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Posts Tagged: "service marks"

Guideposts for Determining Whether a Mark is Functioning as a Trademark

Under the Lanham Act, a trademark is any combination of words, names, symbols, or devices that are used to identify and distinguish goods or services and to indicate their source. Am. Express Co. v. Goetz, 515 F.3d 156, 159 (2nd Cir. 2008). Therefore, a trademark, in order to be deserving of protection as such, must be used in such a manner that it designates the source of the goods or services (even if that source is unknown). 15 U.S.C. § 1127. (Unless otherwise indicated, references to “trademarks” are intended to encompass “service marks” as well.)

Santa Claus Trademark: A Legal Opinion

Dear Mr. Claus: You recently contacted this office to confirm the availability of your proposed “SANTA CLAUS” trademark for use in your business and, if this mark is non-infringing, to assist you in registering it for U.S. and international use. For these purposes you describe your business as “delivering games and toys to good little boys and girls as gifts for Christmas.”

Trademark a Band Name: What’s in a Rock Band’s Name?

While it is possible to copyright the design of a band logo, the band name itself is not copyrightable (see here and here). Band names are protectable under trademark law, because like brand names they allow us to distinguish one band’s music and identity from another. They are what enable us to distinguish between a “Beatles” record on the one hand, and a “Chipmunks” record on the other… The more unique the name, the greater the degree of trademark protection, but also the more the name will stand out and set the band apart from others, which is generally the goal.

Federal Circuit Affirms Service Mark is Owned by Group, Not by Departing Group Member

In Lyons v. American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine the Federal Circuit affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) cancellation of Sheila Lyons’s registration of the service mark, THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY SPORTS MEDICINE AND REHABILITATION (“the mark”) on the Supplemental Register on the grounds that she does not own the mark… Ownership of a service mark, as between a group and a departing member, depends on the objective intentions and expectations of the parties and on who the public associates with the mark and stands behind the quality of services offered under the mark.

#UNDECIDED: Trademark Protection for Hashtags

Can a hashtag be a protectable trademark? And when does use of another’s trademark in hashtags constitute infringement? Disagreement has arisen among the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”), the courts, and commentators about whether hashtags can be protected at all. A trademark, of course, is a source-identifier – a “word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof” used “to identify and distinguish … goods, including a unique product, from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods.” 15 U.S.C. § 1127(a).

Trademark Skullduggery: Lawsuit Challenges Publication Service

Leason Ellis LLP, an intellectual property law firm located in White Plains, New York, recently filed a complaint against USA Trademark Enterprises, Inc. of Sarasota, Florida. The multi-count Complaint alleges that USA Trademark Enterprises has engaged in false advertising and unfair competition by marketing a catalog of trademark registrations, which offers no value because the published information is freely available in the online records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. David Leason, Managing Partner of Leason Ellis, said “by targeting our clients and us, USA Trademark Enterprises has interfered in our business and cast a shadow over the legitimacy of trademark-related communications. In filing suit, we are out to protect our clients, our business, and the integrity of the trademark process from predatory and deceptive marketing.”