Wednesday, July 1, 2020

San Francisco Company Files Application to Register GAS STATIONS IN SPACE as a Trademark for...Space Gas Stations?

Are space gas stations the future? Maybe. According to their website, San Francisco-based Orbit Fab, Inc. is apparently working on establishing the first gas station in space for satellite refueling. And the company recently filed a federal trademark application in that pursuit.
On June 26, Orbit Fab, Inc. filed an application to register GAS STATION IN SPACE as a trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The application covers the following goods and services:
  • Fuel for satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles, and space stations; propellant for satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles, and space stations (Class 4); and
  • Repair, maintenance, and refueling services for satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles, and space stations (Class 37).
In other words, space gas stations? The application was filed on an intent-to-use basis, so it may never register, but does indicate Orbit Fab, Inc. has plans to launch such gas stations (which is confirmed by the company's website).

But is GAS STATIONS IN SPACE merely descriptive of the underlying goods and services? If so, Orbit Fab will have a difficult time getting this mark registered (on the Principal Register, at least).

A trademark is generally "considered merely descriptive if it immediately conveys knowledge of a quality, feature, function, or characteristic of an applicant’s goods or services." See TMEP 1209.01(b).

Does GAS STATIONS IN SPACE merely describe a quality, feature, function, or characteristic of the refueling services for satellites, spacecraft, space vehicles, and space stations? What about fuel for such vehicles? We'll find out what the USPTO thinks in approximately three months after this application is assigned to an examining attorney for review.

According to my quick search, this is the first ever federal trademark application filed by Orbit Fab, Inc.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Is Pepsi Blue Making a Comeback? A Recent Trademark Application Suggests So

While I only vaguely recall it, Pepsi Blue was a berry-flavored version of Pepsi that was launched in the U.S. in 2002 and discontinued shortly thereafter in 2004. Pepsico, Inc. previously owned federal trademark registrations for both the PEPSI BLUE name and former logo (seen below), but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled those registrations nearly ten years ago after Pepsi failed to renew them (likely due to non-use, as use is a requirement to renew a trademark registration).  

However, a recent trademark application filed at the USPTO by Pepsico, Inc. suggests that Pepsi Blue might be making a comeback. On June 25, Pepsico filed a federal trademark application to register PEPSI BLUE as a trademark for "Concentrates, syrups or powders used in the preparation of soft drinks; Soft drinks" in Class 32.

Pepsico filed the application on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting it is not currently using PEPSI BLUE as a trademark for the listed goods, but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future. See TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). Before PEPSI BLUE can be registered as a trademark again, Pepsico must start using the PEPSI BLUE trademark in interstate commerce in conjunction with the listed goods and submit sufficient proof of such use to the USPTO.

While Pepsico is not required to start selling Pepsi Blue again, it does mean something is likely in the works. 

This is the first trademark application for PEPSI BLUE filed by Pepsico since the now dead PEPSI BLUE registrations it filed for in 2002. Fans of Pepsi Blue - pay attention to this application. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Bauer Hockey Files Application to Register BAUER as a Trademark for Sanitary Masks, Face Shields

Back in March, hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer Hockey announced the company would be switching from hockey equipment to protective medical equipment. A recent trademark application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proves the company wasn't kidding.
On May 7, the hockey company filed a federal trademark application for BAUER, but it didn't cover hockey equipment. Instead, it covered the following goods:
  • Sanitary masks to protect from infection and prevent infection of others; face shields to protect from infection and prevent infection of others; disposable microorganism barrier gowns (Class 10); and
  • Multi-usage face shields; multi-purpose face shields; face masks; goggles (Class 9).
Bauer filed the application on an intent-to-use basis, suggesting it is not currently selling these goods in conjunction with the BAUER trademark yet, but has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future (which makes sense). See TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). Before this particular BAUER trademark can be registered, Bauer must actually start using the BAUER trademark in interstate commerce in conjunction with the goods listed in the application and submit sufficient prove of such use to the USPTO. See TMEP 1103.

Kudos to Bauer for doing its part.

Monday, May 11, 2020

PwC Files Application to Register AUTOMATIC CONTACT TRACING As a Trademark for Web-Based Software. Any Issues?

Coronavirus-related trademark applications are flooding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently, to no one's surprise. And a recent application from PricewaterhouseCoopers is no different.

On May 6, the global professional services firm filed an application to register AUTOMATIC CONTACT TRACING as a trademark with the USPTO. The application covers the following services in Class 42:
  • Providing web-based software application that would assist organizations in making critical workforce strategies through the analysis of data based on employee location and interaction
According to the application, PwC has been using AUTOMATIC CONTACT TRACING as a trademark (or, more accurately, a service mark) since March 30, 2020. Submitted with the application to prove use is the specimen seen below.


See any potential issues? Is this mark merely descriptive of the underlying services?

Merely descriptive trademarks immediately describe "an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of the specified goods or services." See TMEP 1209.01(b). Merely descriptive trademarks cannot be registered on the Principal Register (which affords all the benefits of a federal trademark registration) without a showing of acquired distinctiveness. 

Does AUTOMATIC CONTACT TRACING merely describe the underlying services listed in the application and show in the specimen above? If so, the USPTO will issue a refusal to register this mark. PwC can submit arguments against that refusal, amend the application to the Supplemental Register (assuming the mark is being used as a service mark and actually in use), or choose to abandon the application.

We'll find out what an examining attorney at the USPTO thinks when this application is examined in approximately three months. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 13, 2020

California Individual Files Applications to Register WE CURED COVID-19 and Two Other COVID-19 Slogans as Trademarks

With the COVID-19 pandemic starting to overwhelm our daily lives, it's not surprising to see individuals and companies filing federal trademark applications for the term.
Most recently, on March 9, an individual in California filed applications to register the three slogans below as federal trademarks:
All three applications cover the same goods and services, namely:
  • Clothing (Class 25);
  • Providing information in the field of medicine; promotional services, namely, promoting the charities of others (Class 35); and
  • Charitable fundraising (Class 36)
However, simply because this individual filed applications doesn't mean he'll obtain registrations. The individual filed these applications on an intent-to-use basis, meaning he'll need to start using these slogans as trademarks with the listed goods and services and submit sufficient proof of same to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before he can be issued registrations. TMEP 806.01(b); 15 USC 1051(b). No trademark use = no registration.

The applications could also face barriers in the examination phase. For example, the USPTO will likely ask the applicant to specify the type of clothing in Class 25. Further, depending on the applicant's use of these slogans, the USPTO may find them to merely convey a message rather than function as an identifier of the source of the goods/services. See TMEP 1202.03(f)(i).

In any event, one can expect to see a slew of CORONAVIRUS and COVID-19 trademark applications filed in the near future. And, as always happens when a popular phrase comes about, you can expect the vast majority of those applications die before registration.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson Files Trademark Applications for NOT BAD FOR A RUNNING BACK, Two Other Marks

On January 16, a few days after losing to the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson filed three applications with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
The applications are for the following marks:
The applications cover the same goods in Class 25, namely "Bottoms as clothing; Footwear; Headwear; Tops as clothing; Undergarments." According to the applications, Lamar is already using NOT BAD FOR A RUNNING BACK as a trademark for that apparel, but is not currently using the other two marks (although the applications suggests he has a bona fide intention to do so in the near future).

Back in April 2019, the same attorney who filed these applications obtained a federal trademark registration for the name LAMAR JACKSON covering similar apparel items, as well as backpacks, athletic bags, duffel bags, and sports bag. With that application, Lamar submitted his written consent to register his name as a trademark (see below). Such written consent is required under Section 2(c) of the Trademark Act when a trademark incorporates the name of a living individual.

Lamar Jackson, individually, is listed as the owner of each application above. According to my quick search, there are currently three other federal trademark applications pending that are owned by Lamar Jackson. All three are for various logos that appear to be related to his Era 8 apparel line.