Why you should always check to see if your business name can be trademarked. As Seen On TV edition

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on May 13, 2015   Information Tags: , , ,

Following up on my other post, on how the Portland band “The Slants” cannot get a trademark from the Federal Government because of their race, there is a company called “As Seen On TV” that cannot get a trademark either. But unlike the Slants, this is because of basic trademark law. The company cannot get a trademark because their name is to generic and has been used since TVs first came out.

We all know the company. Their commercials usually appear late at night featuring some new products that you should buy. The company does not make any, it usually just markets and sells other peoples inventions. They are publicly traded on the stock market, so we can see their earnings over the years. And yes, you guessed it, the company is losing money each year. Why? Well as the internet becomes faster and more people use it, the market for goods also expands. But that is just one problem the company has. A lot of companies are losing money because they are not adopting to the internet.

“As seen on TV” is in the public domain and you can use it yourself:

The biggest mistake the company made was its name. It cannot be trademarked. There name is great for a business name, but as stated before, it is to generic to be trademarked. Same goes for the red logo, as companies have used that long before them.  Read More

Why you should always check to see if your business name can be trademarked. The Slants edition

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on April 22, 2015   Information Tags: , , , ,

The U.S. Court of Appeals has turned down the trademark request from Portland band “The Slants” . If you are not following the story, basically the band has been trying to get their name trademarked for the past six years, and has been denied each time. The Trademark Office is not allowing the name to be trademarked because it is deemed offensive to Asians. So much for the land of the free. The band is in a tough position. They have stated that when they go on tour, sellers will sell fake tickets with their name, as there is nothing protecting their band’s name.

The band is not giving up though. And I encourage them not too. They need to take this case to the US Supreme Court. As I have posted before, the US Government is not upholding the first amendment. They are actively trying to remove a already approved trademark from the Washington Redskins because someone was offended.  Many media companies  and popular journalist have said in public that the attack on free speech and free press in unprecedented under the current administrationRead More

Does the US Government have the power to remove trademarks from people or companies that did not commit a crime

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on April 4, 2015   Commentary Tags: , , , , , , ,

That is what this whole removal of the Redskins trademark is about.

This case, Blackhorse v. Pro Football, Inc,  will be headed to the Supreme Court if the Redskins lose their case in court. While I feel if it does reach that point, the Supreme Court will rule in favor of the Redskins, I wonder what will happen if they rule against them.

Basically what the court would have said is that the Federal Government can remove issued trademarks at any time if a elected official finds them offensive. Does not matter if your brand is 83 years old and is worth $2.4 billion like the Washington Redskins. Yes, the name is offensive to some, but does that mean it loses its trademark?

Does the US government have the right to remove trademarks for a company that did not commit any crime? That is the question.

If the Washington Redskins lose the court case over their trademark, it will stage a dangerous precedent for other companies.
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Justice Department continues attack on the Redskins and free speech. What other words are offensive but not banned?

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on March 27, 2015   Commentary Tags: , , ,

“A government of laws and not of men” – John Adams

The 2nd president of the United States could not be more right. Some elected officials decided that they don’t like the name of a sport’s team, and at the stroke of a pen, the US trademark was gone. 83 years of brand building and a brand that is worth $2.4 billion could be lost if the court rules against them. Lets not forget, the Redskins did not commit any crime. They are going to lose their trademark for doing nothing illegal.

The Justice Department today released a update regarding the removal of the Washington Redskin’s trademark. According to them, the trademark is not free speech because it is commercial. Using that logic, video games and music are not protected either.

The Redskins are arguing that the US Constitution protects their free speech as much as a anyone else.

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China regulator ironically attacks Alibaba for not doing enough about counterfeits

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on January 30, 2015   News Tags: , , , ,

China, home of the world’s counterfeiting industry has sent a letter to Alibaba accusing the company of not doing enough to fight counterfeits. According to estimates, 8% of China’s GDP is based on counterfeiting. So is it ironic that the regulators are attacking one company, but doing nothing on a nation wide scale. Nike left China years ago because the government would not enforce any intellectual property law.

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Canadian Customs now allows recordal services for brand owners. Should your business use it?

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on January 16, 2015   News Tags: , , , ,

At the start of this year, the Canadian Combating Counterfeit Products Act became law.  With this new power, brand owners can register their trademarks and copyrights with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).  Basically you register with customs and when a package is inspected and the items match your intellectual property, customs will contact you to verify the package.

They can send a brand owner a sample of the package, and the details of the sender and receiver. This can also help companies that are wanting to have civil proceedings brought against counterfeiters in court. 

There are no fees to register with customs. However if a brand owner wants the counterfeit goods to be destroyed, they may have to pay a fee. This part of the bill is still being developed and details are limited.

Before this bill became law, there was no legal authority for customs to seize a commercial shipment if they thought it was counterfeit.

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Bill gives FDA new power and money to fight counterfeit medicine. Criminal charges for counterfeiters could be life in prison.

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on January 7, 2015   News Tags: , ,

A new bill proposed by Representative Steve Israel would increase the budget for the counterfeiting department over at the FDA. It would also alter the maximum prison term for those found guilty of selling counterfeits drugs  or mislabeling medicine.

Counterfeit medicine is  very dangerous. Especially if you have cancer and the cancer pills you got were counterfeit, just as this story about fake Avastin pills. That is just one cancer drug that is counterfeited and sold. Birth control pills, antibiotics are heavily counterfeited along with every other type of medicine, supplements and pills.

While the amount of counterfeit medicine is low in the US and western world, poorer countries have been hit hard. Afghanistan has it worst, with counterfeit medicine booming.

Rep. Israel would like to keep it that way, a low amount of counterfeits in the US. Removing all counterfeits is impossible. His bill calls for a $60 million expenditure per year to fight counterfeits, along with harsher prison terms.

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Counterfeits trump charity, sometimes. Part 2

Submitted by Kevin Hoda on January 2, 2015   News Tags: , , ,

In our last post, we discussed if counterfeit products such as clothing should be given to charity when the items are seized. If you recall from the post, in 2006 a law was passed on the Federal level to stop all givings of counterfeit products to charity. Before the law, US Government agencies would give out counterfeit clothing such as sports jerseys to victims of natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

After the law was passed, that was no longer possible, even during a emergency. Trademark holders did not want their brand ruined by having certain people wearing it. Their words, not mine. Just like how Abercrombie and Fitch wanted the ‘The Situation’ to stop wearing their brand as the company believed he was ruining its image.

In the UK, counterfeit seizures are given to charity all the time.

Now a new bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo  allows counterfeit clothing to be given to charity.

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