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Makers of Popular Candy Crush Saga File Trademark for "Candy"

February 4, 2014,

candy.jpgCalifornia - King. com Limited, the company behind 2013's most downloaded mobile app, has made a move to obtain trademark protection over the word "Candy." In an effort to prevent others from riding the wave of success of the enormously popular Candy Crush Saga, King has begun sending cease and desist letters to competing app makers that use the word Candy in the names of their games. The move is being described as a strategic business move by some and an example of Intellectual Property protection going too far by many.

The trademark application was submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by the British video game maker in February 2013 based on its already granted European Union trademark registration. The application is for the word "Candy" only and covers three classes, from the video game itself to clothing to educational and entertainment services. After months of back and forth with the USPTO, last week King's "Candy" application finally cleared the review process and was approved for publication.

King's decision to trademark such a commonly used word is facing harsh criticism, especially by the app makers who have been told to shut down their apps based on a potential for confusion with King's "Candy" trademark. According to makers of other games that use the word "Candy," King is trying to unfairly monopolize the use of this word in the video game industry.

One of the targeted app makers, Benny Hsu, has expressed frustration at King's ability to reserve the exclusive right to use "Candy", claiming that his "All Candy Casino Slots" game has nothing to do with Candy Crush Saga and that he should not be prevented from using the word in the name of his game. He is one of many faced with the difficult situation of having to come up with names that work around commonly used words protected by trademark. Hsu, for instance, pointed out that he was barred from using the word "Memory" in the name of another app because of an existing trademark for the term. With the accumulation of more trademarks being granted for commonplace words, individuals like Hsu are growing increasingly concerned that they will be stepping on others' toes no matter what words they use to name their games.

Since its release in 2012, Candy Crush Saga has soared in popularity, becoming the most download app of the year in 2013, with an estimated 500 million total downloads. According to records, King logs about 700 million play sessions of the game per day, leading to approximate daily sales of $850,000.

NFL Star Revis Finally Gets Trademark for "Revis Island"

October 21, 2013,

football.jpgCalifornia - Tampa Bay Buccaneer cornerback Darrelle Revis was granted trademark protection over the phrase "Revis Island" last month, according to documents filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Revis originally filed the application for "t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, hats, footwear, sleepwear, swimwear" in January 2010. The application process was long and attenuated, as Revis went back and forth with the USPTO filing four extensions of time to file a Statement of Use before finally being granted protection on September 24th.

The former New York Jets player earned the nickname "Revis Island" during his time in New York, where he became known for his ability to shut out opponents, isolating them and rendering them unable to catch a pass. His one-on-one coverage of some of the best receivers in the NFL has prompted countless comments that they have taken a "trip to Revis Island." This impressive play earned him the Jets franchise record for most career passes defended. He has also been selected to play in the Pro-Bowl four times.

Now that the "Revis Island" trademark has registered, Revis is free to expand upon his success by selling merchandise under the name he worked (and played) hard to create. Indeed, this appears to be just another step in Revis' building of his brand as he already has a Nike shoe named after him, the Zoom Revis, which sells for $130 a pair. While there is no official word on what exactly he plans to sell under the new brand, Revis' broad fan base surely provides a ready market for "Revis Island" apparel and merchandise.

Revis' registration marks one in a long chain of famous athletes and celebrities seeking trademark protection over their coined nicknames and phrases. Among a growing list, the Houston Rockets' Jeremy Lin trademarked "Linsanity," Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte field for protection for his catchphrase "Jeah" and Chad Johnson filed an application for an "Ochocinco" logo. Beyond athletes, celebrity music couple Jay Z and Beyonce recently made headlines by taking things a step further and filing for trademark protection of their daughter's name "Blue Ivy" the same month that she was born.

Kraft Wins Preliminary Injunction in "Cracker Barrel" Trademark Dispute

July 8, 2013,

barrel.jpgCalifornia - A judge in Illinois Federal Court on July 1st granted Kraft Food Group, Inc.'s request to bar Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. from selling its products in grocery stores across the country. Though only a temporary injunction, it is a big win for Kraft as it sets the tone for the case.

The dispute stems from the trademark registrations for "Cracker Barrel", which both companies hold but for different goods and services. Kraft, based in Northfield, Illinois, claims that its first use of "Cracker Barrel" in 1948 for cheese supersedes use by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which did not begin use of the trademark until 1969.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was originally formed as a Southern-themed restaurant and gift shop, with its first restaurant in Lebanon, Tennessee. The company has expanded, opening restaurants nationwide and licensing its name to a Smithfield Foods, Inc. subsidiary to produce a line of meat products for sale in grocery stores. With that expansion, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has broadened the scope of use for its trademark "Cracker Barrel Old Country Store" from its original use in restaurant and gift store services.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store argues that the two trademarks are significantly different and would be used on very different products, so as not to cause confusion. While Kraft's trademark for "Cracker Barrel" is in plain lettering, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store features a stylized logo for "Cracker Barrel Old Country Store" featuring a figure known as "Uncle Herschel" leaning against a barrel.

While Kraft and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store have coexisted for decades, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's expansion into grocery stores pushed Kraft to file a lawsuit in January for trademark infringement. Kraft's objection stems from a belief that a competing Cracker Barrel label in grocery aisles would damage its well-established "Cracker Barrel" trademark for cheese products.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman agreed with Kraft and barred Cracker Barrel Old Country Store from selling any grocery store products bearing the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store logo while the trademark infringement lawsuit is pending. Judge Gettleman also ordered Kraft to pay a $5 million bond, in case the court ultimately decides that Cracker Barrel Old Country Store should not have been kept out of stores.

Redskins QB RGIII Runs into Trademark Trouble

April 25, 2013,

football.jpgCalifornia - Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III burst onto the NFL scene last season as a rookie. With his RGIII nickname gaining popularity he chose to try to protect it by filing an RGIII U.S. trademark application. The application is for "shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, footwear, hats, caps, athletic uniforms".

When the RGIII Trademark Application published for opposition on December 25, 2012, Research Group 3, or "RG3," an Anaheim, California maker of suspension parts for motorcycles filed a request for extension to oppose it. Research Group 3 is considering initiating an action with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to try to bar the QB from using his nickname as a trademark. Research Group 3 feels the public may be confused into thinking that the RGIII trademark is somehow associated with RG3.

Rather than battle it out in court, it appears that the sides are attempting and enter into a consent agreement whereby both parties can use their respective trademarks in a way that avoids confusion. This would involve making a clear delineation between the use of RGIII and RG3. Research Group 3 has stated that it is not trying to profit from QB's fame and wishes him the best on and off the field. What it hopes to accomplish is to avoid consumer confusion in the marketplace.

Research Group 3 claims that it has evidence of actual confusion in that it has received inquires as to whether the Redskin's QB is associated with the company. Research Group 3 has the option of filing a Notice of Opposition which would initiate a proceeding with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The TTAB would then decide the fate of Robert Griffin III's trademark. If it is determined that a likelihood of confusion exists and that Research Group 3 has prior use, the TTAB could decide to prevent the RGIII trademark's registration.

With the increasing fame of the QB and his RGIII nickname, it is understandable that Research Group 3 would want to protect its trademark from any misperception. The company started making off-road motorcycle suspension parts in 1998 and hopes to "bring the art and science of off-road motorcycle suspension to a whole new level."

Research Group 3's popularity grew as it created the technology to aid professional and amateur riders to maneuver motorcycles through challenging terrain. It continues to be endorsed by professional figures in the industry, including Travis Pastrana, Broc Hepler, Rodney Smith, Nick Wey, Brian Deegan and Ronnie Faisst.

Ninth Circuit Reverses Ruling that Jeweler's RED GOLD Trademark is Generic

March 22, 2013,

jewelry.jpgCalifornia - The Ninth Circuit reversed the lower court's ruling that dismissed a lawsuit brought by jewelry designer Solid 21, Inc. alleging that its rival Breitling USA, Inc. infringed it RED GOLD trademark, saying the lower court erred when it ruled that the trademark was generic and therefore not protectable.

The Ninth Circuit reversed U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess' ruling that dismissed Solid 21's lawsuit for failure to state a claim and remanded the case to the California district court, saying that the evidence provided by Solid 21 gave it the presumption that the trademark is not generic.

"Solid 21 has alleged in its complaint and submitted supporting documentation indicating that its "red gold" mark is registered in accordance with the Lanham Act," the appeals panel's opinion read. "Solid 21's federal registration of its trademark constitutes prima facie evidence of the trademark's validity."

Solid 21 asked the Ninth Circuit to revive its lawsuit early this month, claiming that Judge Feess of the Central District of California made a rash decision when he ruled that "red gold" is a generic term for the amber-hued alloy made from gold and copper.

Breitling argued that Solid 21 could not protect a term that describes the metals the product is made out of. It also argued that there is not a rule preventing judges from dismissing a trademark infringement case at the motion to dismiss stage on grounds that the term is generic. It also argued that Judge Feess appropriately considered its dictionary evidence that Solid 21's RED GOLD trademark is merely descriptive of a specific kind of gold that has a reddish hue from being alloyed with copper.

Solid 21 argued that a trademark should not be ruled generic at the motion to dismiss stage because it is a factual inquiry. It said that a motion to dismiss would have to be turned into a motion for summary judgment in order for the judge to dismiss the case based on genericness.

The appeals panel cautioned Breitling that it is hard to overthrow the presumption of validity and that it has the burden to prove the trademark is not protectable.

The lawsuit is one of 15 filed by Solid 21 in January of 2011 in an attempt to protect the RED GOLD trademark against brands including Bulgari, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Rolex and Swatch. The other lawsuits were on hold awaiting the Ninth Circuit's decision on the case against Breitling.

Mary Kay, Michael Kors Battle Over MK Trademark

February 14, 2013,

cosmetics.jpgCalifornia - Mary Kay Inc. filed a lawsuit against the clothing company Michael Kors LLC claiming the company is promoting competing products with the founder's initials, which breaches an agreement the two companies made to manage the use of similar trademarks.

The cosmetics company alleged that Michael Kors filed applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in an attempt to register the trademark MK for use on charms to be affixed to Estee Lauder cosmetic gift bags. Mary Kay claims this is in direct violation of the coexistence agreement the two companies struck, which only allows Mary Kay to use the MK trademark on makeup and other cosmetic goods.

Michael Kors first attempted to register an MK trademark in 2003. Mary Kay already owned a variety of MK trademarks and challenged Michael Kors application with the USPTO, according to the complaint.

In order to coexist in the market without any threat of trademark infringement, the two companies struck a deal in 2005 that resolved their differences and limited use of the MK trademark by Michael Kors. One of the terms prevented Michael Kors from using MK to promote any kind of cosmetic products.

Another term of the agreement prohibited Michael Kors from using the MK trademark unless the company's full name was spelled out near the trademarked initials. Mary Kay claims that Michael Kors asked to modify the agreement in 2011 to allow the company to create a circular charm with the MK trademark.

Even though Mary Kay did not agree to Michael Kors' request to use the trademark without the full name of the company, Michael Kors proceeded to apply for the MK charm trademark. Later Mary Kay learned that Michael Kors planned to use the charms on cosmetic bags that would be sold by Estee Lauder in several retail stores, including Macy's and Nordstrom.

"Because these breaches concern the wrongful use of a valuable trademark that Michael Kors contractually agreed not to use in these ways, the damage to Mary Kay from Michael Kors' breach is irreparable, immeasurable and not solely compensable by monetary damages," the complaint said.

Mary Kay is asking the court to force Michael Kors to honor the agreement it made with Mary Kay and withdraw its applications for the MK charm trademark.

Philly Deli Refuses To Give Up Fight For Cheesesteak Trademark, Sues PTO

October 9, 2012,

cheesesteak.jpgCalifornia - A Philadelphia deli sued U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos on Thursday after failing to convince the PTO or the office's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to let it trademark the phrase "Philadelphia's Cheesesteak."

The deli is seeking a court declaration that the trademark is valid and fully enforceable and an accompanying order requiring Kappos to issue a registration for it on the Principal Register, according to TTABlog, which reported the lawsuit on Monday.
Campo's Deli at Market Inc. is a local Philadelphia mom and pop cheesesteak and hoagie shop run by Mike and Denise Campo and their family, with satellite locations at the Phillies stadium and the Flyers and Sixers arena.

Campo's originally filed its application with the PTO for registration of the trademark "Philadelphia's Cheesesteak" in June 2009. The PTO examining attorney ultimately refused registration, and Campo's appealed to the TTAB in November 2010.
In August the TTAB affirmed the PTO's justifications for refusing the trademark on the grounds of likelihood of confusion with previous marks as well as geographic refusal.
Campo's says it has been using the trademark since at least January 2009, strictly in association with its sale of cheesesteaks in a retail environment for direct and immediate consumption by the purchasing public.

The trademark describes "a sandwich so superlative, it could only be called 'Philadelphia's Cheesesteak,'" according to the complaint. The deli is not trying to improperly control the phrase "Philadelphia Cheesesteak," which is simply a generic term to describe a type of sandwich, it says.

"The difference in the two phrases, of course, is an ('s) which demarcates a particular kind of gloriously gluttonous sandwich provided only by the plaintiff -- not just a Philadelphia Cheesesteak, but 'Philadelphia's Cheesesteak,'" the complaint says.
The trademark is "descriptive of the unique and tremendously delicious goods [Campo's] offers for sale to the famished masses, and is not, by contrast, an indication of the geographic origin of the sandwich, which would otherwise prohibit registration," it says.

The deli needs to register the trademark in order to pursue its franchising aspirations, so that the purchasing public knows that it provides a particular kind of Philadelphia Cheesesteak "of such a tremendous quality, such a gustatory delight and such a propensity for myocardial infarction that it could only be called 'Philadelphia's Cheesesteak' -- the very best example of what is otherwise a very common sandwich," the complaint says.

Campo's could use the trademark at any store in any future location in the country, since it has nothing to do with the sandwich's geographic origin, the deli says.
"No customer at any such prospective location would be under the misconception that the sandwich purchased by the beach from a Campo's store is literally prepared in Philadelphia when, instead, it is prepared on location, at each satellite location, over a steaming hot griddle directly in front of the consumer," the complaint says.

In the TTAB's ruling, the board agreed with the PTO that the trademark is confusingly similar to three registered trademarks including "Philadelphia Cheesesteak Co.," and that the trademark is primarily descriptive.

But the existing trademarks concern the identification of a particular company specializing in prepared foods, namely meat, the complaint says. There is no likelihood of confusion between the requested trademark for a type of sandwich and the three trademarks for a company which produces wholesale sliced meat, it says.

Although the PTO has also refused to register the trademark on the grounds that the use of "Philadelphia's" is too geographically descriptive, the office has previously approved registrations for trademarks including "Philadelphia's Soft Rock Station," "Philadelphia's Big League Sandwich" and "Philadelphia's Home Town Builder," according to Campo's.

Apple Can't Trademark Mobile App Music Icon: TTAB

September 21, 2012,

iPad.jpgCalifornia - Apple Inc. on Wednesday failed in its efforts to persuade the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to allow it to trademark the square, orange music player app icon familiar to iPhone and iPad users.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal board ruled that Apple's proposed trademark for the icon is too similar to a trademark already registered to the now-shuttered MP3 download service iLike, which also features a double musical note inside an orange square.
Apple sought to register its icon in relation to computer software used to play recorded audio content, sold as a feature of mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone.

The trademark examining attorney refused registration to Apple on the grounds that the proposed trademark is likely to cause confusion with iLike's registered trademark. iLike's trademark is registered in relation to providing temporary use of software for adding music and video profiles on the internet, listening to MP3s and sharing MP3s and music playlists with others.

The appropriate test is not whether the trademarks can be distinguished when subjected to a side-by-side comparison, but whether they are sufficiently similar in terms of their overall commercial impression so that confusion as to the source of the goods and services offered under the respective trademarks is likely to result, the TTAB said.
Though the trademarks are not identical, they both comprise a double musical note in an four-sided orange box, the TTAB noted.

"The basic similarities in the marks outweigh any specific differences that might be apparent upon a side-by-side comparison," the board said. "The differences in the details of the respective depictions of the double musical notes and their background designs do not suffice to distinguish the marks in terms of their overall commercial impressions."

Apple's software and iLike's services, meanwhile, perform similar functions in relation to controlling digital music, according to the board.
Apple argued that consumers looking for MP3 software are careful to distinguish between competing services since, among other reasons, many such services require the entry of personal information.

"One need only look around at any public gathering, or even just walking down the street, and you will notice many people with their handheld devices," the TTAB said. "While this group of people may include discriminating consumers, it also includes those who are not very careful."

Hot Dog Purveyor Loses Out In Sinatra Estate's Trademark Challenge

September 13, 2012,

franks-anatra.jpgCalifornia -- The estate of Frank Sinatra on Wednesday shut down a hot dog truck owner's attempt to trademark the phrase "Franks Anatra" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as the PTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board sustained the estate's challenge and rejected the trademark application.

Frank Sinatra Enterprises LLC alleged Bill Loizon's application for the Franks Anatra trademark would create a likelihood of confusion with its own previously registered trademarks for Frank Sinatra's name, falsely suggest a connection with Sinatra and dilute the estate's trademarks.

The estate owns registered trademarks for Sinatra's name in connection with entertainment services including musical performances rendered by a singer, as well as in connection with prepared sauces.

Federal Circuit law dictates that when a trademark attains dictionary recognition as part of the language, it can be taken to be reasonably famous, the TTAB said. Sinatra has his own entries in reference works including the Random House Dictionary of the English Language and the Encyclopedia Britannica, it noted.

Loizon's desired trademark is a close approximation of the name Frank Sinatra, and is also phonetically equivalent, which reinforces the visual similarity, the board ruled.
Loizon argued that Franks Anatra was not a close enough approximation because the "Franks" portion refers to frankfurters, hot dogs and other similar food items, and "Anatra" means "duck" or "drake" in Italian.

The TTAB disagreed, saying there is nothing inherent in the trademark or Loizon's marketing to lead consumers to translate the word Anatra to duck.
"Furthermore, we do not understand how applicant's mark engenders the commercial impression relating to anything other than a play on the Frank Sinatra name," the board said.

Loizon testified, "The name of my business is Franks Anatra. Franks as in frankfurter, Anatra as in People's Republic of Anatra," "an independent island nation" that is "all about the hot dogs," according to the board. Loizon told the board he has placed the badge of his country on the door of his truck.

"They see our badge of our country, our symbol on the door that says People's Republic of Anatra," Loizon testified. "And it's a colorful logo that I created, and it's on the hood with some Latin underneath it. It looks very official, and it sells a lot of people. They believe it. They walk away saying, 'Wow, Anatra, I've never heard of the place.'"
Loizon also admitted, though, that his island nation imagery is not self-evident and that he has to explain it to customers, the TTAB said.

"Suffice it to say, we find applicant's explanation for choosing the mark Franks Anatra to be obscure and find it unlikely that consumers will understand it," the board said.

Jersey Shore's "Situation" Battles With MTV For Catchphrase TMs

August 23, 2012,

mtv logo.jpgCalifornia - Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino of MTV's hit reality series "Jersey Shore" is embroiled in a feud with MTV parent Viacom over the trademark rights to his popular catchphrases from the show.

The catchphrases include "GTL," an acronym for "gym, tanning and laundry," and "twinning," a reference to seducing a pair of twins. The phrases are Viacom's property by authority of Sorrentino's "Jersey Shore" participation agreement, Viacom argued in an opposition lodged last week with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in response to Sorrentino's trademark application.

Sorrentino is attempting to trademark "twinning" in reference to men's and women's apparel, including T- shirts, tank tops, long sleeve t-shirts, sweat shirts, baseball hats, wool hats, shorts, panties, underwear and footwear, according to Viacom's opposition.

But Sorrentino is not and was not, at the time of the filing of its application for that registration, the rightful owner of the claimed mark, Viacom claims. The company already owns trademarks for the phrase "twinning" and "GTL," it says.

Sorrentino's participation agreement for the show, moreover, explicitly says he does not have the right to feature quotes from the show on t-shirts, according to Viacom. By signing the participant agreement, Sorrentino and all the other cast members disclaimed all rights to intellectual property created in relation to "Jersey Shore," including all trademark rights, Viacom's opposition says.

Viacom's attorneys did not respond to emails seeking comment.

During an August 2011 episode of Jersey Shore, Sorrentino became romantically interested in a woman and her twin sister. When one of the show's interviewers asked him, "Is it a twin for the win right now?", Sorrentino responded, "Winning. Twinning. Now, that's a good one. Oh, man, that's a good one, yeah. That's, that's good one, twinning. Twinning, that's a good one."

Cast member Paul DelVecchio, known as Pauly D, also said on camera during the episode, "When you get twins it's cool, so you're winning, but you're twinning because you got two twin chicks."

Sorrentino placed himself at the center of another trademark dispute last year when he filed a $4 million infringement suit against Abercrombie & Fitch. A&F allegedly sparked the conflict by offering him $10,000 to stop wearing its clothing on the show, while simultaneously selling its own line of merchandise featuring his catchphrases.

Hulu Withdraws Opposition To Dish Network's Trademark Application With USPTO

July 16, 2012,

tv_remote_control.jpgCalifornia - In a surprising and unexpected move, Hulu recently announced that it has withdrawn its opposition to Dish Network's "TV Everywhere" trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Hulu and Dish Network would not comment on any specific details of the settlement between the two companies. However, in the filings with the USPTO, Hulu reserved "...all of its rights, claims, remedies and defenses with respect to anyone's ability to use and/or register the term 'TV Everywhere'."

Dish Network initially filed a trademark application for "TV Everywhere" in September 2009. However, the application was immediately challenged by top cable operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communication & Cable Vision Systems, DirecTV and Time Warner. Hulu had previously argued that Dish Network should not be granted a trademark registration on a slogan that was considered a standard industry term by most cable companies. Furthermore, the term was a generic reference that was already being used by third parties descriptively in commerce in reference to subscribers of cable, satellite and other television services.

These subscribers could access and watch video content on devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, PCs and gaming consoles, among others. In contrast, Dish Networks claimed that it had been using the term for a number of years to create a commercial impression for the trademark. Consequently, it asserts that the consuming public recognizes the trademark "TV Everywhere" as a source indicator for Dish Network's services. The term is also currently being used to promote Dish Network services for Slingbox products, and Blockbuster @ Home hybrid services.

NBA's Top Draft Pick To Trademark Signature Brows

July 3, 2012,

basketball.jpgCalifornia - Everyone's eyes have been on NBA hopeful Anthony Davis lately for more than his hoop skills. Davis, the number one NBA draft pick, has a 'unibrow' that he refuses to get rid of. In fact, he is so proud of the look that Davis recently filed trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the phrases 'Fear the Brow' and 'Raise the Brow'.

The 19-year-old didn't waste any time to jump on the phrases pertaining to his signature look. Maybe it was a lesson learned from the New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin and the phrase 'Linsanity' that became a frenzy of its own earlier this year. Multiple people filed trademark applications for the phrase 'Linsanity' to make a buck off of the point guard. However, in the end the USPTO determined that Jeremy Lin was entitled to the rights of the trademark.

This is not the first time that someone has been known for his or her facial hair. Frida Kahlo, a painter, is a historical icon that among other things was known for her famous self-portraits that included her unibrow. Also, San Francisco Giants pitcher Brian Wilson became known for not only his pitching talent but also his beard to which the phrase "Fear The Beard" started in 2010. Wilson also filed a U.S. trademark application on December 1, 2010 for the phrase.

Davis, the 6'10" power forward and center said of his facial feature, "I don't want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it. Me and my family decided to trademark it because it's very unique."

The U.S. trademark application number 85,642,988 for 'Raise The Brow' was filed on June 4, 2012 and application number 85,643,417 for 'Fear The Brow' was filed on June 5, 2012. Both applications were filed as 'intent to-use' applications in international classes 3, 16, 21, 25, 35 and 41. These classes include goods and services such as aftershave, shaving preparations, bumper stickers, shoes, and charitable and entertainment services.

In April, Davis led the University of Kentucky to the national championship and was selected by the New Orleans Hornets this year. Davis stated regarding his now famous feature, "It changes none whatsoever when I'm in the NBA - I'm not going to change who I am. It's me."

Baseball Player's Trademark "That's A Clown Question, Bro" Gets Filed With USPTO

June 26, 2012,

beer-bottle-pouring.jpgCalifornia - On June 12, Bryce Harper, a right fielder for the Washington Nationals, uttered the instantly popular "That's A Clown Question, Bro" catchphrase after a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Harper, who happens to be 19 years old and Mormon, was asked after the game if he would enjoy a beer. With a great deal of annoyance, the Nevada native answered, "That's a clown question, Bro!" In all fairness, the reporter was Canadian and the drinking age in his hometown is only 18. However, the viral buzz instantly caught on, the phrase started popping up everywhere and Harper's camp quickly filed for the phrase with the USPTO on June 13th.

The filing states that the phrase is being registered for use with t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts, hats, visors, gloves and shoes. Under Armour, a well-known sports clothing company, is set to begin manufacturing and selling t-shirts bearing the phrase immediately. Additional items will be produced if Harper's management determines that they will sell well. However, given the popularity of Harper and the viral phenomenon, it is likely that the t-shirts and any additional memorabilia bearing the now popular statement will quickly sell out.

Beer was not listed in the trademark application and Denver Beer Company is taking advantage of that fact by beginning sales of a beer named after the phrase. The beer, appropriately named Clown Question Bro Canadian Lager, is set to be on tap in time for the Colorado Rockies series against the Washington Nationals this week and is only being offered in Denver. Priced at five dollars for a 16-ounce draft beer, the brewery claims that the beer will not be offered long term. The Denver base beer company does not anticipate any issues with Harper management regarding the phrase, but they have a back up plan just in case. The beer name will quickly be changed to Clown Question Brau if Harper insists that the beer company stop using the registered phrase.

General Motors Trademarks 'Electra' Again - This Time for an Electric?

June 18, 2012,

automobile-plugin.jpgCalifornia - The world's largest automaker, General Motors, has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for 'Electra'. The application was filed on June 5, 2012 for "motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles, sport utility vehicles, trucks, vans, engines therefor and structural parts thereof." Although General Motors has been through the ups and downs with the U.S. economy, it remains a huge player in the auto industry.

This will be the second time that GM has pursued the trademark 'Electra'. The automobile giant was first granted ownership of the trademark on November 21, 1989. GM used the trademark for "motor vehicles, namely, automobiles, engines therefor, and structural parts thereof", almost identical to its most recent application filed in June of 2012. The trademark registration for 'Electra', number 1,567,028 was cancelled as of May 28,1996 and along with it went the Buick Electra. Although a fond but distant memory, the Buick Electra put in its time as one of Buick's luxury vehicles for thirty years. This Buick model appealed to many due to its various styles that included a convertible, sedan, and a coupe.

It has been 16 years since the original trademark registration for 'Electra' was cancelled and now enthusiasts are eagerly awaiting to see just what will come of GM's trademark application. Since GM filed the application under section 1(b) - intent to use, this requires GM to have "a bona fide intent to use the trademark in connection with the goods or services listed in the application." This requirement is based on Chapter 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 2.

The question at hand is if GM will bring the Buick Electra back from the dead with a new age model or will GM surprise us all by using 'Electra' for a new electric model vehicle. Could it be that GM is using a new and upcoming 'Electra' to go electric? Although GM filed in Class 1(b) it has also been rumored in the auto world that the leading auto company filed the trademark 'Electra' mostly head off other automakers from using the once popular vehicle model name.

End of U.S. Rum Trademark War With Cuba Seems Near

June 8, 2012,

whiskey-in-glasses.jpgCalifornia - The fight between U.S. and Cuba over use of the trademarked Havana Club name in the U.S. appears to be nearing an end. Although it is currently distributed in over 120 countries, Havana Club rum was never distributed in the Unites States, because Cuba refused to allow the brand name to be sold or licensed within the borders of its bitter rival.

The trademark "Havana Club" came up for renewal with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2006, but Cuba has since been unable to renew the trademark. Cuba claims that the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the embargo, has not issued the license allowing Cuba to make the $200 renewal payment. Cuba subsequently sued the U.S. government over the issue and lost. The decision against Cuba was handed down on May 14th, beginning the 30-day countdown for the period in which the USPTO can cancel registration of the trademark. Under the 30-day timeline, the Havana Club trademark could expire and be available for new registration in the U.S. as early as June 13th, 2012.

Bacardi, the well-known distributor of rum, currently bottles a rum product that it calls Havana Club Rum. The limited quantity rum product has been distributed in Florida only, but Bacardi has announced plans to expand its sales into other states. However, Cuba considers the use of its brand name in the United States unauthorized, and accuses the U.S. of underhanded maneuvers. If its trademark is allowed to expire in the United States, Cuba promises retaliation against U.S. trademarks currently protected on the island. However, since most U.S. goods are barred from being sold in Cuba under the 50-year embargo, these threats seem hollow. This is not to say that Cuba's threats are all bark and no bite. Even with the current embargo limitations, owners of many popular trademarked food items could still face costly litigation to win back trademarked rights once the embargo is lifted.

Despite its recent loss and struggles over the use of the Havana Club name in the U.S., Cuba vows to continue fighting for its brand name. Proactive steps have been taken to allow the Havana Club rum formula to be sold under an alternate brand name that has already been registered with the USPTO. The French company who handles distribution has plans to distribute the Havana Club formula under the alternate name Havanista once the U.S. Embargo has been lifted.

Havana Club rum is one of the best selling rums in Cuba, and Cuba is confident the product could do well in the United States as well. Its Havana Club rum formula is exceptionally light and dry, primary because of charcoal filtering and an oak-barrel aging process, which allows for extra sweetness. The Cuban rum company also offers various other rums, ranging in price from a couple of dollars per bottle, to a high-end product that sells for over $1200 dollars a bottle.