San Diego Trademark Attorney® Blog

August 2011 Archives

Beatle mania rages on with "Ringo" trademark

August 26, 2011,

beatles.jpgSan Diego, CA - It appears that Ringo Starr has been bitten by the technology bug. After appearing in the video game: "The Beatles: Rock Band", the famous drummer has applied to register the trademark "Ringo" for future use in relation to "computer game software" and "games via the Internet and wireless devices."

On January 23, Starr, who's real name is Richard Starkey, filed the registration papers with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to checking the boxes for "computer game software" and "games via the Internet and wireless devices", Starr also included the class for "use in toys, plush toys, stuffed toys and board games."

Perhaps we are in store for a Ringo-themed video game or app? Whatever Mr. Starkey has up his sleeve isn't yet clear. Nevertheless, when it comes to protecting the trademark he worked so hard to earn, it's clear this drummer doesn't miss a beat.

Facebook Removes Page After Trademark Infringement Complaint

August 19, 2011,

facebook.jpgSan Diego, CA - Facebook has removed a page from its website as a result of a trademark complaint submitted by the Seventh-Day Adventists.

A group calling itself "Adventists for Life" was the culprit. Seventh Day Adventists have trademarked "Adventist" and the church activily polices its trademarks.

The church also sent a cease and desist letter which asked Adventists for Life to abandon the domain name www.adventistsforlife.org. The domain name is currently parked.

An interesting question is whether the ADVENTIST trademark is merely descriptive of the goods and services being offered. In other words, a Catholic church would be hard-pressed to register the trademark CATHOLIC for use in relation to religious services. A trademark that is generic or merely descriptive of the goods or services at issue generally cannot be protected. Perhaps Adventists for Life should have sought legal counsel to respond to the complaint?

Russian Spy Cashing in on Trademark

August 12, 2011,

vodka-russia.jpgSan Diego, CA - Everything Anna Chapman does is calculating, to say the least. To cash in on her growing popularity since her arrest and deportation last year, the Russian spy has registered her name as a trademark, according to Russia's state patent and trademark agency.

The 28-year old femme fatale has been basking in the spotlight since her arrest in July and her extradition back to Russia. She has done everything from posing in sexy lingerie, appearing at a Russian space launch, to performing a sing-along with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Nicknamed Agent "90-60-90" by Russian press because of her apparent measurements, Chapman registered her name as a trademark for eight classes of merchandise, which included vodka, clothing and watches. Thus far, it is unclear how Ms. Chapman plans to use the trademark but what is apparent is that she wants to cover all bases.

Chapman has recently been working to boost her public image. She has appeared at a political youth rally and two weeks ago launched a weekly television show called "Mysteries of the World with Anna Chapman."

GM Lazy on Protecting Trademark?

August 5, 2011,

corvette.jpgSan Diego, CA - In April 2008, Jim M. Sweeney filed for the CORVOLTTE trademark for electric vehicles, namely automobiles. General Motors (GM), owners of the famous CORVETTE trademark since 1952, immediately filed an opposition claiming a likelihood of confusion. On December 10, 2010, a panel of three trademark judges ruled in favor of GM but not without scolding GM for its indolent efforts in defending the trademark.

According to the seven-page decision, GM used a Wikipedia definition for CORVETTE as its main defense in the opposition. The decision went on to say that GM failed to allege that its CORVETTE trademark became famous prior to the filing date of the application of the CORVOLTTE trademark. Apparently, GM provided proof of the CORVETTE trademark registrations showing that it was the current owner of the trademark, but did not bother to include the registration information for the specific trademark class at issue: Automobiles.

GM also didn't bother to provide evidence of past sales and advertising or to defend the extent of the trademark's fame. Instead, it relied solely on excerpts from Corvette America's Sports Car and Corvette Illustrated Encyclopedia in addition to the Wikipedia entry for CORVETTE. Mr. Sweeney admitted that GM is the owner of the CORVETTE trademark and has been using it in relation to automobiles since 1952, but denied that there would be a likelihood of confusion between the two trademarks.

The court went on to further rebuke GM for its lackadaisical defense of its mark by saying:

"There is no evidence of sales, advertising or to the extent of the mark's renown. To the extent that the opposer has relied on the Wikipedia evidence to establish the fame of the CORVETTE mark, an Internet entry is admissible for the limited purpose of demonstrating what has been printed, not for the truth of what has been printed".

Unfortunately for Sweeney, GM's bad defense couldn't save CORVOLLTE.