Be Careful What You Argue

When Pat McDonagh started a chain of burger joints in Ireland, he called them SUPERMAC’S after the nickname he earned when he played soccer.

If you want a SUPERMAC’S burger and chips you have to go to Ireland because, so far, McDonald’s has argued that SUPERMAC’S is “confusingly similar” to BIG MAC to keep the chain from expanding.[1]

That might be changing. In April 2017 Supermac’s filed to cancel McDonald’s BIG MAC registration.[2]

McDonald’s submitted a variety of evidence[3] to show that it had been using BIG MAC but the three-judge panel of the Cancellation Division was not impressed[4] and concluded that “the documents [submitted by McDonald’s] do not provide conclusive information that the products marked with [BIG MAC] are offered for actual sale . . ..”[5]

The panel revoked McDonald’s BIG MAC trademark registration[6] and ordered McDonald’s to pay all the costs.[7]

When I read a story like this, I see McDonald’s shooting itself in the foot. Trademark owners need to protect their trademarks, but sometimes trademark owners overreach and find themselves trapped by their own unqualified argument that someone else’s trademark is confusingly similar to theirs.

McDonald’s can’t now argue that BIG MAC isn’t confusingly similar to SUPERMAC’S because McDonald’s is already on record in the opposition it filed saying that it is.

Supermac’s and McDonald’s will probably agree to each allow the other to use and register its trademark. That should have happened in 2014 but McDonald’s needed to have its nose bloodied before it would play nice.

 

Huge shout out to Rebecca M. for sending me an article that led to this post.

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Photo credit: Galway – Rosemary Ave – Supermac’s
© 
2012Joseph Mischyshyn cc-by-sa/2.0 – geograph.org.uk/p/3024899

[1] In March 2014 Supermac’s Holdings Ltd filed an application to register SUPERMAC’S for, among other things, hamburgers and restaurant services. McDonald’s International Property Company, Ltd opposed the application and won the opposition.

[2] McDonald’s was granted a registration for BIG MAC in the European Union in December 1998. In the European Union, a trademark registration can be cancelled if the owner can’t prove use in the five-year period before the cancellation request was filed.

[3] Here’s the description of the evidence that McDonald’s submitted:

  • 3 affidavits, signed by representatives of McDonald’s companies in Germany, France and the United Kingdom. They claimed significant sales figures in relation to ‘Big Mac’ sandwiches for the period between 2011 and 2016 and attach examples of the packaging of the sandwich (boxes), promotional brochures and what appear to be menus, further referred to below:
  • Brochures and printouts of advertising posters, in German, French and English, showing, inter alia, ‘Big Mac’ meat sandwiches; and packaging for sandwiches (boxes); the materials appear to originate from the EUTM proprietor and are dated between 2011 and 2016. The brochures and posters show a sandwich on the menu along with other products, or on its own, and the prices are also provided on some of the materials; other documents appear to be blank menus in which the price can be filled in. The EUTM appears on the submitted material in relation to sandwiches.
  • Printouts from the websites mcdonalds.de, mcdonalds.at, mcdonalds.be, mcdonalds.cz, mcdonalds.dk, mcdonalds.es, mcdonalds.fi, mcdonalds.fr, mcdonalds.hu, mcdonalds.ie, mcdonalds.it, mcdonalds.nl, mcdonalds.pl, mcdonalds.ro, mcdonalds.se, mcdonalds.si, mcdonalds.sk, mcdonalds.co.uk,
    dated between 07/01/2014 and 03/10/2016. They depict a variety of sandwiches, inter alia ‘Big Mac’ sandwiches, some of which state that they are sandwiches made with beef meat.
  • A printout from en.wikipedia.org, providing information on ‘Big Mac’ hamburger, its history, content and nutritional values in different countries.

Decision on Cancellation No. 14 788 C (Revocation), Supermac’s (Holdings) Ltd v. McDonald’s International Property Company, Ltd. (2019), p. 3.

[4] Here’s what the Decision on Cancellation said about each of the types of evidence:

The Affidavits

  • “As far as the probative value of this kind of evidence is concerned, statements drawn up by the interested parties themselves or their employees are generally given less weight than independent evidence. This is because the perceptions of a party involved in a dispute may be more or less affected by its personal interests in the matter.
  • “However, this does not mean that such statements do not have any probative value at all.
  • “The final outcome depends on the overall assessment of the evidence in the particular case. The probative value of such statements depends on whether or not they are supported by other types of evidence (labels, packaging, etc.) or evidence originating from independent sources. In view of the foregoing, the remaining evidence must be assessed in order to see whether or not the content of the affidavits is supported by the other items of evidence.”

Decision at p. 4.

The Websites

  • “Consequently, the presence of the trade mark on websites can show, inter alia, the nature of its use or the fact that products or services bearing the mark have been offered to the public. However, the mere presence of a trade mark on a website is, of itself, insufficient to prove genuine use unless the website also shows the place, time and extent of use or unless this information is otherwise provided.
  • “In particular, the value of the internet extracts in terms of evidence can be strengthened by evidence that the specific website has been visited and, in particular, that orders for the relevant goods and services have been made through the website by a certain number of customers in the relevant period and in the relevant territory. For instance, useful evidence in this regard could be records that are generally kept when operating a business web page, for example, records relating to internet traffic and hits attained at various points in time or, in some cases, the countries from which the web page has been accessed. Neither of these, however, was provided by the EUTM proprietor.
  • “Although some of the printouts of the proprietor’s web pages exhibit sandwiches (the prices are not provided), some of which marked with the EUTM, it could not be concluded whether, or how, a purchase could be made or an order could be placed. Decision on Cancellation No 14 788 C page: 5 7 of Even if the websites provided such an option, there is no information of a single order being placed. Therefore, a connection between the EUTM proprietor’s websites (irrespective of the used country code top-level domains and languages) and the eventual number of items offered (sold) could not be established.”

Decision pp. 4-5.

The Brochures, Advertising, and Menus

“Indeed, although the submitted packaging materials and brochures depict the EUTM, there is no information provided about how these brochures were circulated, who they were offered to, and whether they have led to any potential or actual purchases. Moreover, there is no independent evidence submitted that could show how many of the products for which the packaging was used (if that is the case) were actually offered for sale or sold.”  Decision p. 5.

The Wikipedia Printout

“As far as the printout from en.wikipedia.org is concerned, it is noted that Wikipedia entries cannot be considered as a reliable source of information, as they can be amended by Wikipedia’s users and therefore these could only be considered relevant as far as they are supported by other pieces of independent concrete evidence.”  Decision at p. 5

[5] “Taking into account the submitted evidence as a whole, it is concluded that the documents do not provide conclusive information that the products marked with the EUTM are offered for actual sale, as there is no confirmation of any commercial transactions, either online, or via brick-and-mortar operations. Even if the goods were offered for sale, there is no data about how long the products were offered on the given web page or in other ways, and there is no information of any actual sales taking place or any potential and relevant consumers being engaged, either through an offer, or through a sale. Finally, as far as the relevant services are considered, there is no single piece of evidence that refers to any of the registered services being offered under the EUTM.”  Decision at p. 5

[6] “It follows from the above that the EUTM proprietor has not proven genuine use of the contested EUTM for any of the goods and services for which it is registered. As a result, the application for revocation is wholly successful and the contested EUTM must be revoked in its entirety.”  Decision at p. 6.

[7] Decision at p. 6.

Here’s a link to the decision.

 

Scam Scam Scam Scam

You know scammers are out of control when they start sending trademark scams to trademark attorneys.

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Everything about this notice screams “official”.  It has a UPC code.  It’s from the “Patent and Trademark Bureau.” It says: “Form approved: OMBE 328-0119/”.

Anyone opening this and reading it would assume that she needs to write a check to the Patent & Trademark Bureau for $890.

The fine print says the sender is “not endorsed by the U.S. government” and that this is an “optional offer,” while in the bold print near the top it says:

“Your trademark is about to expire. Renewal date 01-05-2019.”

This trademark registration is NOT due for renewal. In fact, it’s impossible to file a renewal for this registration until the 5th anniversary of the registration date. The actual due date for the renewal is the 6th anniversary of the registration date. That means you can first file the renewal on January 5, 2021 and it isn’t due until January 5, 2022.

Other scam notices I’ve seen actually lie about the registration date just in case you know about the 5-6 year rule.

Someone would be hard-pressed to spend even an hour doing this filing. $890 for one hour’s work is insane. The fee is too high even if I give this scammer the undeserved benefit of the doubt and assume that the quoted fee includes what the Trademark Office will charge.

Please please please don’t be taken in by these scammers.

 

Thanks to Julie W. for sending me the fake notice she received and suggesting this blog post.

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Trade Dress and Design Patents

You’re starting a tea company. To set yourself apart from the competition, your teas come packaged in lightbulb-shaped containers.

How do you make sure that no one else sells tea that way?

You can protect it as trade dress, get a design patent, or do both.

Trade Dress

Selling stuff in special packaging is a type of trade dress, which is a trademark.[1] That makes sense, because the whole point of trade dress is to allow customers to identify the source of a product, which is what a trademark does. You know it’s a:

  • CocaCola® brand soda by the shape of the bottle;
  • Maker’s Mark® brand whiskey by the red wax dripping down the top of the bottle;
  • McDonald’s® brand hamburger by the golden arches on the building.

Design Patent

Usually, intellectual property can be protected in only one way, but you could also get a design patent for your lightbulb-shaped container.  A design patent protects the way an article looks.[2] Some famous products that have patented design elements are:

  • Oakley® sunglasses;
  • a Eames® chair;
  • Beats by Dre® headphones.

Making a Decision

So, should you get a design patent or register the lightbulb-shaped container as a trademark? It depends. Not all trade dress is patentable and not all design patents can be the subject of a trademark. For example, if you’ve been selling tea in the lightbulb-shaped container for a year, you can NOT get a design patent, but you’re in great shape to get a trademark.

Here are some other important differences:

Patent Trademark/Trade dress
Expiration Expires after 15 years. No expiration. It can last forever.
Requirements Has to be “novel”.[3]

Has to be “non-obvious”.[4]

It must not be useful.[5]

Can’t be “confusingly similar” to another trademark.

Can’t be functional.

How do rights come about? Granted by patent office. Start using it to sell goods or services.

 

 

Shout out to Cody B for the suggestion for this post.

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[1] “Trade dress constitutes a ‘symbol’ or ‘device’ within the meaning of §2 of the Trademark Act. Trade dress originally included only the packaging or ‘dressing’ of a product, but in recent years has been expanded to encompass the design of a product. It is usually defined as the ‘total image and overall appearance’ of a product, or the totality of the elements, and ‘may include features such as size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, graphics.’” Trademark Manual of Examination Procedure Section 1202.02 [Citations omitted.]

[2] Manual of Patent Examination Procedure Section 1502 citing 35 U.S.C. Section 171.

[3] It can’t be something that was in a prior patent, or in a printed publication, or in public use or for sale or otherwise available to the public.

[4] It has to be an invention that wasn’t obvious to a designer having “ordinary skill in the art”. So, if it’s packaging, it has to be something that isn’t obvious to someone who is skilled in creating packaging design.

[5] If the packaging shape is useful in protecting the product in some way (for freshness, against breakage, to fit better while shipping or on store shelves, etc,), then you can’t get a design patent. You might be able to get a utility patent, though.

Why Isn’t My Lawyer More Like Amazon®?

It’s boring and barely worth mentioning that we’ve seen a revolution in the way we buy everything from movies to mattresses. It’s equally boring to point out that the changes have increased availability and reduced the cost everything from banking to Brussel sprouts.

And, yet, the business model for the delivery of legal services remains mired in 20th century, even though an update is desperately needed. Better access to less expensive legal services would be a huge boon to:

  • an entrepreneur starting her business on a shoestring;
  • a debtor behind on his payments and getting threatening phone calls;
  • anyone being discriminated against at work.

Legal aid and pro bono legal services don’t begin to scratch the surface of the need for more accessibility to legal services at lower prices.

Existing online services aren’t really filling the need.

Companies like LegalZoom® have streamlined the mechanical aspects of some business law services, but even in that narrow niche of legal services, they don’t deliver what people really need. For example, LegalZoom will file a certificate of incorporation with the Delaware secretary of state in order to form a Delaware corporation but they can’t:

  • Tell you whether you should be forming a limited liability instead of a corporation;
  • Tell you whether you should form your entity in your home state because the benefits of a Delaware entity aren’t worth the cost given your circumstances;
  • Tell you whether there are other steps you have to take to achieve your goal of limiting your personal liability.

The obvious answer is for LegalZoom to bump up its level of service but it can’t. That would mean it was “practicing law,” which it’s NOT allowed to do. State law allows only lawyers to deliver legal advice and counsel. LegalZoom will hook you up with a lawyer, but that’s just a fancier path to the traditional means of delivering legal services.

Lawyers are not well suited to disrupt the industry.

“Okay,” I hear you say, “if companies like LegalZoom can’t do it, surely the lawyers will see the opportunity and jump on it.”  Don’t hold your breath.

  • Lawyers are invested in the status quo. They think it’s working pretty well for them. (They’re wrong.)
  • Lawyers focus on day-to-day billable hours. They rarely look up from the dashboard to see the horizon rushing toward them.
  • The level of risk entrepreneurs deal with every single day is well beyond the risk profile of most lawyers. Future lawyers arrive at law school with a mild aversion to risk. They then spend three years reading cases where everything went wrong in the worst possible way. That’s followed by years hearing from clients only when something bad happened. A client has never called me to tell me that the custom software they contracted for was finished on time, on budget, and with all the functionality promised. Being a lawyer means being paid to sit in a chair and be paranoid.
  • Investors and normal disrupters can’t participate. Lawyers can deliver legal services through professional entities (PC; PLLC; PLP; etc.) but no one is allowed to own an interest in those entities except the lawyers who are actually practicing law through the entity. That means no outside investors. The lawyers would have to put their own money on the line to build the tools, which brings us back to that risk-aversion thing.

How bad is it?

Before I left the firm where I had practiced for almost 20 years, I was put in charge of working with a website developer to redo the firm’s website. The website was and would remain an electronic brochure. It had no functionality. Clients could NOT use the website to access their files, pay their bills, or even make an appointment. It was a series of pages with pretty pictures and copy. The firm had fewer than 20 lawyers.

It took a year. One entire year to create a small online brochure.

I don’t have specific data that shows my experience is typical, but I’ve certainly not spoken to a lawyer who says that my experience isn’t the norm.

The tools built by lawyers are unlikely to be user-friendly.

I first had the idea for online delivery of trademark registration legal service while I was at my old firm. I never even suggested it. If a simple electronic brochure took a year, building a functional website that delivers legal services would have taken a decade.

Beyond that, the resulting site would have been unusable because it would have been covered with warnings and disclaimers. Don’t believe me? Here’s the first page of the electronic filing system of the U.S. Trademark Office.

Picture1

There are 1,631 words on this page, only 30 of which are functional.[1] The other 1,601 words are warnings, instructions caveats, and CYAs.

If I had tried to build Beeline while at my old firm, this is what every page of my website would look like.

Removing the barriers to entry is unlikely.

The obvious answer is to remove the barriers to entry.

Look at the trouble Tesla® is having removing or amending statutes that protect car dealerships. Deregulating the delivery of legal services will be harder because legislators are often lawyers, who are very disinclined to deregulate their own profession.

If you still think deregulation is the answer, I know this awesome bridge across the East River that might interest you.

Apart from removing barriers to entry to the legal profession, is there a path to delivering robust legal services with the seamlessness of Seamless®?

What will work?

Changing the way that legal services are delivered would bring all the benefits to that industry as have been achieved by other industries: Lower cost, faster delivery, greater accessibility, and fairer administration of justice.

It would also benefit lawyers. Lawyers are essentially brain whores: We sell off access to our brains in quarter hour increments. Unfortunately, only one client can use our brains at a time and we have only so many brain-hours to sell.

When I built Beeline, I turned my twenty years of experience into an online expert system The result is that multiple people can use my brain at the same time. That means lower prices for clients and higher incomes for lawyers.

What’s required is for just one lawyer in each area of expertise to decide to make it happen:

  • One lawyer with deep and broad expertise in an area of law: Knowing from experience what questions people ask; knowing how to balance competing client needs in order to choose from different available solutions; knowing what confuses people the most and how to explain and guide a client past the difficult bits.
  • One lawyer willing to take input and advice from others on non-legal aspects of the website: design, flow, usability, etc.
  • One lawyer willing to risk her own capital to build the tool and launch and grow the practice.

I took me four months of 11-hour workdays to create the documentation for the Beeline website. It took over 1,000 person-hours to code the documentation. It continues to take many hours of marketing and promotion to build the business.

I’m not really that different from other lawyers. I was just privileged enough to be in a position to make it happen in one small corner of the legal world. I encourage others in my profession to take the plunge.

 

[1] These are the functional words:

Trademark Electronic Application System

Please select one of the filing options below.

TEAS Reduced Fee

TEAS Regular

Is an attorney filing this application?

Yes

No

Use previously-saved data.

Choose file

Cisco Sysco

Sysco Corporation has been using SYSCO since the early 1970s.

Cisco Technology, Inc. started using CISCO in the 1990s.

CISCO sounds exactly like SYSCO.

Why is that OK?

For long-time readers, you know the answer has to do with those darn du Pont factors.  Here are the two du Pont factors that are considered the most important:

  • The similarity or dissimilarity of appearance, sound, and connotation of the marks.
  • The relatedness of the goods or services.

The first of the two key factors is a problem for Cisco Technology, Inc. The marks are identical in sound. It’s kinda interesting that the words look quite different but the complete identity of the sound is what’s going to control here. I can’t start a band and call it GHOTI* without running afoul of the band PHISH.

It’s the second bullet that gets Cisco Technology off the hook. It’s hard to imagine two more different areas of endeavor:

Distributing food products to restaurants and other foodservice companies.                       vs.Developing, manufacturing and selling networking hardware and telecommunications equipment

I find it very hard to imagine a restaurant owner called Cisco Technology to order eggplant for her moussaka. I find it equally hard to imagine her calling Sysco to buy a new router.

And that’s why it’s OK.

 

 

 

Shout out to Julie W. for the suggestion that led to this post.

Photo by Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

*GHOTI = FISH if you pronounce GH as in “rough”; O as in “women”; and TI as in “friction.”

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No One Said It Would Be Fun

Carla Ulbrich is an extremely talented singer-songwriter. In her song “If I Had the Copyright,” she speculates about how rich she would be were she to own the copyright on the word “fuck.”

How will I ever educate the world about intellectual property when a self-described professional smart aleck disseminates false information?

“What false information is conveyed in Ms. Ulbrich’s song?” I hear you ask.

Well, first, one cannot get a copyright for a single word. So there’s that. And if you have a copyright on a work titled “Fuck” that would not result in a royalty payment each time the word is spoken.

For example, Lady Crush owns the copyright on the song “Fuck” and no one is paying her a royalty when they articulate their feelings about the number 7 train.[1]

“Perhaps the song should have been titled ‘If I Had the Trademark’,” I hear you suggest hoping to shut me up.

‘Fraid not. Aside from completely destroying the song’s meter, having trademark rights in the word FUCK still wouldn’t result in royalty income sufficient to allow one to “retire on Brooklyn alone.”

There are currently five live applications to register the word “fuck” as a trademark.[2] If and when one of those becomes a registration, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay the owner a royalty for dropping the F bomb. It just means you can’t use it as a brand to sell goods or services that are similar to the goods and services in the registrations.

Truth is rarely as entertaining as Ms. Ulbrich. Such is life.

 

 

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[1] Title 17 USC §106: “Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending; (4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly; (5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and (6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.”

[2] As of October 16, 2018, there are applications to register FUCK for: alcoholic beverages; clothing; snow globes; and toys.

What Do I Do Now?

You just found out you have to change the brand you use for your business. Maybe you got a cease and desist letter telling you that you’re infringing on someone else’s trademark rights. Maybe your lawyer pointed out that your brand is generic or “merely descriptive” and that you’ll never be able to stop other people from using the same words to sell their stuff.

What now?

Step 1 – Coming Up With Your New Trademark

Rebranding is time-consuming and expensive, so you want to be certain to get it right this time. Learn what mistakes to avoid and what makes a safe, strong trademark.

Beeline®_fullcolor_h BIGGER copy.pngThe most successful entrepreneurs know what they do well and don’t do well and hire someone for stuff they don’t do well. When I started my business, I hired Axio Design to come up with BEELINE and my Happy Bee logo.

Remember not to get attached to anything until you know it’s good to go. You’re probably going to need more than one idea before you find something that’s available.

Step 2 – Transitioning To Your New Brand

There are different approaches to transitioning from your current brand to a new one. You can use do it all at once, like ripping off a Band-Aid® or, if you have the luxury to change gradually, you can transition from the old to the new, in a way that preserves the value you built into the old brand.

Either way, you should make the change an opportunity to create a splash and reconnect with your customers and market. Lemonade from lemons.

 

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SCOTUS and FUCT

Should Erik Brunetti be allowed to register FUCT for clothing?

If you seem to remember that question already being answered, you’re right, but it’s still going to be argued at the United States Supreme Court [SCOTUS] this morning. Here’s the really short version of the history of this issue.

I predicted that Mr. Brunetti’s application would move forward as a result of the Court of Appeals ruling.

I did not foresee that the Trademark Office would appeal the Court of Appeals ruling to SCOTUS. Why in the world would you appeal a ruling made on the basis of a just-made precedential finding?

Because there are new justices on the Supreme Court.

I guess we’ll see if the changes to the justices will result in a change to the ruling.

 

 

 

Hold My Beer

“I’m going to sell tube tops meant to be worn with a bra. I’m going to use the trademark  SEE MY STRAPS to sell the tube tops,” says a fictional entrepreneur.

“I think that’s a great idea,” says UNTUCKIT, a company that makes shirts meant to be worn untucked.

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“When you drop by my store in Soho, my window will show the tube tops worn without a bra, even though the whole point is to have people actually, you know, SEE MY STRAPS,” says the fictional entrepreneur.

“Bold decision,” says UNTUCKIT, “Our window display features our shirt tucked in.”

IMG_2003.jpg

 

“I’m also going to pretend it doesn’t bother me when other clothing stores dress their mannequins in tube tops with bra straps showing and a sign that says ‘Don’t be shy! Let people see your straps,'” our fictional entrepreneur boasts.

“We aren’t at all upset about this J. Crew window,” says UNTUCKIT.

“Once SEE MY STRAPS gets going, I’m going to branch out into men’s T-shirts, shorts, slacks and shoes even though SHOW MY STRAPS seems like an odd trademark for those items,” gushes the fictional entrepreneur.

“I’m sure everyone will assume you’re being ironic” says UNTUCKIT.[1]

“And then I’m going to enter the children’s clothing market. SHOW MY STRAPS isn’t really the best trademark for that. I think I’ll go with PEE MY CRAPS.”

“Hold my beer,” says UNTUCKIT.[2]

Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 2.40.40 PM.png

 

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[1] In addition to shirts, Untuckit, LLC also has applications or registrations for UNTUCKIT for sweaters, shorts, pants, shoes, belts, and hats, sunglasses and bracelets.

[2] Untuckit, LLC has filed two applications to register FUNTUCKIT for various clothing for boys and girls.

 

WTF P&G?

Procter and Gamble Company[1] has applied to register some interesting trademarks:

  • FOMO
  • TL;DR
  • NSFW
  • FTW
  • FML
  • WTF
  • LOL
  • NBD

Does that mean people can’t use those acronyms anymore?

Common sense tells you it doesn’t mean that.

First, trademark applications and registrations are for particular goods and/or services: Beeline® is a registered trademark for legal services. The P&G applications cover things like soaps, detergents, air fresheners, and fabric softeners.

If P&G has a trademark registration for WTF for detergents it means only that you wouldn’t be allowed to use WTF as a trademark to sell detergent and similar products:

  • You can still say WTF;
  • You can still use WTF in advertising and on packaging for dissimilar products;
  • You can still write an email to your friend saying “WTF is wrong with you? You know I use only Woolite® to wash my sweaters. You ruined my twin set.”

It’s also worth noting that P&G hasn’t received these registrations yet. So far, P&G has only applied. The applications are all based on “intent-to-use.” That means that P&G still has to use each of the acronyms in connection with the goods before they can complete the registrations.  In other words, the existence of the applications means only that P&G was willing to pay to create placeholders because it intends to use each of the acronyms to sell stuff. Sometimes, companies don’t follow through on their intentions.

So, DWAI. IMHO P&G’s applications are NP and worrying about this is a CWOT.

 

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[1] As of August 2018, Procter and Gamble Company owns 1,498 live trademark registrations. Amusingly there are also some live registrations where “Procter” is misspelled as “Proctor.” Not sure what to make of that.