Virgin America’s non-traditional trademark: lighting

Posted by ipelton on: July 23rd, 2014

Virgin America is a great and fun airline (check out the safety video below). One thing that differentiates them from competitors is lighting. Yes, lighting.  Check out these photos I took:

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VIRGIN AIR photo 1


It seems clear to me that Virgin America has a non-traditional trademark featuring the purple lighting. I’m not aware of any other airlines using interesting lighting of any color, are you? When customers see these purple lights, do they associate it with the services of Virginia America? I sure do.

While a trademark application for the lighting has not been filed with the USPTO, Virgin America could potentially assert common law rights to the lighting. Of course, a trademark registration would be extremely beneficial in protecting the mark and if needed to enforce it against any potential infringers.

Related post: Trademark protection for lighting, sounds, texture, scents, motion and other non-traditional trademarks.

Washington DC’s other sports team logo problem: DC United

Posted by ipelton on: July 21st, 2014

The Washington Redskins trademark case has, rightly so, garnered a lot of media and political attention. But another DC team also has a problematic logo in my opinion.

D.C. United is the Washington team in Major League Soccer. Their logo is:

The logo – to me – is rather reminiscent of Nazi Germany.  See below comparison from

Nazi Eagle Totally Looks Like DC United Logo


In fact, the team’s original logo only lasted for just one season before pressure led the team to change it. The original logo was even more fascist looking:

Maybe I’m the only one who thinks the current logo is too similar to Nazi imagery?

As long time readers know, I love non-traditional trademarks.  Goats on a roof, ducks marching, lighting, facial make-up configurations, sounds, shapes, and more. Add to the list of my favorite non-traditional trademarks:

a crowd cheering the following words “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie! Razorbacks!”

The marks has been registered by the University of Arkansas. To my knowledge, it is the first “crowd cheer” registered. It does beg the question of how does the university assert ownership of the trademark? Does the University control use of the trademark? Do they enforce unauthorized users? And did the University originate the cheer, or did some fan?

USPTO record for Registration No. 4558864

The original evidence of use submitted by the university is a video of fans performing the cheer

Will other schools jump on the cheer trademark bandwagon?

Related post:Interesting college football trademarks: mascots, uniforms, end zones, turf color, and a cheer

New ACC logo: Love it Leave it?

Posted by ipelton on: July 15th, 2014

The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) recently unveiled a new logo.

New logo:

New ACC logo

Old logo:

ACC Logo 2013

The new logo is boring. Unimpressive. Not memorable. The opposite of bold. It tells us nothing about what the ACC is or what it does.

Granted, the old logo was nothing special either.  But if you are going to spend the time and energy and money to update the logo, why not make the most of it?

The ACC’s new logo will be plastered on millions of webpages, uniforms, and TV screens in just one season of football or basketball. And it will tell the viewed absolutely nothing about the ACC — except that it is boring.


Related Post: Best and worst college football conference logos


Here are the recent USPTO filing statistics through the first half of 2014:


New trademark application filings at the USPTO:

First half of 2014: 165,934 new applications filed (approximately a 4% increase over the same time period last year)

First half of 2013: 159,812 new applications filed

First half of 2012: 163,219 new applications filed

First half of 2011: 157,235 new applications filed


Last half of 2013: 160, 246 new applications filed


April – June of 2014: 83,963 new applications filed

April – June of 2013: 81,009 new applications filed

April – June of 2012: 82,370 new applications filed

April – June of 2011: 80,310 new applications filed


[Note: All data retrieved via TESS search on on July 8, 2014]