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Timely updates and interesting insight on patent, trademark, and copyright law.

Viewing posts in "Trademark".

Un-Masking Deceit: Trademark Law as a Weapon against Fraudulent Distributors

As the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to ravage the United States, ensuring that frontline healthcare workers are adequately protected is of utmost importance. Among various types of proper protective equipment (PPE), none has become more synonymous with safety and protection than the N95 Respirator. Given the superior effectiveness of the N95 respirator over other prophylactic measures, demand is understandably high. Basic principles of economics suggest that increased demand for respirators will similarly increase the price paid by consumers. However, the dire need for PPE is motivating companies to forego increased profits to ensure that frontline personnel are adequately protected.

USPTO Announces New Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently launched a new “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program” on July 2, 2020. The Program allows for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals in US patent application prosecutions. The Program serves as an extension of the “Track One” prioritized examination program and is intended to provide applicants with another opportunity to expedite US patent prosecution.

USPTO Again Extends CARES Act Relief for Small and Micro Entities

Prior USPTO CARES Act extensions waived certain fees and deadlines up until July 1, 2020. With the July 1, 2020 date looming and the need for relief remaining at a high level, today (June 29, 2020) the USPTO further extended the time for small and micro entities to pay certain patent-related fees that would otherwise have been due on or after March 27, 2020.

New USPTO IP Marketplace for COVID-19 Technologies

Yesterday, May 4, 2020, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) took a surprising leap into commercialization of patented and patent pending technologies, unveiling a web-based marketplace platform for intellectual property (IP).

Update to the Extension of Certain Patent and Trademark Deadlines Due to COVID-19

Yesterday, April 28, 2020, pursuant to the temporary authority provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced further extensions to the time allowed for filing certain patent and trademark-related documents and to pay certain required fees. This new Notice supersedes the prior Notice published on March 31, 2020.


Tequila is now, at long last, a registered United States certification mark.  Due to the widespread use of the word “Tequila” it was not an easy application. 


While all attention in the golf world this week is focused on The Masters and Augusta, Costco and Acushnet are in a fight of their own in U.S. District Court. 

Last year, Costco released its Kirkland Signature golf ball at a price of about $15/dozen, and the ball received rave reviews for its value and play. Some reported that it was comparable to Acushnet’s Titleist Pro V1 which retails for around $48/dozen, and Costco quickly ran out of inventory.

I Do Not Believe That It Will Win

Unfortunately, Aztec Shops Ltd’s belief “that it will win” was not enough to win over the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) in order to secure a trademark registration. Aztec Shops Ltd is the owner of the San Diego State University bookstore, among other entities. In 2011, it applied to register as a trademark the catch phrase  “I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN” heard in many sports stadiums around the country. Aztec attempted to claim a trademark right associated with its use of this phrase on apparel. The United States Soccer Federation successfully challenged the registration.

You’ve Got to “Fear the Deer,” or is it “Fear the Stag”?

After a win over the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week, and their first win over the Spurs since 2012, the Milwaukee Bucks are developing a target on their backs as a 2017 NBA playoff contender. Fear the Deer! But another party not often associated with the NBA also has the Bucks in its sights.

Trump and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

As David Letterman once said, “Trump is a big man, I think 230 pounds — 235 with cologne.” 

In the wake of the recent election, many are trying to predict how President Elect Trump will view the current US Patent and Trademark Office. Will he dub it “Tremendous,” or a “Disaster?” David Letterman’s quote may hold a key to this prognostication.

Use it or lose it

In order to obtain a trademark or service mark in the US, the mark must be “in use” in commerce. Marks that were registered at one time but are not in use (for example, when a business stops making a product or closes its doors) can be freed up for other people to use. 

Trademark Madness

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is full of well-known trademarks. The NCAA hits its viewers over and over with “March Madness,” “Sweet 16,” “Elite 8,” “Final Four,” and “Big Dance,” like a skilled point guard dropping dimes.

A Tribute to Metallica

The members of a Metallica tribute band, Sandman, received an unusual surprise when they showed up recently to play a show at FitzRays, in London, Ontario. A 41-page cease-and-desist letter was waiting for them the moment they arrived. The letter, sent by a Metallica attorney, demanded that the band, which bills itself as “Canada’s Number One Tribute to Metallica,” stop using the Metallica name and the following logo:

Copyright Not Flexible Enough to Protect Bikram Yoga

Last week, the Ninth Circuit decided that the sequence of poses that make up Bikram yoga is not copyrightable. Among other implications, this shows that each intellectual property protection has its boundaries, and creators need to be careful to know which sandbox they are playing in and act (and register) accordingly.

The Trademark Application Process in (mostly) Simple English

Many businesses think about obtaining a federal trademark registration, but they aren’t sure what is involved. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has gotten better at speaking in English rather than legal-ese and has included timelines and explanations as to what is involved.


Superb Owl is again making the headlines. Stephen Colbert popularized the phrase last year as a way of covering Super Bowl XLVIII on his show “The Colbert Report” while avoiding action by the NFL, an organization known for its aggressive protection of its trademark rights.

Symbol of the United States

On Independence Day (and throughout the year) people show their affection for the United States through symbolism. However, many people are not aware that the use and reproduction of the famous and important United States symbols are regulated by various laws.

TM Symbols: Recent T®ends

The ® symbol is generally accepted worldwide to designate trademark registration, and there are many benefits to using the symbol with registered marks. Yet, some choose not to use the ® symbol. Why?

Cuba Libre?

President Obama recently called on Congress to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba. While many estimate that the embargo will likely continue for more than a year, anyone preparing to do business in Cuba should include Cuban trademark applications and registrations in its preparations.

International Protection of Designs

United States applicants are now able to file international design applications either directly through the World Intellectual Property Organization or indirectly through the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

The Emperor Has Little Protection For His Clothes

Over the past few weeks, New York, London, Milan and Paris have been showing off the fashions that will be “it” for the fall. In Europe, fashion designs may be eligible for industrial design protection. However, in the United States, there is no such specific protection.

The SAWS Program…

Did you know that the United States Patent and Trademark Office operates a secret program not mentioned in any USPTO published rule or any law called the Sensitive Application Warning System or SAWS?

Taylor Swift’s Lyrics May Equal Trademarks

The Trademark Manual of Examining Procedures makes it clear that a title, or a portion of a title, of a single creative work must be refused registration. However, Ms. Swift is not registering these lyrics for her song or album.