Loooooong Trademarks

We can all think of trademarks with no words, and with a few words, but can a whole bunch of words be a trademark?

One of the early loooooooong trademarks was a bunch of words mushed together owned by McDonald’s Corporation:

TWOALLBEEFPATTIESSPECIALSAUCELETTUCECHEESEPICKLESONIONSONASESAMESEEDBUN

Lululemon.png

 

Lululemon® filed an application to register this trademark that consists of 532 words and a couple of images. It’s already passed review by the Trademark Office.

 

 

 

 

The owners of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap® took a different approach. They filed an application to register the layout of their label, rather than the words themselves. Their application hasn’t been reviewed by the Trademark Office yet. It’ll be interesting to see how it does.

Dr. Bronner's.pngDr. B real label.png

 

 

 

 

 

Does this mean you should get a trademark registration for all the words on your label?

No. It doesn’t mean that at all.

Each of these examples are long strings of words that are acting as a trademark.

If I showed you the Dr. Bronner’s label, you would probably tell me: “Oh, yeah, it’s that soap. Dr. Bronner’s, right?”

img_9415If you saw someone walking down the street with this bag, you would know it was a shopping bag from Lululemon®.

If I listed the ingredients of a BigMac® in just the right order, you would know I was referring to McDonald’s®.

So, unless your bunchofwordsstrungtogether is how consumers identify your company, you don’t need (and probably can’t get) a trademark registration.

 

 

 

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Trademark Scams

According to this email, Trademark Compliance Office will monitor my trademark for infringing marks and register my trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. All for $385!

Also, I have this bridge, which I can let you have for the very low price of $639.99.

Artashes Darbinyan, the ostensible owner of Trademark Compliance Office, was caught[1] after bilking over 4,000 people for more than $1.6 million. He didn’t actually provide any service.

He just took the money.[2]

Don’t worry though, even though Mr. Darbinyan’s been caught, there are still plenty of scammers out there.

I know because I always use my own email address when I file applications for my clients. That means I get lots and lots of email scams, including quite a few from Mr. Darbinyan.

Not all the scam letters come through email. Some come by snail mail. Here are some examples:

They look legit, don’t they?

So, what’s an applicant to do?

  1. The Trademark Office never ever asks for money in an email. All email from the Trademark Office comes from a uspto.gov address.
  1. The Trademark Office also never asks for money through snail mail. The only thing the Trademark Office sends by mail is your registration.
  1. If you want to have U.S. Customs monitor shipments for knock-offs, you can do that yourself. 
  1. Use common sense. Be skeptical. That’s good advice for life.

 

[1] Mr. Artashes was caught in a joint operation of the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Postal Service, and the IRS, with an assist by the Trademark Office.

[2] “As part of his guilty plea, Darbinyan admitted that he ran a mass-mailing scam through companies called Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TCO).  The scam involved fraudulent offers of a service in which TCC and TCO promised to monitor an applicant’s trademark for infringing marks and to register the trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) . . .. Darbinyan never registered, nor ever intended to register, any of the trademarks with CBP for the customers who paid the fee.” Department of Justice news release.