Does spending their lives poring over minuscule differences between the designs of mundane products drive IP lawyers mad?
After yesterday’s tale of a patent lawyer ripping not one, but two letters berating the “special” insights of the examiners of the USPTO, a tipster topped that outburst by directing us to the tale of an attorney who went over the examiners and tongue-lashed some trademark judges. Because if arguing the uniqueness of water sprinklers can drive someone crazy, arguing the uniqueness of a fabric patterns creates a new kind of super-crazy.
But don’t worry, he had a good excuse….
This is an oldie, but a goodie, taking us all the way back to the halcyon days of 2003. Don’t consider this “old news,” think of this as the prelude that contextualizes yesterday’s news.
Bruce Tassan, of Arlington-based Tassan Hardison, settled with the USPTO after a long series of conflicts arising from his representation of the Braemore Neckwear Company. A few years earlier, an attorney at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued an order describing Tasson’s ex parte complaints as “inappropriate.” This was merely the beginning.
A couple years later, TTAB Administrative Trademark Judges Rany Simms, Theresa Holtzman and Carlisle Walters finally put the kibosh on Tasson’s case. He disagreed:
8. On January 17, 2002, Respondent left a voicemail message with Judge Simms, believed by the OED Director to have been transcribed accurately as follows:
Hey Mr. Simms, this is Bruce Tassan, I’ve just received an opinion by the Board on a Eredi Chiarini vs. Braemore Neckware involving application No. 75/269,411. Can you tell me why you didn’t mention in your opinion the fact the we’re already registered for this mark. I mean are you an absolute imbecile or what, GODDAMIT. YOU STUPID FUCKING PEOPLE! (CLICK, CLICK).
9. On January 17, 2002, Respondent left a voicemail message with Judge Holtzman, believed by the OED Director to have been transcribed accurately as follows:
Hey Miss Holtzman. This is Bruce Tassan. I just received a oh an opinion regarding application number 75/269,411, that’s 75/269,411 um the opinion doesn’t mention the fact that we already have this mark registered, and you guys have just absolutely ignored the fact that I have a goddamn registration for this mark for the client, and there is nothing in here about this opinion that mentions that. So could you please give me a FUCKIN CALL, GODDAMIT (yells the phone number) 703 522-5305. You guys are absolutely FUCKIN worthless.
10. On January 17, 2002, Respondent left a voicemail message with Judge Walters, believed by the OED Director to have been transcribed accurately as follows:
Oh Carlisle this is Bruce Tassan, I just received the decision with your name on it concerning opposition number 111,483 concerning an application number 75/269,411. My client already registered this mark and I don’t see anything in the opinion to the effect that you’ve even acknowledged that fact. I don’t really expect much from the TTAB or from Government workers, or anything else, but for God sakes I thought at least you’d mention in the opinion the fact that you don’t give a GODDAM about the fact the client’s mark’s already registered. JESUS CHRIST, YOU STUPID IDIOTS.
But tell us how you really feel?
Tasson apologized for his outburst, explaining:
My phone calls were unprofessional and there is no excusing them. All I can say is that my assistant was out with the flu for three days and I was sick, as well, and taking powerful prescription cough medicine. I was delirious.
Well, there you go! Tasson still got a slap on the wrist, but that’s pretty impressive after systematically calling and berating three judges. Andrew Schroeder, are you taking notes?