Event

    On August 26th, Apple, Inc. filed a federal trademark application for the app logo below as it relates to
    computer software for tracking, storing, viewing, monitoring, displaying, transmitting and managing user interaction data concerning exercise, physical activity, steps taken, distance walked or run, time standing or sitting, calories consumed, calories burned; computer software for tracking, monitoring and managing information and goals regarding a heath and fitness program; computer software for mobile telephones and mobile digital electronic devices[.]
    The filing comes exactly two weeks before Apple's September 9th Special Event in which the company is expected to release a new iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus along with a new, sleeker version of Apple TV. Apple submitted the screenshot below as proof of the application's use in commerce.

    The application states Apple has been using this app logo since April 24, 2015 (which is exactly the date Apple Watch released) but I could not find it in the App Store for the iPhone. However, it does appear that this app is already being used on the Apple Watch. I also found at least one article reporting that this app appears on your phone after you connect it with an Apple Watch.

    Given the timing of Apple's recent filing, and the language in the trademark application related to "computer software for mobile telephones," I would not be surprised if this new Activity App received some attention at the company's September 9th Special Event.