Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Holidays from Tantalizing Trademarks

Happy holidays from Tantalizing Trademarks! I hope all your Christmas gifts were officially licensed merchandise. Here's a throwback to a holiday trademark filing from earlier this year.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

TESS is Down

The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS), and almost every other online service at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, has been down for over 24 hours. According to the USPTO, a major power outage occurred on Tuesday, December 22 that resulted in damaged equipment and a shutdown in many of the office's online and IT systems. No word yet on a cause. Unfortunately, this outage prohibits me from searching recent trademark filings and updating this blog. As soon as the system are back online, I will be back!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Disney Files Series of DONALD DUCK Trademarks

On December 16th, Disney Enterprises, Inc. filed four federal trademark applications for DONALD DUCK related to a variety of unusual items. The four trademark applications related to "tea," "curtains," "soap dishes; waste baskets; paper cups; paper plates," and "furniture."
Quite a random list. However, the intent-to-use basis of each application means that Disney does have a bona fide intention to use the phrase DONALD DUCK on each one of the items listed in the applications. This does not mean Disney is legally required to use the mark on those items, but it does require some sort of planning to use the term that is more than just an idea (i.e. a marketing plan for the items, orders placed for the required materials, prototypes developed, etc.).

These recent filings add to Disney's growing list of trademark applications or registrations in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which numbers almost 5,500 as of the date of this post. It also serves as an important reminder to anyone trying to sell their own Donald Duck (or any Disney) items - don't do so without a license from Disney. Disney owns a huge intellectual property portfolio and is aggressive about protecting its valuable intellectual property. Trying to profit off Disney's intellectual property will only lead to cease and desist letters from Disney's counsel.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Chicago Bulls Name Change or Nicknames? Multiple Trademark Applications Filed By Team

On December 14th, the Chicago Bulls (well, technically Northwest Sports, LLC d/b/a Chicago Bulls) filed six federal trademark applications for HEARTLAND BULLS, WINDY CITY BULLS, and GREAT LAKES BULLS. The address listed for Northwest Sports, LLC matches the address listed for the Chicago Bulls' executive offices, suggesting that this is the legal entity that owns the team (or at least holds its trademarks).
The Bulls filed two applications for each nickname. One set of applications relates to "[e]ntertainment and educational services in the nature of ongoing television and radio programs in the field of basketball and rendering live basketball games and basketball exhibitions.." and various related services while the other set relates to a wide range of clothing items.

The Bulls filed all of these applications on an intent-to-use basis, which means the team is not using the names in commerce (i.e. selling the related goods or offering the related services under the marks) yet but has a plan to do so in the near future. Unless the Chicago Bulls plan on changing their team name, these trademark applications probably relate to potential nicknames the team plans to use in referring to itself and on related team merchandise. By filing the applications, the team is trying to secure the exclusive, nationwide right to use the terms on the goods and services listed in the trademark applications.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

KISS Wine and Spirits Coming Soon?

Fans of the band Kiss may be able to enjoy KISS-branded spirits or wine soon. On December 11, Kiss Catalog, Ltd. filed two federal trademark applications for the design marks shown below. I am assuming Kiss Catalog, Ltd. is the legal entity holding the band's intellectual property given the 119 other trademark applications filed by the entity in the past.
These applications do not relate to music, however (the band owns other registrations for music services). These particular applications list "distilled spirits" or "distilled spirits; wines" in Class 33 as the related goods. Kiss Catalog filed both applications on an intent-to-use basis, which means the band is not using these marks in conjunction with distilled spirits or wine yet but does have a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. In other words, a KISS-branded spirit and/or wine may be hitting liquor stores near you soon.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Emojis Strike Again - EMOJIBALMS Trademark Filed

Several federal trademark applications related to emojis have been filed in 2015. I've blogged about EMOJI CARDS and EMOJI BANDAGES myself. The most recent offender is a federal trademark application for EMOJIBALMS filed on December 9th. The application is for "non-medicated balms for use on lips" and was filed by IP Branding Group, LLC out of Highland Park, Illinois.
This is a design mark application for the logo above. IP Branding Group filed this application on an intent-to-use basis, so [unfortunately] you cannot find EMOJIBALMS in the stores yet (because the intent-to-use basis means company has not yet started selling the lip balm).

To recap, I've found emoji-related trademarks for a card game, bandages, and lip balm in 2015. As the emoji trademark field gets more crowded, it will become more difficult to file emoji-related trademarks (for example, if the EMOJIBALM application matures to a registration, you will likely be precluded from filing another trademark containing the term EMOJI for anything related to lip balm). So, if you have an emoji-related product, hurry up and get the trademark filed so you can claim exclusive rights to the term as it relates to your particular goods or services. I expect to see many more EMOJI trademark applications filed in the future.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Happy, Merry Beer Trademark Filed by Utah Based Red Rock Brewing Company

It's that time of year. On December 6th, the Red Rock Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, Utah filed a federal trademark application for its FROHLICH Pils beer. The trademark application states that the English translation of Frohlich means "happy, merry" (presumably how you feel after drinking a couple of these high alcohol beers).
According to the company's website, this beer "features a dry, clean, crisp body with a notable hop bitterness." Although Red Rock Brewing filed this application in December, the application itself indicates that the company has been selling this beer since August 2014.

It's common for craft beer companies to file trademarks for the unique names they come up with for their beers and I've seen many of these filings this year. With a federal trademark, these breweries can obtain the exclusive, nationwide right to use the term on alcohol (and the design of the label depending on the application). A federal trademark registration also makes it easier for these breweries to license their trademark for collaborations with other breweries or companies (New Belgium recently did this with Ben and Jerry's).

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Vintage Batman Trademarks Filed by DC/Warner

On December 4th, the partnership of DC Comics E.C. Publications, Inc. and Warner Communications, LLC filed four federal trademark applications for the vintage Batman logo below.
Each application listed a different class of goods, which ranged from glass and ceramic mugs and cups, to clothing items, to pre-recorded disks, and to printed paper goods. According to the applications, this logo has been in use on these goods since at least February 2013.

In reviewing the specimens, it looks like these trademarks relate to various vintage items being sold on (which apparently sells a huge amount of Batman merchandise). 

A very quick search of the USPTO's database revealed 928 other trademark applications or registrations owned by DC Comics. These Batman applications will be the newest members to DC's ever growing trademark portfolio.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

SWIFTMAS Is Coming - Taylor Swift Files 20 Federal Trademark Applications

On December 3rd, Taylor Swift, through her IP management and holding company TAS Rights Management, LLC, filed 20 federal trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
As seen above, trademark applications for SWIFTMAS, BLANK SPACE, AND I'LL WRITE YOUR NAME, A GIRL NAMED GIRL, and 1989 were filed on that date. 

Why are there multiple applications for the same trademark? TAS Rights Management filed each trademark in a different class of goods and services. For example, one SWIFTMAS application related to music services and live concerts while another related to various clothing and apparel. Because trademarks are divided into classes of goods and services, the same trademark is sometimes found on multiple applications.

Each of Taylor's trademarks filed on December 3rd relate to a variety of goods and services, including live music performances, clothing, printed materials (i.e. books, magazines, brochures), websites, and online retail services. All of these trademark applications were filed on an intent to use basis, which means Taylor Swift is not yet using these trademarks in relation to the underlying goods/services (which is surprising considering some of the marks filed).

This mass filing comes weeks before Christmas and is probably designed to protect primarily a variety of Taylor Swift apparel and merchandise during the holiday season (and thereafter). Merry SWIFTMAS everybody.

Monday, December 7, 2015

LA Sports & Entertainment Company Files 11 Rugby-Related Trademarks

On December 2, Grand Prix Entertainment, Inc. filed eleven trademark applications that may hint at the establishment of a professional rugby league in the United States. Apparently, Grand Prix Entertainment has been making moves to establish such a league over the past couple years.

The trademarks, seen above, all listed the following services on each application:
Arranging and conducting athletic competitions; Entertainment in the nature of competitions in the field of athletics and sports; Entertainment services, namely, arranging and conducting of competitions for athletic and sporting events, organizing and conducting exhibitions for entertainment purposes, organizing and conducting rugby tournaments and international rugby tournaments, all rendered live and through broadcast media including television and radio, and via a global computer network or a commercial on-line service; Entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting an array of athletic events rendered live and recorded for the purpose of distribution through broadcast media; Production and distribution of motion pictures; Production and distribution of radio programs; Production and distribution of television shows and movies; Production of cable television programs; Providing news and information in the field of sports; Providing various facilities for an array of sporting events, sports and athletic competitions and awards programmes; Radio program syndication; Television program syndication
Additionally, Grand Prix filed all these trademarks on an intent to use basis, which means they are not yet being used in commerce but there is a bona fide plan to do so in the near future. The scope of these applications protects a wide variety of names that may be used for the league, which indicates Grand Prix Entertainment is in the process of deciding on a name (and does not want any other entity to file an application for a rugby league-related trademark in the meantime). If the league takes off, expect to see some of these trademarks mature into a full registration.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


On November 26, Hilton Head Distillery, LLC filed a federal trademark application for the mark below in Class 33 for "distilled spirits." Although the LLC appears to be organized in South Carolina, it has an office address in Harvard, Massachusetts. According to the application, the applicant first used the mark below on November 2, 2015.
Typically, Section 2(e)(2) of the Trademark Act would prohibit the registration (on the Principal Register at least) of a mark that is geographically descriptive (other sections prohibit the registration of geographically misdescriptiveness marks as well - especially for spirits). The purpose of this prohibition is the prevent one person or company from claiming exclusive rights to a geographic place. For example, if this applicant could claim exclusive rights to Hilton Head as it relates to spirits, no other distillery could describe their goods using the term without facing liability, even if they were actually in Hilton Head.

A mark is considered geographically descriptive when:
  1. the primary significance of the mark is a generally known geographic location;
  2. the goods or services originate in the place identified in the mark; and
  3. purchasers would be likely to believe that the goods or services originate in the geographic place identified in the mark. TMEP 1210.01(a).
In this case, Hilton Head is surely a generally known geographic location. If this distillery is actually located in Hilton Head, it would be refused registration on the Principal Register under Section 2(e)(2). 

However, this application is for the logo above, not the term HILTON HEAD DISTILLERY. In fact, the applicant disclaimed the words HILTON HEAD DISTILLERY from the mark. By doing so, it is seeking to protect the look and feel of the logo without necessarily claiming exclusive rights to the term. This might be enough to overcome any geographically descriptive bar to registration. We will find out in approximately three months when this application is assigned to an examining attorney at the Trademark Office.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Snoop Dogg Files LEAFS BY SNOOP Trademark

On November 25, 2015, Calvin Broadus (aka Snoop Dogg) filed a federal trademark application for the phrase LEAFS BY SNOOP in Class 34 as it relates to "cigarette lighters not made of precious metals."
Above is a picture of the specimen filed with the trademark application (I'm not sure these are truly cigarette lighters - ed.). According to the application, Snoop started selling these lighters on November 10, 2015. Snoop filed a similar trademark application on November 17th for the actual leaf design (which is coded with a "marijuana pants" design code despite the "cigarette lighter" description).

Calvin Broadus has filed ten other federal trademarks in the past, although not all are live registrations. Other trademarks filed by Snoop include SNOOPERMARKET, SNOOP LOIN, and SNOOP JUICE.