USPTO rejects “REDSKINS” trademark app for a snackfood as offensive. What does that mean for the team?

“The same federal agency that will determine whether Washington’s professional football team gets to keep its trademark registration recently struck down a request for a company to sell pork rinds with the name “Redskins.” The USPTO’s reasoning for issuing a refusal? Because it’s derogatory and offensive..

The question is what does this ruling mean for the Redskins football team’s registered mark?

Read the full article at

Government Shutdown Affects IP Profs, Attys too … down!

October 1, 2013

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Government Shutdown Affects IP Profs, Attys too … down! by Tonya M. Evans is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

As I prepared for my Copyright & Trademark class this morning, I needed to pull the text of one of the sections of the Copyright Act. So I surfed on over to to access the full text of the Act when I bumped into an odd-looking notice page.

Without really looking at the text, I figured my browser had auto-completed the last URL I’d visited at the site so I typed in myself and hit send. The odd-looking notice page appeared again and there it was … an official notice that due to the government shutdown the Copyright Office is closed: special notice due to gov't shutdownSo it seems the government shutdown is INDEED having intended and unintended consequences as thousands of federal employees are furloughed, or receiving government IOUs because the government cannot pay. The strategy to defund the federal government in order to participate in the kabuki theater of purporting to defund the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act or ACA) a/k/a Obamacare seems not only inane (and insane) but just plain inhumane.

[ObamaCare Exchanges start up just as government shuts down]

Dozens of offices are closed, including the Copyright Office. So the impact is real. Mail will be delivered. Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to flow (although there will likely be delays). But WIC food benefits, federal courts, NIH, food safety, Head Start, federal loan processing, veterans services and work safety (to name just a few areas) are all immediately and negatively impacted (either by delays or closures). Even our military and military families are taking a hit. And because taxes and fines will go uncollected, valuable and much-needed revenue will take a hit as well.

Despite the Copyright Office closure, the United States Patent & Trademark Office remains open … at least for several weeks! It’s hardly a silver lining but not all agencies are impacted in the same way.

The USPTO notice reads as follows:

During the general government shutdown that began October 1, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office will remain open, using prior year reserve fee collections to operate as usual for approximately four weeks. We continue to assess our fee collections compared to our operating requirements to determine how long we will be able to operate in this capacity during a general government shutdown. We will provide an update as more definitive information becomes available.

Should we exhaust these reserve funds before the general government shutdown comes to an end, USPTO would shut down at that time, although a very small staff would continue to work to accept new applications and maintain IT infrastructure, among other functions. (Should it become necessary for USPTO to shut down, details of the agency’s plan for an orderly shutdown are available on page 78 of the United States Department of Commerce’s shutdown plan, available here.)

It was avoidable. Continue reading “Government Shutdown Affects IP Profs, Attys too … down!”

“Kaepernicking” is San Fran 49er QB’s signature move. But is it a trademark?

On January 14, 2013, attorneys for San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick filed 5 intent-to-use applications to trademark various iterations of the star QB’s name as well as an in-use application for the word mark “KAEPERNICKING”, his bicep-kissing act that has taken on a life of its own during the team’s post-season journey to Superbowl XLVII:

Serial Number Reg. Number Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
2 85822727 KAP TSDR LIVE
3 85822721 KAP7 TSDR LIVE

[public record information from:]

Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: Clothing, namely shirts. FIRST USE: 20121231. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20121231
Standard Characters Claimed
Serial Number 85822700
Filing Date January 14, 2013
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) Kaepernick, Colin INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES P.O. Box 1725 Madison WISCONSIN 537011725
Attorney of Record Bruce H. Bernstein
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Just What Is a Trademark, You Ask?

A trademark protects a word, phrase, symbol, or device – the mark – used in commerce to identify and distinguish one product from another. Interestingly, even color (Tiffany blue box), scent (Plumeria) and sound (NBC chimes or MGM lion’s roar) can function as a trademark.

Each state has its own state laws to protect commerce within the state. And the Lanham Act provides protection across the country. Unregistered marks are also protected under state and federal case law. [More about trademarks and other types of intellectual property] reports the story as follows:

Colin Kaepernick has become a brand worth protecting.

At least he thinks so.

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback has filed for the trademark “Kaepernicking,” his bicep-kissing act that has swept the West Coast during the team’s postseason run.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website shows the registration was filed on Jan. 14, and Kaepernick intends to use it on clothing, specifically T-shirts.

Read the full article “Colin Kaepernick Files To Trademark “Kaepernicking” at

[ESPN video: Colin Kaepernick Files To Trademark “Kaepernicking”]