Puppy with a participation trophy

The Supplemental Register – The Consolation Prize of the Trademark World

The "participation trophy" is supposedly a hallmark of youth sports these days. It's often cited as a reason for our young people getting "soft" in a world where only winning and losing matters. My kids are 12 and 9 and play many sports (sometimes it feels like all of them). I've yet to see a single participation trophy in the real world. Maybe the trophy is just a myth, a useful wedge issue for culture warriors. Anyways, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has its own version of a participation trophy. It's called the "Supplemental Register". It's a consolation prize [...]
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Orioles Trademark Magic (Feel it Happen)

Growing up in Baltimore, the Orioles were my first sports love. I first got hooked in 1983 when they won the World Series … coincidentally, the same year the Colts played their last season in Baltimore (Bob Irsay, curse thy name!). The “worst to first” team in 1989 renewed my love of the franchise, and I spent a substantial amount of my remaining childhood years watching the O’s on Home Team Sports. After graduating high school in 1994, I moved to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt, and my relationship with the team suffered. Those were early Internet days, which made it [...]
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All Day I Dream About Opposition Proceedings

While it looks like there might not be much Ryder Cup drama this year, there has been no lack of golf-related drama in recent years. Much of the drama has related to the fledgling LIV Golf tour, which now finds itself in a new dispute. This time, it is with Adidas, which recently initiated an opposition proceeding before the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking to prevent LIV from registering its logo: In its Notice of Opposition, Adidas argues that it has been using a similar three-striped mark for decades and that if LIV were allowed to register its [...]
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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 the backend and programming language, but the user interface has barely changed since its launch. Here’s what TESS looked like in 2001 when I graduated from law school: Here’s what TESS looks like today: So, like Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, TESS is being replaced by a more modern search tool. [...]
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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 a trolley down to the heart of Music City: Lower Broadway. Like many locals, I stopped frequenting Lower Broadway years ago when it transitioned from a quirky collection of honky tonks into a country music-themed mash-up of Bourbon Street and the Las Vegas strip. So, I was curious to check [...]
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an image of the FANTASY LIFE Trademark Registration

Come for the Trademark Advice. Stay for the Fantasy Football Sleepers.

The week before the NFL season. That special time of year when friends (or frenemies) get together to build fake football teams for bragging rights. One of the keys to fantasy football success is being able to identify “sleepers.” Just don’t sleep on applying for trademark protection if you are in the fantasy sports business. Currently, there are over 600 registered marks that identify “fantasy sports” as part of their goods or services with over 500 more pending applications that do the same. Four of those registered marks (and one pending application) are owned by one of the forefathers of [...]
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Accelerate Your Trademark Protection With The Amazon Brand Registry

In today's digital marketplace, brand owners must safeguard their intellectual property rights. If you sell or plan to sell products on Amazon, enrolling your trademark in the Amazon Brand Registry can be a game-changer. The Amazon Brand Registry helps brand owners protect their trademarks on Amazon. Enrollment gives brand owners access to powerful tools, including proprietary text and image search, and increased authority over product listings with their brand name. The eligibility requirements for enrolling U.S. trademarks in the registry have changed over time. Initially, it was only for owners of registered word marks. Then Amazon loosened the requirements to [...]
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Nashville Soccer Club Logo

Messi has Arrived in MLS, Expect More U.S. Trademark Applications to Follow

On Saturday, Lionel Messi comes to our hometown for a showdown with Nashville SC for the Leagues Cup championship. Tickets to the match are . . . not inexpensive. Not surprisingly, Messi has taken the MLS by storm, scoring in every game since arriving in the league. Messi hasn’t just mastered the beautiful game. He has also implemented a masterful international trademark strategy with over 100 registered marks worldwide. Most of the registrations are for either his name or his M logo: Surprisingly, Messi’s only has one registration in the United States, which is for his M logo for a [...]
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Marketing Masterpieces: How Renaissance Artists Pioneered Modern Marketing

Ciao from Italy! I'm currently on a multi-generational family trip. So what does this have to do with trademarks? Well, during a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, I stumbled upon a fascinating connection between Renaissance artwork and early examples of advertising and marketing. Trademarks in Renaissance Art Italian Renaissance painting was not merely focused on sacred themes. Many paintings were used as creative advertisements for the businesses of art patrons. Let's look at two examples that showcase this unique blend of art and commerce. The Adoration of the Magi by Gentile da Fabriano (1423) Commissioned by wealthy merchant [...]
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Photo of Twitter X sign

X and The Risks of Rebranding

Last week, Randy wrote about some lurking trademark issues that could await Elon Musk as he rebrands Twitter to X. Musk’s decision shines a spotlight on the risks associated with rebranding. Not only can rebranding lead to a potential dispute with another trademark owner, as Randy discussed, but it can also cause a brand to lose a lot of value. Trademarks can be valuable assets, but with the rebrand, $4 to $20 billion in value vanished overnight based on estimates from analysts and brand agencies. Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October. Coincidentally, the company is currently valued at [...]
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