Archive for December, 2010

Wishing you a Happy New Year

Posted by admin on: December 31st, 2010

2010 was a year of great activity here at the offices of Erik M. Pelton & Associates. Our clients received more than 175 trademark registrations and filed more than 210 new trademark applications. We take immense pride in the fact that over the last ten years the firm has registered more than 1,400 trademarks!

During the course of the past year, I spoke to a variety of audiences about trademarks, branding, and social media. We posted numerous videos to YouTube® and dozens of entries on the IPelton® blog. In May, we launched Apptorney, an iPhone® application providing a variety of trademark and patent resources. We mentored interns from several law schools, attended a variety of meetings and events with USPTO officials, and appeared on behalf of clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on multiple occasions.

Our most gratifying moments, however, came working with clients. We visited clients in several states while attending or speaking at conferences; we welcomed the return of many former clients protecting new brand names and working on new projects; and we were repeatedly honored by those who referred us to their colleagues and friends. Such referrals are the biggest complements we can receive!

We wish each of you continued success in 2011!

Some of the new ways that brands appeared before us in 2010

Posted by admin on: December 28th, 2010

As I noted recently, brands continue to creep into every nook of our lives. A recent article from Mashable chronicling the Top 10 Digital Advertising Innovations of 2010 highlights some of the new ways that ads appear before us:

  • Commercials that spawn viral videos which are entertainment, but serve to promote the originally advertised product
  • Mobile browsing. iPhone browsing is now full of little ads.
  • CAPTCHA Advertising. I have never encountered this but it sounds brilliant. Instead of typing random jargon to prove you are a person to access a page or site, you type something that an advertiser is paying for, e.g. “There’s nothing like a Pepper.”
  • Error message Advertising. Brilliant again! Taking a wasted space or message on the web, and giving it a purpose.

Have you noticed other ways advertisements and brands are creeping into our lives? Where will brands begin to appear in 2011? Let me know in the comments.

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Fun Christmas Trademarks

Posted by admin on: December 25th, 2010

As many celebrate Christmas holiday today, here are a few fun Christmas themed trademark registrations:

  • UNIVERSITY OF SANTA CLAUS – registered for “training people to act as Santa Claus”
  • MR. CHRISTMAS – registered for variety of products include “Christmas decorations”
  • The Official Hometown of Santa Claus – registered for a variety of services including “Travel, excursions, and cruise arrangement; coordinating travel arrangements for individuals and for groups”
  • – registered to Coca-Cola for a variety of products
  • SANI-CLAUS – registered for cosmetic products and liquid soaps
  • XXXMAS – registered for “cosmetics, namely, nail polish”
  • A VERY JEWISH CHRISTMAS – registered for “Entertainment services, namely, live performances by comedians”
  • – registered for “Entertainment services, namely, the production and presentation of theatrical and musical shows and performances”
  • DENNIS LEARY’S MERRY F#%$IN CHRISTMAS – registered for “Entertainment services in the nature of television series, featuring live action, comedy and drama; providing online information in the field of entertainment concerning television programs”
  • DR. SEUSS HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS – registered for a variety of goods
  • CRISP KRINGLE – registered for “Candy”
  • – registered for “Entertainment services in the nature of personal appearances by a costumed character”
  • – registered for “Christmas tree ornaments and decorations; Education services, namely, providing presentations, seminars and lectures in the field of Christmas antiques, traditions, customs and celebrations; entertainment services in the nature of an amusement park attraction, namely, a themed area; guided tours of a museum; museums”

Happy Holidays!

    Top Trademark Trends of 2010

    Posted by admin on: December 22nd, 2010

    [scribd id=45437012 key=key-28hq6t4v3bp4pmwyk573 mode=list]

    Who will comment to USPTO about trademark “bullies”?

    Posted by admin on: December 20th, 2010

    As noted in this blog previously, and on many other blogs including the excellent TTABlog, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as part of a study mandated by Congress, issued a request for comment two months ago about overreaching trademark enforcement efforts and their effects on small businesses . Comments are due January 7, 2011.

    To date, there seems to have been very little discussion about the USPTO request for comments and study, except among trademark law blogs (see below for links). Why? Surely trademark owners, businesses, organizations, and individuals must have opinions? There are more than 1.6 million active registered trademarks in the United States (see USPTO’s Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2010 at p. 139), and there are thousands of trademark disputes contested each year.

    Surely reasonable minds can disagree about the issues in the comment request; but they cannot disagree, rebut positions, or work towards a solution if there is no discussion. Will anyone be willing to open up and state a specific opinion? (I certainly will – watch this space in January.)

    To my knowledge, no organizations that have a stake in the trademark or business communities have spoken up yet to request information, participation, or discussion from their members or communities. For example:

    • Office of the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) – Victoria Espinel was appointed by President Obama to head IPEC a year ago. According to the IPEC website, the Coordinator’s job “is to help protect the ideas and creativity of the American public.” Nothing on the IPEC website or recent IPEC newsletters references the study.
    • US Chamber of Commerce – I have found nothing on their website or in their newsletters noting the study to members, even though they are currently putting a spotlight on lawsuit abuse in other arenas at
    • International Trademark Association (INTA)- I have found nothing on their website or in their newsletters noting the study to members. I have emailed their policy committee requesting information about the association’s position on the comment request, but I have received no response to date. [Disclosure – I am a member of the association.]
    • American Intellectual Property Law Association – I have found nothing on their website or in their newsletters noting the study to members. [Disclosure – I am a member of the association.]
    • Intellectual Property Owners Association – I have found nothing on their website noting the study to members.
    • The lone exception, the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property, made a survey for its members available in the last few days on the issue.  See here.
    • The USPTO website,, features several stories or items rotating on the home page each day. The trademark comment request has spent little or no time appearing on the home page. And on the main trademark page of the USPTO website, the information about the request for comments is toward the bottom of the page (you must scroll down to see it) and it is below information about a roundtable the USPTO hosted on December 3rd, more than two weeks ago.

    Perhaps these organizations are quietly planning to comment, or have indeed discussed the issues with their members but forgot to post it on their websites. I hope and expect that these organizations will make their opinions known. Any public study benefits from a diversity of opinions and a large amount input. I also hope that these organizations engage their members and their constituents in a reasonable discussion, making any comments more interesting and more effective.

    I also expect that the USPTO will publish the comments online so everyone will know who had something to say.

    For further discussion regarding the USPTO study, see these excellent blog posts – and the comments posted on them:

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