trademark

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 105 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

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Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Click the arrow below to listen or click the "Apple" below to subscribe in iTunes.

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In this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news and cases involving copyright, trademark, film, TV, and other entertainment law issues.

These cases and much more on this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Please leave us listener feedback at the iTunes store. Your comments will help other folks find our podcast.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 104 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

Entertainment Law Update Podcast Episode 104 Tamera Bennett Gordon Firemark

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast. This episode is also a wrap up of some of the top cases and topics discussed in 2018.

Click the arrow below to listen or click the "Apple" below to subscribe in iTunes.

In this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news and cases involving copyright, trademark, film, TV, and other entertainment law issues.

These cases and much more on this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Please leave us listener feedback at the iTunes store. Your comments will help other folks find our podcast.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 103 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

Podcast ep 103.jpg

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Click the arrow below to listen or click the "Apple" below to subscribe in iTunes.

In this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news and cases involving copyright, trademark, film, TV, and other entertainment law issues.

These cases and much more on this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Please leave us listener feedback at the iTunes store. Your comments will help other folks find our podcast.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 102 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

Podcast ep 102.jpg

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Click the arrow below to listen or click the "Apple" below to subscribe in iTunes.

In this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news and cases involving copyright, trademark, film, TV, and other entertainment law issues.

These cases and much more on this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Please leave us listener feedback at the iTunes store. Your comments will help other folks find our podcast.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

Entertainment Law Update Podcast - Episode 101 Tamera Bennett and Gordon Firemark

Podcast Ep 101.jpg

Listen to Dallas-area music lawyer Tamera Bennett and Los Angeles film lawyer Gordon Firemark discuss the latest entertainment law issues on the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Click the arrow below to listen or click the "Apple" below to subscribe in iTunes.

In this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast, Tamera and Gordon discuss the latest news and cases involving copyright, trademark, film, TV, and other entertainment law issues.

These cases and much more on this episode of the Entertainment Law Update Podcast.

Please leave us listener feedback at the iTunes store. Your comments will help other folks find our podcast.

This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link I may receive a benefit.

Trademark Basics from the USPTO - Hurdles to Filing a Trademark Application

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How do I protect my brand? It seems like a simple question, but it doesn't always have a simple answer.  One route of protection is through a trademark registration. The U.S. federal trademark application process can be confusing.  Here are a few things the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office believes all applicants need to know before they get started.

The Trademark Application Process is a Legal Proceeding

  • You may file a trademark application without an attorney. But, if you want legal advice you should consider an attorney that practices trademark law.
  • Foreign attorneys and non-attorneys who work for trademark filing companies are not permitted to advise you, help you fill out a form, sign documents for you, or take actions on your application for you.
  • Hiring someone who is not allowed by the USPTO’s rules to represent you can delay your application and jeopardize its validity.
  • You sign a trademark application under "oath." When you sign the application you are saying, "I swear what I state is true."

Your Trademark Application Must Meet Numerous Legal Requirements/Hurdles

  • Is your trademark federally registrable?
  • Can you properly identify your goods or services?
  • Can you identify the proper filing basis for your application?
  • Has your trademark been used in interstate commerce?
  • Who is the actual owner of the trademark?

To help you navigate the trademark process you can search the USPTO website for guidance and read the "Basic Facts About Trademarks" guidebook

More answers to your questions can be found on Texas trademark attorney Tamera Bennett's website here.

My Trademark is Being Used As A Twitter Handle. Now What?

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Patrick Lewis contributed to this post.

What can I do if a Twitter-squatter creates a username using my registered trademark and holds it for ransom?

Twitter’s Trademark Policy

Using a company or business name, logo, or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation may be considered a trademark policy violation.
— Twitter Trademark Policy

If you have a U.S. federally registered trademark, you have options for securing the Twitter handle. Twitter’s policy prohibits third parties from using a third-party federally registered trademark as a username if the third party is using the account in a misleading or confusing way. Be aware that not every handle that is identical or similar to a registered trademark is a violation. There may be “fair use” factors that come into play in the instance of fan usage and parody.  

To file a trademark claim with Twitter you’ll need to be able to answer the following questions:

  • Is someone impersonating my brand
  • Is someone infringing my trademark
  • Contact information for the brand owner
  • Your affiliation/relationship to the brand owner
  • The trademark registration numbers
  • The third-party Twitter handle
  • How the third-party is impersonating or infringing the trademark

Twitter’s Inactive Account Policy

Waiting may pay off in acquiring a Twitter handle. An account is deemed inactive when the user has not logged onto the account in over 6 months. When an account is removed, the username is up for grabs. However, it is difficult to tell if an account is active or inactive since activity is based on logins and not tweets.

Twitter’s Anti-Squatting Policy

If you receive a solicitation to purchase a Twitter handle that is the same or similar to your federally registered trademark, contact Twitter.  Twitter’s anti-squatting policy protects against “Attempts to sell, buy, or solicit other forms of payment in exchange for usernames are also violations and may result in permanent account suspension.”

Twitter evaluates the following factors in a “squatting” claim:

  • the number of accounts created;
  • the creation of accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names;
  • the creation of accounts for the purpose of selling those accounts; and
  • the use of third-party content feeds to update and maintain accounts under the names of those third parties.

Twitter will not release squatted usernames except in cases of trademark infringement. It’s worth noting that Twitter may require proof of an attempt to sell a username in order to enforce its policy.

Practice Pointer

As your company or clients develop new brands, check across the social media platforms to see if the handle/username is available.  This can be performed as part of a trademark knock-out search. If the brand name is clear, then secure the social media handle/usernames.  An ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure – or the hassle of trying to secure the Twitter handle after the fact.

 

 

 

How Can I Protect A Trademark For My T-shirt?

You've just developed a catchy new phrase or word that you want to protect as a trademark. Maybe you went so far to already file a trademark application and received an office action refusing your application. What went wrong?

What Can I Do To Protect The Trademark On My T-Shirt (or other clothing)?

Simply putting a phrase on a t-shirt does not convey to the world that you are using the phrase as a trademark or brand. In fact, if you try to register a phrase as a trademark and the only thing you submit as your evidence of use is a t-shirt with the phrase across the front or back, you will receive an office action denying your trademark application stating your slogan is "merely ornamental" or decorative in nature. 

After the "Slants" Ruling ...

On June 19, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the disparagement clause of the U.S. Trademark Act is facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause. These means that trademarks like the "The Slants" for musical groups and t-shirts, or "Dikes on Bikes" for videos will be able to proceed with registrations. The key is using the phrase or word as a trademark and not as ornamental or decorative. Keep reading for tips on proper use of your trademark on clothing.

Size Matters For Trademarks On Clothing

Typically the smaller and more discrete a mark is used on clothing, the more likely the U.S. Trademark Office will consider the use as a trademark. Wording or design located on the pocket or breast portion of a garment (for example, a small design of an animal) may create the commercial impression of a trademark, whereas a larger depiction of the same wording/design prominently displayed across the front of a garment may be more likely to be seen as a purely decorative or ornamental feature of the goods.

Where Can I Place My Trademark On My Clothing?

The U.S. Trademark Office will be looking for trademarks to be in the neck of shirt or the band of a pair of pants. Also, on hang-tags attached the garment or product packaging.  If you offer your goods for sale on line, then make sure to use the trademark in close relation to the cart for checkout.

Here's a document that provides examples of how to properly place your trademark on clothing.

Why You Can't Trademark The President's Name

why-cant-i-register-a-trademark-with-the-presidents-name #createprotect #trademark

In every election year, we see a flurry of trademark applications filed by individuals that want to profit off a candidate's name. Maybe they are for the candidate, or perhaps against. Either way, filing a trademark application that includes, Trump, Hillary, or Bernie is always a waste of time and money.

Since January 1, 2016 over 100 trademark applications have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark that have some reference to "Donald Trump." The applicants filing the marks are not "the Donald" or any business associated with Trump. Those applications have been or will be denied.

Here's Why You Can't Register A Trademark With The President's Name:

Denied registration for not having permission to use Donald Trump's name or image.

Denied registration for not having permission to use Donald Trump's name or image.

1.  You don't have permission: You need permission to use a person's name in a trademark registration.  You'll get this response in an office action refusing your application: Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual whose written consent to register the mark is not of record.   Trademark Act Section 2(c), 15 U.S.C. §1052(c); TMEP §1206.  Without written consent, you will not be able to secure a trademark registration.

2.  Most likely you are not using the phrase, slogan, or mark as a trademark: If you decided to produce t-shirts, hats or other clothing using the candidate's (or President's) name or likeness, you may get a refusal that your use is merely ornamental. Registration is refused because the applied-for mark as used on the specimen of record is merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant’s clothing and, thus, does not function as a trademark to indicate the source of applicant’s clothing and to identify and distinguish applicant’s clothing from others.  Trademark Act Sections 1, 2, and 45, 15 U.S.C. §§1051-1052, 1127.  With respect to clothing, consumers may recognize small designs or discrete wording as trademarks, rather than as merely ornamental features, when located, for example, on the pocket or breast area of a shirt.  Consumers may not, however, perceive larger designs or slogans as trademarks when such matter is prominently displayed across the front of a t-shirt. 

Trademark Application Review Process is Bi-Partisan:

Don't worry that some trademark applications may be accepted and other's denied just because the trademark examining attorney is Republican or Democrat. The rules are applied equally. Since 2008 over 150 trademark applications have been filed by people not related to President Obama that contain the word Obama. Those applications have all been denied registration.

Denied for not having consent to use Obama's name. This application was filed by POM Wonderful. You would think they wouldn't have any tried.

Denied for not having consent to use Obama's name. This application was filed by POM Wonderful. You would think they wouldn't have any tried.

7 Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract

Media and copyright lawyer Tamera Bennett presented 7 Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract to the students enrolled in the "Author's Job" course presented by Creative Enterprises Studios.

Seven Questions for Authors to Ask Before Signing a Book Contract:

  1. Who owns the copyright in my book?
  2. How do I register a copyright?
  3. What are the options for publishing my book?
  4. What rights will the book publisher want?
  5. What will I get paid?
  6. When will I get paid?
  7. How can I cancel the book contract?

Bonus topics on trademark law and book publishing:

You can view the slide show above.

 

 

Protecting Your Business Trademark - Interview with Texas Trademark Lawyer Tamera Bennett

How Do I Protect My Business Trademark #trademark #intellectualproperty#createprotect Attorney Tamera H. Bennett

Whether you're a big or small business, you need to know how to protect your brand. Texas trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett was interviewed for Insureon to help business owners answer the following questions:

  1. Why do I have to defend my trademark?
  2. How can I protect my business from a trademark lawsuit?
  3. What do I do if my business is accused of trademark infringement?

Click here to read the full article and trademark attorney Tamera Bennett's responses.

Real Trademarks in Virtual Game Worlds - VIRAG

real-trademarks-in-videogames-createprotect.com

Video games have become so realistic sometimes I struggle to tell the difference on a computer or TV screen between what's real and what's virtual. Game developers include familiar trademarks and brands to bring authenticity to the game.

First Amendment v. Trademark

In the United States, creative works are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.  Because of that protection for the whole work, a balancing act must occur between the rights of the trademark owner and the First Amendment rights that arise in the creative work.  Rogers v. Grimaldi, 875 F.2d 994 (2d Cir. 1989).  If the court determines there is a likelihood of consumer confusion, it will then balance the trademark rights against the freedom of expression rights.

The standard test is is the two-prong Rogers test:  1) whether the use of the third-party trademark has artistic relevance; and 2) if so, is it deliberately misleading as to the source or content of the work.  Rogers and the cases adopting its holding have consistently framed the applicable standard in terms of confusion as to the defendant's artistic work as a whole and not solely the alleged use of the defendant’s trademark.

It would probably be helpful to jump over to Tamera's article Is That Fair (Use)? Third Party Trademarks in Film, Print, Video Games and other Media for some basics on the topic of fair use and trademarks and more background on application to video games.

Virag, S.R.L. v. Sony Computer Ent. America LLC

Race cars don’t seem to bring any new twists to the Rogers test. In Virag, S.R.L. v. Sony Computer Ent. America LLC, 3:15-cv-01729 (N.D. Calif. 2015), Virag, a flooring manufacturer, sponsors the Rally of Monza Track in Formula 1 racing. This means their trademark is visual around the track. And, one of their owners, Mirco Virag is a Formula 1 race car driver.  In 2010, Sony released the race car driving simulation game Gran Turismo 5 including a simulation of the Monza Track and the VIRAG trademark on a bridge in the game. The VIRAG mark was also used in Gran Turismo 6.

The court applied the Roger’s test on a Motion to Dismiss holding: 1) Since the game is focused on having a realistic race experience, using the VIRAG mark has some artistic relevance to the video game; and, under prong 2) there was no intentional misleading of consumers as to sponsorship. Gran Turismo 5 and 6 are race car simulation games. Because the VIRAG mark was used on the track and not on a race car, the court found the use was not intentionally misleading to consumers. Compare the holding and discussion in Electronic Arts, Inc. v. Textron, Inc., No. C 12-0018 (N.D. Cal. July 25, 2012).

The result of each video game case is fact-determined. What does that mean? Simply, the facts of the case determine the outcome. There's not a clear yes or no answer as to whether or not it's fair use to use a trademark you don't own in your video game.

Texas trademark lawyer Tamera Bennett will share even more of her thoughts on this topic at the TexasBarCLE Advanced IP Conference on February 18, 2016.