San Diego Trademark Attorney® Blog

November 2012 Archives

132 Websites Seized for Selling Counterfeit Goods During Cyber Monday Crackdown

November 27, 2012,

domain-name-http- www.jpgSan Diego - Government officials seized 132 websites yesterday in the third annual Cyber Monday crackdown.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) section of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security began Operation in Our Sites in June of 2010 to target websites that attempt to sell counterfeit and pirated goods to unaware consumers.

"The sale of counterfeit U.S. brands on the Internet steals the creative work of others, costs our economy jobs and revenue and can threaten the health and safety of American consumers," said ICE Director John Morton. "We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when counterfeit goods are trafficked."

The seizures include sites that sell clothing, jewelry, sporting goods, luxury goods such as designer shoes handbags and sunglasses and pirated goods, including DVDs, music and software.

Operation in Our Sites operates year round, but it has made Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, the largest seizure day of the year. ICE was joined in the crackdown this year by Europol and European law enforcement agencies in Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the United Kingdom.

The seizures are made after the government receives verification from owners of trademarks and copyrights that a specific website is selling goods that infringe upon their rights.

Once the government has shut down the infringing site, consumers attempting to visit the site will only see a banner notifying the consumer of the seizure. The banner also provides information on the infringement for the consumer.

Among this year's seizures was a San Diego based company, Staxxs on Deck. On its website at www.23isking.com the company sells counterfeit Nike footwear. According to the affidavit, the website had made $1.5 million in fake goods.

This years crackdown resulted in one arrest and more than $175,000 in PayPal account seizures. Despite this, the government has a hard time prosecuting the operators of most infringing sites since they are generally located overseas, mainly in China.

When the website is seized, owners can file a petition for a return of their domain name. If the owners choose not to file the petition or it is unsuccessful, the domain name is forfeited to the government.

"Tebowing" Moves One Step Closer To Registered Trademark Status With USPTO

November 5, 2012,

football.jpgSan Diego - Tim Tebow's "Tebowing" slogan is now one-step closer to trademark registration. "Tebowing" became a widespread phenomenon when the second year player now with the New York Jets was photographed bowing in prayer in the end zone. His pose, head bowed, down on one knee, with a clenched fist against his forehead quickly became a sports fan favorite.

Not long after the pose became popular, Jared Kleinstein, a Denver-born Broncos fan, started a website, www.tebowing.com, and began using Tebow as a verb. At that time, Tebow approved of the growing phenomenon, even going as far as to say he loved the hype over "Tebowing" on his twitter account. Later that year, Kleinstein filed an application to trademark the slogan "Tebowing" and began to sell items of clothing with the phrase on it.

However, as the Kleinstein application moved forward, XV Enterprises, a marketing and consulting firm owned by Tim Tebow, protested the application. Through his trademark attorney, Tebow argued that consumers would incorrectly think the Kleinstein goods were connected to Tebow or his charity the Tim Tebow Foundation. XV Enterprises hopes to register the trademark on Tebow's behalf for use on such items as clothing, pencil sharpeners, and holiday ornaments.

Because of XV Enterprises' opposition, the trademark office issued a refusal of registration to Kleinstein in February saying the material "includes matter which falsely suggests a connection with Tim Tebow. Accordingly, registration is refused under Trademark Act Section 2(a)." U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records show that there have been a number of applications for Tebow related trademarks in the last year. Most of the applications have already been rejected. After Kleinstein's recent application for "Tebowing" was rejected, Tebow's company immediately filed an application to claim the trademark.

In early October, the trademark "Tebowing" was published for opposition. As such, the trademark will be published and anyone who wants to oppose the registration has 30 days to provide adequate reasoning why the registration should not move forward. If no one opposes the registration, or the opposition is ruled to be unsubstantiated, then Tim Tebow's company will officially own the trademark for "Tebowing".