The Traklight Blog

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

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3 Effective Ways to Safeguard Your Ideas

How to safeguard your ideas or inventions is an important concern for many first time inventors or entrepreneurs. A small business, especially one that is looking to grow, has a lot to consider as they move through the winding roads of business success. Often times, small business owners are concerned about whether or not their innovation or IP can be lost.

While the number of ideas that are legitimately stolen is relatively low, it isn’t an unheard of scenario considering IP theft in the US tops $250 billion annually. Each year, hundreds of cases regarding patent, copyright or trademark infringement are heard in US courts. With this in mind, many business owners might wonder what they can do to protect themselves, especially when a small business is in a delicate growth phrase. We’ve collected three easy ways to safeguard a small business’ innovation.

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What Does Intellectual Property Mean for Small Business?

How is intellectual property defined? Intellectual property (IP) pertains to things you create with your mind, not the ideas themselves, but the expression of the ideas in some form. An idea all by itself in your head, is not IP.

If you created something original, you may have a certain degree of protection against someone else using, claiming, modifying, or selling it. There are four common types of IP: copyrights, patents, trademarks (including design rights), and trade secrets. Every once in a while we like to recap these four intellectual property types and distinguish them for our readers. Enjoy!

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A Video Game Trademark Snafu

For many young people, video games were a huge part of their formative years, and continue to be a hobby in their adult lives. While the more curmudgeonly can debate the merits of kids spending hours on video games, it's hard to deny how much fun they can be. What started for most of us as a reddish blob purported to be a plumber has now developed into ever more lifelike games with entire communities surrounding them. Video games are now a huge industry, with studios spending millions developing some of the largest titles. Given the investment, one company's trademark snafu could force them to restart at the last checkpoint.

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Brand Recognition: The Intangible Asset Supporting Your Business

Paramount to the success of any business is its brand, and thus brand recognition. You can have the best product, the brightest employees, and the most upscale offices or stores, but all of that is for naught if no one knows who you are. The most successful companies are able to build their brands to become synonymous with either a service or product so that people know reflexively what they do. But what if a company lost that brand? How readily would we be able to recognize it without the name, logo, or colors we've come to associate with it? Unfortunately for one Romanian football side, they may learn exactly what that experience is like.

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How to Acquire Secondary Meaning for Your Trademark

Trademarks that aren't inherently distinctive, like descriptive trademarks, must have secondary meaning to be protected under US Intellectual Property Laws. Secondary meaning occurs when the particular trademark transcends public awareness such that people, in general, don't associate it with the product category, but with the actual specific company/brand. For example, most people associate Apple with the specific company rather than with computers in general.

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Bat Your Lashes at this DC Comics Trademark Infringement Case

World football is steeped in history, tradition, and culture unlike that of any other sport. Tradition is why West Ham fans are forever blowing bubbles and Liverpool supporters never walk alone. Part of that great tradition is a club's crest, passed down across decades and forever affixed upon the team's shirts amidst ever-changing kit sponsors. And while there are countless great and unique crests across the world, one team's design has landed it in a tussle with the Caped Crusader.

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