On Wednesday, June 18th, the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board (TTAB), an administrative arm of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), ruled the NFL Washington “Redskins” trademark should be canceled on the grounds that it is disparaging to Native Americans.
If you’re an early bird, tune into The Matt McGill Morning Show onWVON 1690AM “The Talk of Chicago” (wvon.com) Thursday June 19th at 8:05 AM ET/7:05 AM CT to hear me analyze what the cancellation ruling says and, more importantly, what it means. If you’re not in Chicago or able to tune in via the radio, listen live at
About the Matt McGill “The Talk of Chicago” Morning Show
Matt McGill is one the country’s premier morning-drive personalities. As a host on one of the nation’s only Urban Talk radio stations, McGill’s morning show is the only locally produced program which targets affluent African-American adults in what is the largest market in the country. McGill offers substantive conversation mixed with his own brand of observational humor, making him a favorite amongst Chicago’s movers and shakers; business and community leader; as well as politicians.
On February 9th, The Huff Post and other media outlets reported the grand opening of a store in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, “Dumb Starbucks”. The clever prankish parody even caught the attention of Forbes:
‘Although it looks like Starbucks, smells like Starbucks and even acts like Starbucks (the super-friendly baristas asking for your name were hired off Craigslist), the whole thing is an elaborate goof on Starbucks culture. A list of Frequently Asked Questions posted on premises compared the place to Weird Al Yankovic’s homage to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” Dumb Starbucks, you see, is the “Eat It” of $6 coffee drinks.’ Source: Forbes.com
Amazingly, people stood in line for hours for the Dumb Starbucks java, which reportedly was whatever the local grocery store had on hand for the few days Dumb Starbucks remained open. The locals and media alike seemed to get a big kick out of the entire thing. Starbucks execs? Um, not so much. The Dumb Starbucks mastermind, Comedy Central comedian Nathan Fielder from Nathan for You, explained the method to his parodic madness and the Starbucks response to Jimmy Kimmel recently:
The store shutdown for reasons completely unrelated to the trademark vs. parody debate. It seems that Fielder not only caught the attention of the coffee giant, Starbucks, but also the local health department. The Health Department cited code violations for selling coffee without a permit. And there is no word on whether Fielder will attempt to secure the necessary permissions to re-open. But what is sure to re-open and remain so is the debate on whether the First Amendment and parody trumps trademark law. Continue reading “‘Dumb Starbucks’ parody shuts down but debate over trademark law & parody continues”→
On December 6, 2013, Fifty-Six Hope Road Music, Ltd. (“Hope Road”), which controls reggae legend Bob Marley’s estate, filed a federal trademark infringement action against the restaurant company Raising Cane’s USA, LLC (“Raising Cane’s”). Hope Road alleges ownership of the trademark ONE LOVE in connection with a number of goods and services. It further claims that Raising Cane’s unauthorized use of the same mark in connection with restaurant services is a violation of Hope Road’s rights.
There seems to be little doubt that Hope Road began using the ONE LOVE mark before Raising Cane’s, perhaps even in connection with restaurant services. However, the legal difference between common-law trademark rights and rights provided by trademark registrations may prove central to this dispute.”
Facebook Inc. (FB) (FB), owner of the world’s largest social-networking service, lost bid to end a trademark infringement lawsuit over its use of “timeline” and related terms.
Timelines Inc. started a Web site in 2009 that lets users create chronologies tracing historical events such as wars, sporting events and advances in science. It sued Facebook for infringement and unfair competition in September 2011, a week after the social-network announced it was adding a “timeline” feature to its user pages.
Facebook counter-sued, claiming Timelines’ registered marks weren’t sufficiently distinctive to warrant protection and asking for judgments of non-infringement and a cancellation of the registrations.
On January 14, 2013, attorneys for San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed 5 intent-to-use applications to trademark various iterations of the star QB’s name as well as an in-use application for the word mark “KAEPERNICKING”, his bicep-kissing act that has taken on a life of its own during the team’s post-season journey to Superbowl XLVII:
IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely shirts. FIRST USE: 20121231. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20121231
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code
(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
January 14, 2013
Original Filing Basis
(APPLICANT) Kaepernick, Colin INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES P.O. Box 1725 Madison WISCONSIN 537011725
Attorney of Record
Bruce H. Bernstein
Type of Mark
Just What Is a Trademark, You Ask?
A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – the mark – used in commerce to identify and distinguish one product from another. Interestingly, even color (Tiffany blue box), scent (Plumeria) and sound (NBC chimes or MGM lion’s roar) can function as a trademark.
I suffered a partial tear of my plantar fascia and was sidelined for two weeks before I could even get up and around on my own and at least return to my own city and home.
Physical therapy is just around the corner now that the acute pain and most swelling has subsided. Also just around the corner? A new sport!
Just posting a quick “check in” to assure you both my scholarship about intellectual property issues and my end of summer posts about current hot topics are “in progress”. So, my injury is your gain. I was sidelined long enough to enjoy substantial periods of rest AND to find significant pockets of productivity time in between.
Hope you’re enjoying a wonderfully restful and productive summer too. Many thanks for remaining plugged into ProfTonyaEvans.com. Check out some of my most popular posts from my archives: