Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Jon Taffer of Bar Rescue Files Trademark Application for "Shut It Down" Sound Mark

Fan's of Spike TV's Bar Rescue know Jon Taffer's infamous "Shut It Down!" phrase. Whenever a bar is descending into chaos, the show's host shouts the phrase at the bar staff.
If you wanted a button that proclaims "Shut It Down!" for yourself, Jon Taffer appears to be selling one. He also claims trademark rights in the phrase (as it relates to toy buttons, at least).

On July 14th, Jon Taffer, LLC filed a federal trademark application for a sound mark consisting of the spoken words "Shut It Down." The host's business entity filed the application in Class 028 for "toys, electronic novelty push button with sound." The first use date is listed as December 2015. You can listen to the sound bite submitted with the trademark application here.

As I've blogged about before, sounds can serve as trademarks if they identify the source of a good or service and are not sounds goods make in their normal course of operation (with a few exceptions). The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure provides "[s]ound marks function as source indicators when they 'assume a definitive shape or arrangement' and 'create in the hearer's mind an association of the sound' with a good or service." TMEP 1202.15. Along with a trademark application for a sound mark, an applicant "must submit a specimen that contains a sufficient portion of the audio or video content to show how the mark is used on or in connection with the goods/services..." TMEP 904.03(f).

According to my quick search, Jon Taffer, LLC owns 38 other live trademark applications or registrations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but this is the first sound mark filed by the celebrity.

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