The fast food company McDonald’s was recently accused of of being a trademark bully in a complaint filed with the European Union Intellectual Property Office by the founder and CEO of the Supermac fast food chain. The company claims that McDonald’s is bullying its competition by trademarking every word containing either “Mc” or “Mac”. While this case involves a decision by a European court, trademark bullying is also a significant problem in the United States. Each year, there are a number of cases in the news involving “trademark bullying”. While some individuals view this type of behavior as merely adequate enforcement of an individual’s trademark rights, other individuals feel that this type of behavior goes beyond the reasonable bounds of trademark protection.
One of the most common ways our law firm helps individuals is by correcting trademark filing errors. If not properly remedied, some of these errors have the potential to create problems for the mark holder. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has particularly complex laws regarding how trademarks should be filed. Due to these complicated laws, statistics for the first quarter of 2017 reveal that not every trademark is properly filed. In order to ensure that a trademark is properly filed, individuals who are interested in filing a trademark should consider retaining the assistance of a skilled attorney like the legal counsel at Whitcomb.
Due to a growing need for medical care, the healthcare industry is one of the most rapidly expanding areas of business in the United States. As old companies try to maintain a secure healthcare trademark in the industry, newer healthcare companies are able to create a point of identification for consumers. If you are interested in protected a trademark in the healthcare industry, there are some recommended steps that you should follow.
Unique Problems for a Healthcare Trademark
One of the most significant problems in selecting a trademark in the healthcare industry is the level of distinctiveness in trademarks. One of the lowest categories of marks are descriptive trademarks, which are sometimes but not always granted in trademark filings. These marks provide information to the consumer about service or products but lack the more fanciful, arbitrary, and suggestive nature of trademark filings that are often granted as marks. Hospitals and other types of companies in the healthcare industry are often named with geographic designations, the names of famous individuals, or in the case of practices even family names. These types of titles are often grouped in the descriptive category. As a result, there is often a risk that these types of marks will not be granted if a trademark filing is made.
Why Can't I use my home town as my brand?
A trademark is part of your branding, a way to identify the source of your product or service. In many ways, the stronger the brand, the stronger the trademark. However, there are situations when common branding rules diverge from the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) rules. One such situation is when the mark reflects the geographic source of the product or service, known as geographic descriptiveness.
What is the difference between Trademark and Trade Dress?
Trade dress constitutes a “symbol” or “device” within the meaning of §2 of the Trademark Act. It encompasses the “total image and overall appearance” of a product, not just the packaging: the totality of the elements, including size, shape, color or color combinations, texture, and graphics. Trade dress can be the design of a product (the product shape or configuration), the packaging in which a product is sold, the color of a product or of the packaging in which a product is sold, or even the flavor of a product.
<em>Authored by <a title="Brandon Selinsky" href="http://whitcomblawpc.mystagingwebsite.com/attorneys/brando-selinsky-trademark-and-copyright/" target="_blank">Brandon Selinsky</a></em>
Brewing Trademark Applications
Brewers and brewery owners, be diligent in your naming. The collaborative solidarity of the brewing community fissured long ago. It’s not gone--there still exists a wonderful collection of craft beer producers who will walk 10 miles uphill both ways in a snowstorm to loan you a sack of grain. Great value exists in fostering and supporting that community. But protect yourselves. You operate a business. Just as you lock your doors at night to protect your brewing assets, so should you do what is necessary to secure your company’s intellectual assets.
Imagine this: a man is on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi taking photos of crested black macaques, when one of the monkeys takes the man’s camera and snaps a couple hundred photos. This isn’t the start of a bad joke or a fictional scenario; rather, it is the humorous start to what has become a widely publicized international copyright issue.