Archive for May, 2012

What is an ornamental trademark? (video)

Posted by ipelton on: May 30th, 2012

 What does it mean if a trademark is “ornamental”? Can ornamental trademark refusals be avoided?

To learn more about the meaning of an ‘ornamental trademark’ – along with information about how they are used and how they are registered, see our new video below:

For additional videos from Erik M Pelton & Associates about trademarks, see our YouTube® channel.


Saluting Our Veterans: Interesting Memorial Day Trademarks

Posted by ipelton on: May 28th, 2012

[Re-posted, with edits, from 5/30/2012]

Memorial Day is our country’s annual tribute to fallen heroes who have died while serving in our military. In good times and bad, in war and in peace, we are indebted to all of those who have served our country.

Where I live, in Falls Church, Virginia, the city will once again be hosting its annual Memorial Day parade. We are just a few miles from Arlington National Cemetery and downtown D.C., and all weekend we see and hear many motorcycles here for Rolling Thunder – we love to visit the bridges over Route 66 on Sunday to see and hear the bikes rumbling towards the Pentagon parking lot to gather for their parade into Washington.

Here are a few Memorial Day themed trademarks (click on trademark or image for USPTO record):

  • NATIONAL VETERANS MEMORIAL – Promoting public awareness of the need for reconciliation and recognition of all veterans
  • NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY PARADE – Entertainment services, namely, arranging and organizing a parade on Memorial Day in Washington, DC
  • VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS – indicating membership in an association of officers and enlisted men and honorably discharged officers and enlisted men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States of America who have served in foreign wars of the United States of America
  • – (pending application) Promoting public awareness of Vietnam, the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, other wars and military engagements, military service, and issues that impact veterans; and other goods and services
  • ROLLING THUNDERAssociation Services, namely, promoting the interests of Vietnam veterans
  • – posters; t-shirts, sweatshirts, polo shirts, cap

Have a safe Memorial Day!

I recently noticed that Apple filed to “intent to use” trademark applications for sound marks in April (perhaps surprisingly, Apple does not own any sound mark trademark registrations yet):

Serial No. 85609317 :  The mark is a sounds. The mark consists of a rapid two-tone repetition of the note C#

Serial No. 85609305 The mark is a sound. The mark consists of a rapid two-tone repetition of the note G#.

Since the applications were filed based upon an “intent to use” the sounds, there is no sound file or evidence of use on record with the USPTO yet. What could these sounds be? I believe that at least one of them is the sound made when the “Siri” function is launched.

My hunch was confirmed according to this post on Patently Apple, which notes that the Siri sound is a repetition of of the C# note.  Another blog then mis-reported using the same information (the USPTO trademark filing) that Apple had filed to patent the sound.

Sound marks are quite powerful because the brain processes them differently than words. I predict that in the future many brands will incorporate sounds into their branding.

Note that Apple on the same day also filed a “motion” mark application to register the Siri app icon:

Serial No. 85609301 : The mark is a motion mark, which consists of an illuminated white-and-purple arc traveling clockwise within a black line near the circumference of a silver and black disc containing a stylized microphone design defined by black lines and featuring a lower-half illuminated by white and purple lighting elements.

Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC (“EMP&A”), an experienced boutique trademark law firm in Falls Church, Virginia is proud to announce a new pro bono initiative in connection with the upcoming 2012 National Veteran Small Business Conference, in Detroit, Michigan, where EMP&A founder Erik Pelton will speak about “Trademark Basics for Small Businesses.”

Through this pro bono initiative, EMP&A will donate its time and U.S. trademark application services to as many as 25 veteran-owned small businesses during the months of May and June 2012.[1]

National Veteran Small Business Conference and Expo

According to Mr. Pelton, the goal of the pro bono initiative will help veterans who have transferred their skills from the battlefield to the business world leverage the value of their intellectual property. “Through their service and sacrifice, veterans have proven that they have the leadership and drive necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs,” said Mr. Pelton. “Strong brand protection is critical for small businesses, yet it is often difficult to commit sufficient time and resources toward investments in trademark registration and other intellectual property protections. Our goal is to help veteran entrepreneurs protect their trademarks, so they can stay focused on growing successful businesses.”

Veteran-owned businesses that wish to take part in this pro bono program should complete and submit the form below[2]:

Veteran-Owned Small Business Pro Bono Trademark Initiative from Erik M. Pelton & Associates

[1] Participating businesses will be responsible for any government filing fees.

[1] All decisions regarding participation shall be at the sole discretion of EMP&A. No attorney-client relationship shall exist prior to the signing of a retainer agreement.

Tips from the USPTO: An INTA ‘table topic’ summary

Posted by ipelton on: May 22nd, 2012

Two weeks ago I attended a roundtable “table topic” at the INTA conference featuring two staff attorneys from the USPTO.  The session was full of valuable information:

– 92% of USPTO Examining Attorney work from home part or full time

– Examining Attorney’s live in 28 states and Washington, DC

– New trademark application filings through 3/31/2012 are up almost 7% over the same period in FY2011

– 75% of all applications are handled entirely electronically without any exchange of paper between the applicant and the USPTO

– Up to 10 related applications (filed by the same application over a short time frame) can be assigned automatically to the same Examining Attorney

– Examining Attorneys will all have video conferencing capabilities on their new computer systems, the roll out of which should be completed in the next few weeks

– Full time Examining Attorneys are required to perform their work between the hours of 5:30am and 10pm EST, and can work their 80 hours per pay period any way they want within those times

– Approximately 20-25% of applications are filed by “pro se” applicants without an attorney

– The 2012 National Trademark Expo will be held October 19th and 20th at the USPTO’s headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia

– The USPTO has begun exploring the development of mobile / smart phone applications