Posts Tagged ‘USPTO’

More than 10 “flappy” trademarks filed in February!

Posted by ipelton on: February 27th, 2014

As I often note, trademark applications mirror pop culture trends a lot of the time. When “Flappy Bird” created a stir last month, it led to the filing of at least 11 trademark applications for “FLAPPY” names at the USPTO.

Amazingly, it appears that all 11 applications are from 11 different owners.

Click TSDR links below for USPTO records.

Serial Number Word Mark Check Status
86194996 FLAPPY TSDR

Before two weeks ago, there was never a trademark filing in the USPTO records featuring the words POLAR and VORTEX.  In fact, on January 10th, I tweeted:

Now, just 10 days later, there are five pending applications! Several are for clothing items, meaning their may be some ‘priority’ disputes as these applications wind their way through the registration process. Click each mark for USPTO records:

  • POLAR VORTEX – for ‘Clothing; footwear; headwear’
  • POLAR VORTEX – for ‘Beanies; Coats; Gloves; Hats; Hooded sweatshirts; Jackets; Outdoor gloves; Outer jackets; Shirts; Sweat shirts; Sweatshirts; T-shirts’
  • POLAR VORTEX – for ‘fireworks’
  • Polar Vortex – for ‘Athletic apparel, namely, shirts, pants, jackets, footwear, hats and caps, athletic uniforms; Athletic footwear; Athletic footwear for men and women; Footwear; Headgear, namely, hats, caps, watch caps, headwraps’

For more about polar vortexes, see Wikipedia entry here.

specimen of use submitted with application Serial No. 86161970




Top Trademark Trends from 2013

Posted by ipelton on: January 13th, 2014

The world of trademarks in 2013 once again reflected the overall culture and economy of the United States. Trademark application filings increased slightly by just over 1%. The year’s most popular terms made it into many trademark applications, and the biggest news stories of the year were also reflected in the trademark records.

  • BOSTON STRONG. The Boston Marathon bombing in April was a major news story. Regrettably, within days multiple parties had filed to register BOSTON STRONG trademarks. Most of these applications have been refused initially by the USPTO for failing to function as an indicator of the source of goods or services.
  • REDSKINS. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the USPTO heard oral arguments in a case seeking to cancel the registered trademark rights of the Washington Redskins football team. The plaintiffs alleged that the term ‘Redskins’ is disparaging and thus cannot be registered. While the hearing before the Board was held in March, a decision is still forthcoming. The controversy over the ‘Redskins’ name continued throughout the year as players, celebrities, the President, and the NFL Commissioner all provided comments about their position on the name.

  • Top pop culture terms of 2013. The most popular words and phenomena in pop culture made their way into many trademark filings. Such applications included TWERKING, TWERK TEAM, TWERK FOR TROOPS, HASHTAG LABS, HASHTAG LUNCHBAG, HASHTAG CLOTHING, YOLO HOTEL, YOLONOTES, YOLO KIDS, YOLO DONUTS, MUSTACHE SMASH, MUSTACHE PRETZELS, MOUSTACHE BREWING CO.
  • #HASHTAGS. Dozens of trademark applications were filed with the USPTO in 2013 for marks featuring hashtags, including: #DREAMJOB, #RUNTHISTOWN, #WECANDOTHAT, and #TAGMEBRO.
  • Non-traditional marks. Brands in 2013 continued to expand their use and registration of non-traditional trademarks. Sounds, shapes, colors, moving graphics, and other non-traditional trademarks continue to be effective ways for brands to connect with consumers in a world where it is increasingly difficult to stand out among the myriad of advertisements. For example, Facebook applied to register the design of part of its mobile app menu, Lego applied to register the configuration of is yellow head piece, Pepperidge  Farm applied to register the three-dimensional configuration of its Goldfish cracker, and the University of Arkansas applied to register the sound of its “Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie!” cheer.
  • gTLDs. New “dot anything” top level domain names finally began going live late in 2013. To date, their impact on the internet and on brand owners has been less than most feared.
  • Trademark scams continue. Solicitations offering negligible or questionable services continue to get sent by a variety of companies, often with government-looking notices, to US trademark applicants and registrants. At the end of 2013, The U.K. intellectual property office began to crack down on such entities, partnering with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to handle complaints and consider legal sanctions. Perhaps the USPTO will follow suit in 2014?

What to look for in 2014. As the economy continues to grow slowly, it is likely that the number of new trademark applications will continue to rise. Expect even more trademark disputes to go viral via social media.

About Erik M. Pelton: Erik Pelton® has been making trademarks bloom since 1999® as the founder of Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC®, a boutique trademark law firm in Falls Church, Virginia. The firm has registered more than 1,900 U.S. trademarks for clients and has represented dozens of parties in trademark disputes. In 2013, Erik presented on trademark and branding issues to a variety of audiences, including the American Bar Association, Catholic University School of Law, and two high school classes. packed with features — except mobile access

Posted by ipelton on: January 10th, 2014

The USPTO website – – is wonderful in many ways. It has a treasure trove of resources including videos. It features electronic filing for both trademarks and patents, and many searchable electronic databases.

However, it is lacking a mobile interface or any app to search or file via a mobile device. In 2014 this is not acceptable.

Given that:

  • the USPTO is a profitable government agency;
  • the USPTO is especially aimed at entrepreneurs and new technologies;
  • easy filing mean more filings means a more accurate record of protected intellectual property;
  • easy filing mean more filings means the economy’s intellectual property is collectively more protected and more valuable; and
  • the USPTO is generally technologically savvy….

the lack of apps and mobile interface is astonishing for given the USPTO’s role and their other capabilities.  They should be a top priority of USPTO officials in 2014 and for the next Director of the USPTO


In 2012, there were 315, 388 applications for trademark registration filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office according to the TESS online database records. In 2013, that number increased to 319,347 – a gain of just more than one percent. Of course, the slight increase is better than a decline, and is a reflection of a US economy that is growing and businesses are continuing to invest in protecting their intellectual property.

The number of registrations issued in 2013 grew more, by 3.5 percent:

Registrations issued in 2012: 187,527

Registrations issued in 2013: 194,274

[Note - data retrieved from on 01/08/2014]


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