In its ongoing quest to preserve the integrity of the register, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) has published new guidelines for the examination of specimens of use.
Recently, you may have heard the news about Tom Brady, a somewhat well-known quarterback in the professional sport of American football. His company, TEB Capital Management, Inc., filed two trademark applications seeking registration of the mark TOM TERRIFIC, one for shirts and one for trading cards, posters, and photographs.
Recently The Ohio State University (yes, that one) suffered a loss before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in a home game against visiting Redbubble, Inc. OSU had sued Redbubble for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and other claims due to Redbubble’s alleged use of certain trademark rights owned by OSU, but lost in cross motions for summary judgment.
By now you are no doubt familiar with the current college admissions scandal. After a few weeks of celebrities and other wealthy folks being embarrassed, being criminally charged, and pleading to those charges, a trademark issue finally surfaced in the popular press.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) has proposed new rules that would require foreign trademark applicants and registrants to engage U.S. attorneys to prosecute applications, handle post-registration matters, and represent them before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Most marks are either trademarks (used in connection with goods) or service marks (used in connection with services). But there are a few other kinds of marks.
The U.S. Supreme Court has granted the U.S. government’s petition for a writ of certiorari in a case challenging provision of the federal trademark statute. In In re Brunetti, 877 F.3d 1330 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found the portion of the Lanham Act that proscribes registration of trademarks comprised of “immoral and scandalous matter” unconstitutional.
At the beginning of this new year, it helps to remind ourselves why we engage in this work, why trademarks matter, and, more particularly, why registration matters. Trademarks symbolize the goodwill of a business; they are the emblems of the brand owner’s reputation. Registrations strengthen and protection those important symbols.