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TPAC Meeting Summary – February 2015

Posted by ipelton on: March 2nd, 2015

Last Friday,the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA.  The handouts from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting (while I was not in attendance, associates and intern from the firm were):

This was the first TPAC meeting of Commissioner Mary Boney Dennison since taking her post in January. Three new (or returning for new terms) members were introduced: Jonathan Hudis, Jody Drake, and Tim Lockhart.

Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli (Director, Office of Governmental Affairs)

  • Quite a bit of activity (hearings and proposed bills) recently on capitol hill related to IP issues, particularly patent and copyright issues

USPTO Budge Update – Frank Murphy (Deputy Chief Financial Officer)

  • Reduction of certain trademark fees implemented January 17, 2015; impact has been anticipated
  • FY2016 budget released in February. Includes using some funds from USPTO operating reserves.
  • FY2016 includes plans for to hire 37 net trademark examining attorneys.
  • FY2016 budget includes a decrease in the IT spending for Trademark Next Generation.
  • USPTO is conducting a bienniel review of all its fees, including some proposals to adjust trademark and TTAB fees.

Trademark Operations – Commissioner Dennison

  •  Application filings thus far in FY2015 are up more than 7% over the prior year
  • New trademark application fees and electronic filing option took effect January 17, 2015
  • The TM-5 group is working on some new collaborations
  • USPTO will be hosting their annual meeting in November

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers

  • Two recent round tables were held, one on ESTTA and the other on possible rules changes
  • A proposal for possible rules changes could be issued in the near future

USPTO TPAC Agenda – February 27, 2015

This week, the Cleveland Browns football team made a big deal about announcing new colors and an new team logo.

The change is barely a change. It is really insignificant.  It is a slight modification, at best. And according to ESPN, it was the result of two years of surveys and focus groups! Are you kidding me? How much money and time was spent on it?

First, if your logo is classic and iconic and beloved, you probably shouldn’t change. But if you make a change, it needs to be a serious difference to justify the change and the costs and the potential impact on consumers/fans. If you only change it a bit, why did you need to change it in the first place?

The “change” has been rightly ridiculed. See for example: What if the Cleveland Browns redesigned every NFL team’s logo?

From ClevelandBrowns.com:

Recent Client Trademark Registrations LXXV

Posted by ipelton on: February 24th, 2015

Here is another update of recent client registrations from the public records for readers to see real examples of brands and marks which are being protected [click trademark or logo to open USPTO records in a new window]:

  • DRAGON PRINT – Computer software, namely, software for printing and for managing files and printing devices
  • Mark Image- rubber band for connecting furniture
  • STELLAR STRANDS – Hair care products, namely, hair care preparations, conditioners
  • THE GRAPHENE COUNCIL – Educational services, namely, conducting classes, workshops, seminars and conferences in the fields of science and physics relating to the substance graphene; interactive educational and entertainment services, namely, a web-based virtual educational theme-park featuring the subjects of science and physics relating to the substance graphene; providing on-line non-downloadable scientific publications in the nature of magazines in the fields of science and physics regarding the substance graphene; the foregoing provided via an online website
  • THE PROSPERITY PROFESSOR – Providing a website featuring information in the field of personal growth; consulting in the field of personal growth featuring self improvement, law of attraction, and spirituality
  • MAKING FRIENDS IS OUR BUSINESS! – Mobile restaurant services; food truck services, namely, providing of food and drink via a mobile truck
  • Mark Image-Restaurant and take-out restaurant services at ski resorts and pedestrian-accessible locations
  • Mark Image- Clothing, namely, jeans, skirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps and hats
  • WorldSource – Medical billing; Medical billing outsourcing services; Medical billing support services; Medical claims management services, namely, electronic re-pricing of physician, hospital, and ancillary medical care provider transactions via the global information network; Medical claims management services, namely, receiving, data entering, and re-pricing of transactions that are originated by physicians, hospitals, and ancillary medical care providers; Computer programming and software design; Computer services, namely, computer system administration for others; Computer services, namely, remote management of the information technology (IT) systems of others; Computer software consulting; Computer software design; Computer software development and computer programming development for others; Computer technical support services, namely, 24/7 service desk or help desk services for IT infrastructure, operating systems, database systems, and web applications; Consulting services in the design and implementation of computer-based information systems for businesses; Design, development, installation and maintenance of computer software; IT consulting services; Technical support services, namely, 24/7 monitoring of network systems, servers and web and database applications and notification of related events and alerts
  • FULL OF LIFE –  Online retail store and mail order catalog services featuring massage apparatus, abdominal and back supports, health aids, therapeutic items, gift items, hobby items, and fitness items; all of the foregoing excluding non-prescription nutritional supplements, aromatherapy products, beauty products, and body care products

Reminder: Beware of scams targeting trademark applicants

Posted by ipelton on: February 17th, 2015

Trademark records are publicly available — and easily accessed by computer. Generally, that is a great thing. however, it means that some who wish to take advantage on unsuspecting trademark holders use the data to contact them with offers. Any many of these “offers” look like requirements, and they look like they are from the government. The are many of these different scams, and they change names or addresses from time to time. My posts warning about these scams received comments from around the world from people who have been targeted – and who have been spared thankfully by finding this information on erikpelton.com.

Here is a compendium of my posts and warnings about such scams over the last year or so:

 

 

An appeal of the USPTO’s cancellation of the Redskins trademark registrations is still pending in Virginia. Around the time of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s ruling last year, there were several trademarks filed for other Washington football team names by a variety of other parties. Some of these applications appear to be commentary on the football team and/or the situation with the Redskins name.

In May of 2014, an individual in Maryland filed to register Washington Redspears asserting a bona fide intent to use the name use with “Entertainment services, namely, an ongoing series featuring football games provided through cable television, television broadcast, webcasts, radio broadcasts; Entertainment in the nature of football games.” The application was approved by the USPTO.  And now the Washington Redskins (actually the entity that owns them, Pro-Football, Inc.) and NFL Properties have stepped forward to file a notice of opposition to the registration of Washington Redspears.

Opposition No. 91220582

Perhaps the case will be suspended pending the outcome of the “Redskins” appeal — because it would appear that if the Redskins are stripped of their trademark registration it could affect their claims. Note that I did not say it would ruin their claims. They can still argue they have common law rights in their marks. Would the TTAB acknowledge their common law rights?

This could be another interesting twist in the long saga of the Redskins trademarks.

Trademark image

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