Articles by: Randy Michels

Photo of a puppy with a magnifying glass

Trademark Searching is Dead! Long Live Trademark Searching!

After 23 years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is retiring its trademark electronic search system. Or, in government speak, the USPTO is retiring TESS. Supposedly, the retirement is not voluntary. TESS relies on a backend system and programming language that will no longer be supported. I don’t know about [...]
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Photo of Goo Goo Cluster store in Nashville

What a Cluster of a Trademark

Trivia time! Can you name the first candy bar in the United States to feature a collection of ingredients? Hint: It's made here in Nashville. Give up? It's the Goo Goo Cluster. Recently, a friend celebrated his birthday by planning some "tourist in your own town" activities. This included taking [...]
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Image of an X made of blue birds

Rebranding Spotlight: Transforming Twitter into X

After I heard that Elon Musk would rebrand Twitter as X, I did what many nerdy trademark lawyers did: I checked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database for any recent X trademark filings by Twitter or X Corp. I didn't find any, which is not necessarily unusual. Sometimes multinational [...]
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A real apple next to the Apple logo on a computer

Apple vs. APPLE – The Spectrum of Trademark Distinctiveness

During a recent discussion with a non-lawyer about trademarks, I explained the so-called “spectrum of trademark distinctiveness” and used APPLE as an example of an arbitrary mark. The person responded, “Wait, you can trademark that?”. The question caught me off guard since I assumed everyone knew that APPLE was arguably [...]
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Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Trademark Law

The popularity of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT has exploded in recent months. This has led to some handwringing among trademark lawyers about whether AI is coming for their jobs. Image created with Bing Image Creator So, I asked ChatGPT whether it was coming for me. Here's its answer: As [...]
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Need CLE? Check Out The American Bar Association Webinar, “All Clear? Practical Tips for Trademark Searches and Opinions.”

Today, I am participating in the American Bar Association webinar, “All Clear? Practical Tips for Trademark Searches and Opinions.” The program runs from 1:00 - 2:30 PM ET and will discuss the following topics: How to properly conduct a trademark search How searches are treated during litigation The difference between [...]
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Halloween Trademarks: Star Wars Edition

Halloween is almost here. Have you picked out your costume yet? According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an average of $27.33 on Halloween costumes for the whole family, and a total of $2.5 billion on store-bought, homemade, large and small costumes. It’s estimated that 68 million […]

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