Category Archives: Trademarks

Posts on trademark law

An Economic Turn for the Better: USPTO Lowers Trademark Fees

The cost of filing and maintaining federal trademark registrations with the USPTO just got lower.  On January 17, 2015, the PTO announced a $50 per class reduction in initial filing fees for trademark applications filed under the “TEAS Plus” program, while simultaneously introducing a new “TEAS Reduced Fee” (a.k.a. TEAS RF) program at the former […]

Killing the Buzz: The “Highs” and Lows of Marijuana-Related Trademarks

This post is the first in a series by Kumar Jayasuriya, attorney and Ober’s multi-talented Legal Research Manager.   May a company register a trademark connected to the use of a controlled substance, such as marijuana? Recently, a federal court said “Yes.”  Started in 1974, the periodical magazine High Times reports on the medical and […]

.bank is here!

On September 25, 2014, the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) granted the application of fTLD Registry Services (FRS) to operate a new Top Level Domain (TLD) exclusively for the banking industry: .bank. When general registration for the new TLD opens next year, banks and other members of the banking community will […]

Appropriation of famous logo is trademark infringement? You be the judge.

Banksy on branding. The elusive street artist is seemingly frustrated with his own commercial success. To him great street artists need to remain criminal to keep their art pure. Most appropriation art could violate commercial law but is not criminal, unless it involves a violation of Copyright law’s DMCA. The image above is not a copyright infringement, but is potentially trademark infringement and dilution of […]

Performance Artist FORCE Launches Spoof with Long Legs

A group of performance artists from Baltimore known as “FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture” took advantage of a much anticipated media event to bring attention to the importance of consensual sex. The VS All Access Victoria’s Secret fashion show is an such an event, gluing billions of eyeballs to its prime time telecast. For FORCE, the […]

Mexico becomes third Latin American country to join the Madrid trademark filing system

In June I posted about Columbia’s accession to the Madrid Protocol and noted that Mexico was taking steps to follow suit. Late last month Mexico’s Secretary of Economy deposited documents completing the country’s accession to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks with the World Intellectual Property Organization, bringing to 89 the total […]

Can a celebrity’s post mortem right of publicity enter the public domain?

Banking on a dead celebrity’s right of publicity being public domain is an extremely dangerous advertising practice. Rights of publicity are a suite of legal rights that have developed from invasion of privacy and trademark law since the early 20th Century. There is a web of state and federal laws that can protect dead celebrities– even celebrities from […]

Turning Lemons into Lemonade: How one Trademark Owner Protected its IP and Avoided being Branded a Troll

That old saying seldom rings more true than it does with the recent cease and desist letter sent out by Jack Daniel’s. It seems that Patrick Wensink, an author, used a cover for his book that was quite similar to the trademarked label of Jack Daniel’s. Rather than send him a scalding and legalistic attack letter, […]

“Don’t be a Clown Bro,” Heavy hitters weigh in on protection of pro athlete catch phrases

Can professional athletes’ get exclusive rights to catch phrases like “DON’T BE A CLOWN BRO,”?  OberIPwatch’s Scott Johnson says that if catch phrase is is associated with the athlete, a catch phrase can become part of the athlete’s persona. Johnson was quoted in Sunday’s Maryland Daily Record article by Matt Owings: “…their persona is a brand,” Johnson said. “I don’t […]

Trademark protection under the Madrid Protocol gains a foothold in South America

Last year I posted about how even small and midsized companies can use the Madrid system to extend protection of their U.S. trademark registrations overseas. To recap, the Madrid System allows trademark owners to file a single application seeking an International Registration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) and then enables registrants to designate […]