The Traklight Blog

Explore the world of intangible assets and IP with guest blogs, business owner interviews, and more.

Trademark Lawsuit Sees Scouts at Odds

For those who follow the news, the rise in dissent and argument in public discourse is inexorably linked to the growing split between two bodies, once united in a common goal but now more divided than they've ever been. Heated rhetoric flies back and forth between the two parties and their designated representatives, with lines drawn in the sand and allegiances publicly declared. Neutral onlookers and the nation as a whole are left to wonder if there is any way to save the union and the higher ideals it is meant to represent.

Read More

Procter & Gamble File Trademarks for Texting and Social Media Acronyms

Trying to be "cool" is ultimately a futile effort, because that effort in and of itself seemingly makes one "uncool". Doubly so for brands that are trying to chase trends rather than set them. In an attempt to sound like billion-dollar corporations are in fact run by chill 22-year-olds who "get it", you can end up coming across like a satirical meme. Nevertheless, companies try to chase the youth market by sounding like parents trying desperately to stay relevant by using the latest slang that has filtered through to them, perhaps because they haven't bothered to actually talk to any of the young people they're trying to sell to.

Read More

Disney Suffers Setback in Copyright and Trademark Lawsuit

Companies get big by protecting their intellectual property (among other things), but what happens when they become huge? It can be hard to manage a massive international concern as it is, and trying to fend off a multitude of instances of infringement while handling all of the other daily corporate concerns can be like trying to play whack-a-mole while juggling. It's important to protect your brand and send a message to other scofflaws, but can it prove to be a case of exerting more resources than you're losing when weighing the cost of continued legal action?

Read More

Vegas Golden Knights Settle Trademark Dispute With U.S. Army

The Vegas Golden Knights were the darlings of the National Hockey League (NHL) last season, getting all the way to the conference finals round of the playoffs in their first year of existence. The feel-good story of a brand new organization with a team of cast-off players getting almost within reach of the championship reads like something out of a movie, and generated breathless stories and burgeoning fans around the country. But the story nearly hit a bump when the team's trademark filings ran up against opposition from another organization with a claim to the name.

Read More

Romance Novelist Turns Trademark Troll

We may look at the romance novels we see at supermarkets or airport shops as something of a joke, with overwrought titles and lascivious covers. But romance novels are a big business; according to the Romance Writers of America website, romance novels account for over $1 billion in sales and make up 34% of the fiction market. For successful authors, there's a good living to be made in writing romance fiction, or, in the case of one writer, potential money to be made in aggressively pursuing trademark lawsuits.

Read More

PayPal Sues Pandora for Trademark Infringement

In the world of trademarks, it can be tricky to navigate the sea of pre-existing ideas and logos to find something that can be uniquely yours. Some cases of trademark infringement could charitably be put down to a lack of research on the part of those infringing, although they do still bear responsibility for the oversight. But in the case of large, global brands, it's far harder to claim ignorance should your own logo be found to be too similar to theirs. 

Read More

Ohio State Defends Against Trademark Infringement

There is nothing quite like the community that develops around collegiate athletics. It manages to be both universal and provincial, important to so may around you but inconsequential beyond the borders of your schools' influence. And the relatively long history of many universities has allowed for traditions and rituals that come to define both a team and a locale.

Read More

Lucasfilm Looks to Shut Down Lightsaber School

Few cultural properties have both the longevity and influence of Star Wars. You can see the love even beyond the walls of Comic-Con – fans have taken elements from the films and brought them to the real world it what can be seen as either dedication or lunacy. Australia recently had to ask its citizens not to list "Jedi" as their religion in their national census. Countless couples have made Star Wars the theme to their wedding. And while that level of fandom is all that any film franchise can hope to aspire to, the companies behind these tent-pole franchises are vigilant when ti comes to stopping those who they think are trying to profit off the popularity.

Read More

Social Media Offers  Limited Remedies for Trademark Infringement

Registering your trademarks provides creators with a number of different benefits, chief among those being the ability to take legal action against potential infringement.  And given the amount of theft that is seen surrounding trademarked material, that's nothing to be taken lightly. But one unconsidered benefit to having your trademarks on the books with the federal government is the ability to stop your content from spreading around social media without your consent. 

Read More

Olympics Add Trademark Gripes to List of Problems

Most who have been following the buildup to this summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are aware of the growing number of issues facing this year's Games. By various reports, the housing is sub-standard, the water polluted, and the venues possibly not finished being built. Add to that the number of athletes pulling out over concerns about the Zika virus, and one would suspect organizers are struggling to put a positive spin on this year's proceedings, and would welcome as much positive attention as they can get. However, the U.S. Olympic Committee would not share that sort of generosity.

Read More

Expansion Franchise Runs Into Trademark Issues in Las Vegas

There's a lot that goes into starting a business. Aside from obvious considerations as to what you're going to do or make or sell, you have to think about the branding of your business. What are you going to call yourself? What kind of logo will you have? It isn't enough to settle on the first name that you think of, because unless you are absolutely certain as to its originality and uniqueness, there's a good chance you run the risk of infringing upon someone else's already established trademark.

Read More

Citigroup and AT&T Locked in Trademark Battle

The past few month have seen a spate of trademark and copyright filings that some would argue border on the absurd. Several entities have either attempted to trademark or pursued legal action related to trademarks that many would consider to be fairly broad, generic terms or phrases. Perhaps most famously, YouTube personalities tried to trademark the term "react" in relation to their brand of videos. While there are many people sympathetic to those trying to protect their work from theft, it is this type of perceived overreach that can turn support against you and make observers question whether our current system for IP protection works as it should. 

Read More

Twitter Tries to Trademark "Subtweet"

As technology advances, human behavior changes. Where once we were forced to deal with others face-to-face, the internet has allowed us to communicate across great distances. We can talk to relatives who live across the country, or collaborate with colleagues on the other side of the world. But our means of communication can't make us better; they can only reflect what we already are, for better or worse.

Read More

98% of Trademarks in the U.S. Are Never Registered

Today's guest blogger is Bennett Collen of Cognate.

Only an estimated 2% of trademarks are ever registered with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. I’m sure this surprises a lot of people, but it’s not a misprint. A full 98% of trademarks don’t have federal trademark protection, and that’s a conservative estimate; the real number is probably higher.

Read More

Marshawn Lynch Appreciates You Asking About His Trademark Application

For the media, the week leading up to the Super Bowl is a barren wasteland of regurgitated human-interest stories. The 24-hour news cycle, desperate to fill airtime and column space, reports on every bit of tedium that flows forth from the mouths of the athletes and coaches. No average viewer could possibly suspect that the players involved actually WANT to win the Super Bowl or that any of them have overcome obstacles on the way to the big game. Thankfully, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch became the man who launched a thousand #hottakes when he repeatedly answered reporters questions with the same few words. And now, the man known as "Beast Mode" is looking to trademark his now-infamous desire to avoid financial penalty.

Read More

Grand Jeté to Grand Jury | Jordan Trademark Jeopardized

For any athlete looking to achieve global stardom, Michael Jordan stands as the gold standard. In addition to his legacy as the greatest basketball player of all time, he remains a global brand years after his retirement from the game. During his playing career, he starred in television and print ads for countless products, and is widely credited with helping make Nike the world leader in athletic apparel that it is today. And while he has mostly stepped away from his role as a global pitchman to focus his energies on owning the NBA's Charlotte Hornets, the popularity of Nike's Jordan products demonstrates the lasting appeal of his brand. But one recent lawsuit is claiming that his world-famous logo was in fact stolen.

Read More