State of Tennessee Concedes Defeat Over Logo Flap

Last week, I reported on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection of the federal trademark application for the State of Tennessee’s boring new logo. Essentially, the USPTO found that the logo was too weak to have any trademark significance. And the State of Tennessee apparently agrees. This week, the state responded to the rejection by amending the application to the Supplemental Register. What the heck is the Supplemental Register? It’s the 70-pound weakling to the Principal Register when it comes to federal trademark protection. So what’s next for the state? It can meekly accept its supplemental registration and let […]

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A Rolling Stone Gathers No Trademarks, But Consenting Stones Do: Part Two

Last week, we discussed how a consent agreement allowed The Rolling Stones and Rolling Stone magazine to trademark their respective names. This week, we look at when and why it makes sense to enter into such a consent agreement. As the Rolling Stones famously put it, “You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find you get the trademarks you need.” Or something like that. You may recall from our prior post that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office initially rejected certain trademark applications filed on behalf of The Rolling Stones based on prior registrations related to Rolling Stone magazine. The […]

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A Rolling Stone Gathers No Trademarks, But Consenting Stones Do

Consent agreements are a practical way for two parties with similar or identical trademarks to overcome a rejection for likelihood of confusion. Let’s learn by way of example. The Rolling Stones are playing in our hometown tonight. At least one member of the Trust Tree team will be in the crowd. The concert got me thinking about the relationship between Rolling Stone magazine and The Rolling Stones. The Rolling Stones were formed in 1962. Rolling Stone was founded in 1967. Both own multiple trademarks related to their names. Here is what Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner had to say about the name in […]

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Lego People are Trademarks Too

Everything is awesome at Lego today. The General Court of the European Union has upheld Lego’s trademark on the design of the little people that come with their brick sets. The trademark was being challenged by Lego competitor Best-Lock (the real news here is that there are Lego competitors). The court found that the holes in the feet and legs of the figures did not have a technical function and were therefore proper subject matter for a trademark. Trade dress (for instance, the design of a package or a Lego person) can also be a trademark here in ‘Merica. Just like in Europe, […]

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The Role FIFA’s Trademarks Played in FIFA President’s Resignation

The big bucks brands spend to use FIFA’s trademarks likely impacted Sepp Blatter’s decision to resign. A week ago today (on May 27), United States prosecutors issued an indictment accusing nine FIFA officials and five other executives of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges relating to more than $150 million in bribes. Simultaneously, Swiss authorities announced an investigation into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Most big soccer fans will tell you, FIFA had it coming. Despite the ongoing corruption scandal, on Friday, the much maligned President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, was re-elected to a […]

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The Tony Awards Remind You to File for Trademark Protection Today

The Tony Awards provide a great reminder that now is the perfect time to protect your trademarks. As the resident theatre nerd at Trust Tree, I love this time of year. Tony time. I also love any excuse to write about two of my favorites things in one post: trademarks and musicals. You may not have realized that the Tony Awards are right around the corner (on June 7). The Tonys AKA The American Theatre Wing’s Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre started in 1947. The full name just rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? The American Theatre Wing’s […]

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Outlaw Trademark Issues

Last week, I wrote about how despite their less-than-savory reputations, outlaw motorcycle clubs are excellent role models when it comes to trademark strategy. It’s not surprising that trademarks are critical to these groups. The central purpose of belonging to an outlaw motorcycle club is the affiliation with the group as a whole. The trademarks of these clubs (called “colors”) signify this affiliation. Members of these clubs wear vests, called “cuts” that include the club’s colors as well as indicators of rank and geographic affiliation. If a member of a motorcycle club were not allowed to identify himself as such, he […]

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Etsy Bitsy Trademark Problem

Etsy faces fraud lawsuit from investors over possible trademark issues. In April, proving the doubters wrong, my girlfriend agreed to marry me. Please pray for her. A few days later, she sent me this picture: It appears that a new right of passage for every bride-to-be is to receive/order a shirt where the word fiancé(e) is written like Beyoncé.  And you thought this would be the legacy of the “Single Ladies” video: In any event, earlier this year, Beyoncé threatened to sue Etsy, Inc., owner of the popular online marketplace, over certain “Feyoncé” products being sold in Etsy shops on […]

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Motorcycle Gangs Hate Each Other, but Love Trademarks

The recent tiff between rival outlaw motorcycle clubs in and outside a Waco, Texas restaurant has brought biker culture to the forefront of the news cycle. Although it’s clear that these “one percenter” clubs may strongly disagree on control of territories, criminal activities, and codes of conduct, there is one thing nearly all the outlaw clubs agree on: the importance of trademark protection. As odd as it may seem, branding and the visual representation of a brand are critically important concepts in the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs. In fact, the names and insignia emblazoned on the patches of the […]

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