Trademark Search

February 7, 2014, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – In a likely effort to shift attention away from the fact that it has thrown in the towel on a major trademark dispute, Microsoft is rolling out a new campaign surrounding the rebranding of its SkyDrive cloud storage system.  The service will now be called OneDrive and comes at the end of a drawn out struggle over the SkyDrive name.

The issue began back in 2007, when the giant U.S. based tech corporation unveiled SkyDrive, a cloud-based file storage system.  Problems arose, however, when BSkyB, once of the UK’s biggest streaming media companies, filed a lawsuit against Microsoft for infringing on its own SkyDrive device, which it claimed it had been using for years.  After the case was brought up through the European Union, a judge ruled that Microsoft was infringing and that it must cease use of the name.  Though Microsoft initially adamantly touted its plans to appeal, the recent unveiling of the SkyDrive name change tells a different story.

This is not the first time that Microsoft has taken on a branding overhaul.  It famously changed Hotmail to Windows Mail Live to as well.  Even though  the swapping out of “Sky” for “One” may seem like a minor alteration, the change could have lasting effects on Microsoft as a whole, as the cloud storage system currently has over 250 million users.  In an effort to make sure that customers are not turned away from the product due to the name change, Ryan Gavin, the company’s General Manager of Consumer Apps & Services, has issued a letter on Microsoft’s blog.  The note assures that “service will continue to operate as you expect” and that all content will be available on OneDrive with no problems.

Microsoft is cleverly pitching the new name on its website.  One portion states, ” Why OneDrive?  We know that increasingly you will have many devices in your life, but you really want only one place for your most important stuff.  One place for all of your photos and videos. One place for all of your documents.  One place that is seamlessly connected across all the devices you use.  You want OneDrive for everything in your life.”

January 8, 2014, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – The family that rose to fame for maintaining their rough country, traditional lifestyle despite becoming millionaires are now fending off a lawsuit over a recently launched line of wines.  The Robertsons, who star in the hugely popular reality TV show Duck Dynasty, have added appropriately titled “Duck Commander” wines to their wide array of merchandise, which includes apparel, books, toys and even guns.  The wines come in three varietals – a chardonnay, a red blend and a moscato – and are currently sold across the country at Walmart.

Napa Valley-based Duckhorn Wine Company is not pleased about the Robertson’s expansion into the wine market and has sued for trademark infringement, claiming that the Duck Commander wines are too similar to its own Duckhorn-labeled wines.  According to the Duckhorn, “The case for confusion or dilution is compelling and concerning, given that many key U.S. retailers shelve wines alphabetically, meaning that Decoy by Duckhorn, Duck Commander and Duckhorn Vineyards wines could be placed side by side.”

While the Duck Commander wines each sell for under ten dollars at Walmart Stores, Duckhorn wines are priced at around fifty dollars or more and are sold mainly at grocery stores and specialty wine retailers.  Nevertheless, Duckhorn named Walmart in its complaint “to prevent further confusion, dilution and reputational and other harm to Duckhorn.”  According to a statement from the high-end winery, it had reached out several times before commencing the lawsuit in an effort to resolve what it believed to be trademark infringement.   Trinchero Family Estates, which makes Duck Commander wines, responded by claiming that the changes that Duckhorn requested be made to the Duck Commander line were “overreaching and unsupported.”

While records at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) show that Duckhorn filed for trademark protection of “Duckhorn Vineyards” in 1984, “Duck Commander” was not filed in relation to wines until July 2013.  That application, which was filed by the Roberston Family company, Duck Commander, Inc., is still awaiting registration pending the outcome of the Duckhorn lawsuit.

April 5, 2013, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Late last year Apple, Inc. filed a trademark application for IPAD MINI for the new smaller and sleeker version of its famous iPad.  Apple has already owned a registered trademark for IPAD since 2010.

On January 24, 2013, the United States Patent & Trademark Office issued a first Office Action rejecting the IPAD MINI Application, claiming that the trademark was merely descriptive.  The Examining Attorney found the word “mini” descriptive as “something that is distinctively smaller than other members of its type or class.”  The Examiner also rejected the IPAD portion of the trademark as descriptive, stating “…‘IPAD’ is descriptive when applied to applicant’s goods because the prefix ‘I’ denotes ‘internet, and the term “PAD” is descriptive of the goods because it “refers to a ‘pad computer’ or ‘internet pad device’”.

The refusal was somewhat surprising in that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office previously allowed registration of the IPAD trademark.  Beyond the descriptiveness refusal, the specimen of use submitted with the application, a web page from Applicant’s catalog, was also rejected.  The Examining Attorney stated that the specimen “fails to include a picture or a sufficient textual description of the goods in sufficiently close proximity to the necessary ordering information, a web link for ordering the goods, and thus, appears to be mere advertising material.”

However, in a near complete reversal, on April 3, 2013, the Examining Attorney “superseded” the original Office Action and issued a Supplemental Office Action.  In the new Office Action, the Examiner withdraws both the descriptiveness refusal and the refusal of the specimen of use.  Now, with her apologies, she only requires a disclaimer of the term MINI apart from the trademark as shown.

It is unknown whether the Examiner made a second review of her first Office Action, if a supervisor reviewed the Office Action she initially sent to Apple, or if Apple’s counsel spoke to the Examiner requesting clarification of the Office Action.  Regardless, Apple will undoubtedly agree to disclaim the word MINI.

Apart from the descriptiveness and specimen refusals, eight different prior pending applications were cited against the IPAD MINI application on the basis of a likelihood of confusion.  So, unfortunately for Apple, it does not appear that IPAD MINI will be registering any time soon.

January 7, 2013, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Apple is expected to make an offer on the IPHONE trademark in Brazil which is currently owned by IGB Eletrônica SA.  IGB Eletrônica SA released an Android-powered smartphone called the IPHONE Neo One under the company’s Gradiente brand this month.

Gradiente said that it will take all measures available to it to protect its intellectual property rights, as it does not believe the two brands can coexist in the same market.

Gradiente applied for the trademark in 2000, two years after Apple launched the iMac, but six years before Apple announced the launch of the iPhone at Macworld San Francisco.

Gradiente was granted the right to use the trademark on its smartphones in Brazil in 2008.  Brazil’s trademark office said that Gradiente requested the right to the trademark before Apple and therefore it has exclusive rights to the brand until 2018.

Despite being granted the right to use the trademark in 2008, Gradiente did not start using the trademark on smartphones until last week.  The company claims its focus had been on a corporate restructuring process, which it wrapped up earlier this year.

Gradiente said it registered the trademark because it expected “there would be a technological revolution in the world of smartphones with the convergence of voice and data transmission and reception via mobile Internet.”

The company, however, has not kept up with the technological revolution.  The phone’s appearance is similar to Apple’s iPhone, but it runs on the outdated 2.3 version of Android’s operating system.  The phone features a 3.7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and a camera.

Gradiente said it currently does not plan to sell or license the rights to the brand, but it is likely that Gradiente and Apple will come to some agreement that will allow Apple to use the trademark, as Apple will not want to stop selling the iPhone in Brazil.

This is not the first time Apple has had international competition for its trademarks.  Due to a loophole in its contract, Apple was unable to procure rights to the iPad brand in China from Proview Technology before it launched the iPad.  Apple ended up paying Proview $60 million for the trademark.

The trademark in Brazil is not expected to bring that much money in, as the market is significantly smaller in Brazil than it is in China.  However, the company will likely still pay a substantial amount of money for the trademark, thanks to the popularity of the iPhone name.

July 23, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Imagine a world where legions of humans are inflicted with a terrible virus that turns them into flash-eating monsters. Zombie fans were given reason to rejoice when Paramount Pictures filed trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to register the enormously popular World War Z concept for use with video games. Evidently, gamers will be treated to games based on the wildly popular Zombie books by Max Brooks. Brooks’ original novel, The Zombie Survival Guide, was released in 2003 and quickly became a cult classic. The apocalyptic author’s second zombie novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, was released to critical acclaim in 2006 with movie rights quickly purchased in 2007.

The World War Z trademarks were originally filed back in May, 2011 for use on mugs, beverage glassware, waste baskets, figurines, key chains, statutes, various types of apparel, masks, Halloween costumes, action figures, board games and toy model hobby craft kits. The most recent applications, quite possibly in anticipation of the movie being released in June 2013, were filed July 10th. The trademark applications were filed in order to secure the trademarks for use with various video game platforms. The USPTO website further reveals that the World War Z trademarks were intended for use with “entertainment services, namely, providing online electronic games, downloadable electronic game programs, electronic game software for handheld electronic devices, video game cartridges and discs”.

Undoubtedly, a deluge of World War Z products will hit the market in the summer of 2013 when the movie is released. The movie will star Brad Pitt.

June 11, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Larry, the blue bird Twitter mascot, has gone on a diet. Twitter has recently unveiled a new look for its trademarked blue bird logo that has some obvious changes as well as some not so noticeable changes.

The San Francisco based social media company took to Twitter to announce the change. Twitter’s creative director Doug Bowman tweeted, “Our new bird grows out of love for ornithology, design within creative constraints, and simple geometry. This bird is crafted purely from three sets of overlapping circles – similar to how your networks, interests, and ideas connect and intersect with peers and friends. Whether soaring high above the earth to take in a broad view, or flocking with other birds to achieve a common purpose, a bird in flight is the ultimate representation of freedom, hope and limitless possibility.”

The main differences in Twitter’s logo appear to be the following: the new bird appears to be leaner, the tuft on the top of the birds head is no longer there, the new bird is looking up rather than straight ahead, the wing of the bird is facing upward rather than downward, and the color blue is a darker shade.

Twitter appears to be flying high above many other social media sites with its 140 million active users, and is on its way to soaring as high as its competitor Facebook. According to Reuters, Twitter is rumored to be the next best company for an IPO and may follow in Facebook’s footsteps. It is estimated that this year Twitter will reach $260 million in revenue.

Just as many consumers can immediately recognize popular logos such as the Nike swoosh, the golden arches of McDonald’s, and the Microsoft Windows logo, Twitter is assured that its blue bird logo will be among this list as one of the most recognizable icons. A tweet posted on Twitter mentioned this goal by saying “from now on, this bird will be the universally recognizable symbol of Twitter,” and “there’s no longer a need for text, bubbled typefaces, or a lowercase ‘t’ to represent Twitter.”

February 21, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – People other than New York Knicks player Jeremy Lin are looking to profit from his fast-rising fame by attempting to trademark the word “Linsanity,” the term being used to describe the frenzy surrounding the Taiwanese point guard.

Los Angeles resident Yenchin Chang was the first of four people other than Lin to file trademark applications for “Linsanity” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Chang, who also is of Taiwanese decent, is in no way affiliated with the twenty-three-year-old Lin, who has led the Knicks to a five-game winning streak after being let go by the Golden State Warriors.

“I wanted to be part of the excitement,” stated Chang, an entrepreneur in the import/export business. He added, “I’m very proud of Jeremy.” The Harvard-educated Lin was not selected in the NBA draft but was picked up in a partially guaranteed contract deal with his hometown team, the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors subsequently released him. Lin is the first American player in the NBA to be of Taiwanese decent.

According to the USPTO website, Mr. Chang filed for the trademark on February 7th. The “Linsanity” application was filed for use in relation to apparel. Another trademark filing was made two days later by Andrew W. Slayton of Los Altos, CA. Slayton, who used to coach Lin in high school, registered the domain names and with both sites selling Lin-related merchandise.

Lin’s New York Knicks’ jersey has been the most popular online seller since February 4, when he scored twenty-five points and had seven assists in a game against the New Jersey Nets. Since then, Knicks hats and jerseys have become some of the most sought-after merchandise, more than any other NBA team currently.

Jeremy Lin is probably more concerned with maintaining his playing streak right now. However, to his credit he did file his own Linsanity trademark application on February 13th, just a day before two other would be entreprenuers. The trademark office will likely approve Chang’s first filed application. It will then be up to Lin to contest the filing by alleging a likelihood of confusion and a bad-faith attempt to profit off of his popular name. The two applications filed after Lin’s will also receive refusals and will most likely abandon.

December 27, 2011, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios is embroiled in trademark dispute with the Major League Baseball outfit, the Atlanta Braves. Apparently, owners of the Atlanta National League Baseball Club are objecting to Disney/Pixar’s changing the name of its upcoming animated film from “The Bear and the Bow” to “Brave.” The team has formally filed an objection to many of the trademarks Pixar is seeking for its new movie, to be released in June.

The Atlanta Braves possess trademarks for the plural word ‘Braves’ and they are concerned that damages will be incurred as a result of Pixar using the singular trademark, ‘Brave.’ The MLB team has used the singular word ‘Brave’ on items such as apparel and insist that it is common for fans and media to use the singular term when referring to an individual player, whereas the plural form is used in reference to the entire team.

The team which has been established for 140 years is worried that people will confuse its products with products from Disney that relate to the film. The two parties are reportedly in negotiations over the trademark.

About Pixar: Pixar Animation Studios, based in Emeryville, California, is a computer animation film studio, best-known for its CGI-animated feature films created with PhotoRealistic Renderman. Pixar was founded in 1979 as part of the computer division of Lucasfilm, before being acquired in 1986 by Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs. Pixar, which is now owned by the Walt Disney Company, has created many animated films that have made over $6.3 billion worldwide.