Trademark Prosecution Luncheon January 2011


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Topics covered in this month’s trademark prosecution presentation include discussions of recent changes to the TEAS system, Patent and Trademark Office alerts, trademark foreign equivalents, scandalous marks, and state sovereign immunity.

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Trademark Prosecution Luncheon January 2011

  1. 1. Prosecution Lunch Trademark January 2011
  2. 2. NEXT MEETING – ONE WEEK Friday, February 4, 2011 <ul><li>Imogen Wiseman </li></ul><ul><li>Cleveland IP - London </li></ul><ul><li>Discussing recent developments in EU trademark practice </li></ul>
  3. 3. New TEAS Signature Procedure <ul><li>Current: if email address for signature is mis-typed, email bounces back to TEAS, requestor is not notified </li></ul><ul><li>NEW: document will go to requestor, and then requestor will FORWARD to signatory, i.e. if assistant completes form, form is returned to assistant and THEN assistant must forward email to attorney/client signatory – assistant will receive any delivery error messages </li></ul><ul><li>Personal message can be added as with any email </li></ul><ul><li>Effective January 22, 2011 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Subscribe to USPTO alerts <ul><li>Visit USPTO Subscription Center ( </li></ul><ul><ul><li>USPTO Press Releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USPTO Director’s Blog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USPTO Monthly Review </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inventor’s Eye (for small inventor community) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Patents Alerts (stories, announcements, tips) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trademark Alerts (same) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Discuss the TMEP In your spare time … <ul><li>On or about January 12, 2011, the USPTO will launch a public collaboration tool at for submitting comments and suggestions related to selected sections and/or chapters of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP). </li></ul>
  6. 6. USPTO TEAS 4.8 Released <ul><li>Major overall to forms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Navigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Various display issues addressed for clarity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fix various inconsistencies which generated questions or confusion </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Foreign Equivalents Searching <ul><li>JVM preliminarily searched for &quot;Twelve Legends&quot; for tequila on CT Corsearch and turned up 5 pending or registered marks for tequila that use the word Leyenda which is Spanish for Legends.  </li></ul><ul><li>Thomson full trademark search coupled with an extended web search and a US Alcohol Label Search DID NOT find the aforementioned 5 marks.  </li></ul><ul><li>Thomson does not search for foreign language equivalents unless specifically requested (more $) </li></ul>
  8. 8. A Word Is Worth 1,000 Pictures? <ul><li>Applicant filed for BUNNY for various handbag and clothing items, Playboy opposed </li></ul><ul><li>the evidence showed that &quot;petitioner, the press and the public refer to the logo as a bunny , rather than as a rabbit or some other moniker.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Because &quot; a picture and a word that describes the picture often have the same effect and must be treated as legal equivalents ,&quot; the Board found the involved marks to be equivalent = likelihood of confusion. </li></ul><ul><li>Playboy Enterprises International, Inc. v. Diane Dickson dba Bunny , Cancellation No. 92047717 (September 21, 2010) [not precedential]. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The 2(d) Citation Watch <ul><li>Notifies you when your client’s registration has been cited in a third party’s pending trademark application </li></ul><ul><li>Offered by Towergate Software </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Report to you if/when mark is published that was previously rejected in view of your mark </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Report when an office action issues citing your mark </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Pricing? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Not a Big F’N Deal <ul><li>Applicant filed for BIG F’N GARAGE – refused as scandalous </li></ul><ul><li>Reversed by TTAB </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the evidence of record showed that that “effin” and “f’n” are used as substitutes for the offensive term. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>these derivative terms are utilized as substitutes precisely because they are less offensive. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the Examining Attorney failed to prove that the terms &quot;EFFIN&quot; and &quot;F'N&quot; are scandalous </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In re Big Effin Garage, LLC , Serial Nos. 77595225 and 77595240 (November 23, 2010) [not precedential]. </li></ul>
  11. 11. 7 th Circuit- Sovereign Immunity For Infringement? <ul><li>Phoenix created software and registered CONDOR TM w/ USPTO in 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Univ. Wisconsin registered CONDOR for software in 2001 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Phoenix petitioned to cancel – won in TTAB </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Wis. appealed to District Ct. and added new evidence– Phoenix counterclaimed for infringement and damages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dist. Ct. dismissed counterclaims due to sovereign immunity and reversed TTAB holding on summary judgment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>7 th Cir. Reverses SJ on likelihood of confusion – factors not applied correctly </li></ul><ul><li>Phoenix requests that counterclaims be reinstated </li></ul><ul><li>Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System v. Phoenix International Software, Inc. , Appeal No. 07-C-665 (7th Cir. December 28, 2010). </li></ul>
  12. 12. 7 th Circuit- Sovereign Immunity For Infringement? <ul><li>11 th Amendment bars actions against states </li></ul><ul><li>Trademark Remedy Clarification Act establishes state liability for trademark violations - false advertising portion declared unconstitutional (1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Patent and Plant Variety Protection Clarification Act establishes state liability for patent infringement – declared unconstitutional (1999) </li></ul><ul><li>7 th Cir. holds TRCA invalid, does not allow TM infringement claims against states , unless state waived immunity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participating in USPTO application is not a waiver </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Appealing to district court is not waiver – involuntary lawsuit </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Prosecution Lunch Trademark January 2011