February 2018

I hope that your 2018 is off to a great start. I write this from central Florida, where I am conducting depositions on behalf of a client in a trademark dispute. When traveling, in my journey and meals and spare time, I notice the brands around me even more since I am away from my comfort zone. And it is refr eshing to see creative brands and trademarks  abound as always. For example, this wonderful logo and name for a coffee shop:

Are you launching a new brand in 2018? The best way to protect it is to begin the process early, months before the first sales or public unveiling.

Great example of a nontraditional trademark:
Hampton Inn's sign shape

On a recent business trip, I stayed at a Hampton Inn. I couldn't avoid noticing that the shape of of their sign is a great non-traditional trademark. It is not the normal shape of hotel sign (rectangular), or a common shape like a circle or oval. The shape is used repeatedly and consistently. It is used on logos and throughout the hotel brand package. For example, see the photos I took below of the coffee urn in the lobby and elevator interior, and more.

Hilton International has wisely registered the shape with the USPTO in connection with hotel services. Even when on the weaker Supplemental Register,  these registration provide value and show a commitment to protect the nontraditional trademark.


 Registration No. 3753438


Great brands separate themselves from competitors by finding distinctive marks to make their services or products easily recognizable to consumers, use such marks creatively and extensively, and then apply to register any such nontraditional trademarks with the USPTO.


Trademark Owners Must Stay Vigilant for Scams

This month, I received many questions from client regarding bogus offers they received in the mail. Be careful of any correspondence that might look official or ask for money that is not from your attorney.

For example, see these recent examples from my blog: 

Bruno Mars wins big at Grammy Awards,
and with a large trademark portfolio

Bruno Mars was the big winner at last month's GRAMMY® awards. Mars, like many other top-selling musical acts today, clearly recognizes the value of trademarks in his portfolio. Mars owns several USPTO trademark registrations, and more than two dozen pending applications for marks including, BRUNO MARS, XXIVK MAGIC, and SHAMPOO PRESS & CURL.
Mark Image

The GRAMMY's also have a valuable trademark portfolio of their, with more than 100 registrations owned by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc. Like many other well known award trophies, the Grammy award shape is registered.

Mark Image


For more about trademarks and musicians, see my article in the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law's  LANDSLIDE magazine published in 2016:
  • 'Cause They Never Go Out of Style: Why Musicians Are Registering More Trademarks Than Ever. "[O]btaining trademark registrations in a band name or other marks used by an artist can be useful to protect profits and prevent the dilution of a valuable brand. Further, taking the steps to clearly identify who owns what part of that bundle of rights upon dissolution could prevent long, expensive, and potentially damaging litigation." The article discussed efforts by musicians to protect their brands, as well as frequent trademark pitfalls that they often encounter. The article discusses why trademark registration is valuable when it is available for musicians and other artists.

I was 
quoted or referenced recently in two different online publications regarding the proliferation of scams preying on trademark owners:

If there are any topics or issues you would like to see covered here, let us know!

This publication has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of the firm. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter. Under rules applicable to the professional conduct of attorneys in various jurisdictions, it may be considered advertising material.

© 2018 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.