Trademarks

‘I get paid to play Candy Crush and do laundry all day!’

Imagine, if you will, a world where you’re able to do absolutely nothing but surf the internet, watch all the daytime TV you can stand, go on as many online shopping sprees as your wallet will allow, and like and comment on every Facebook status in the world, all while being paid your regular salary (ranging from $60,000 to $80,000), and maintaining performance-based bonus eligibility (with awards ranging from $2,000 to $3,500).

If you think that sounds great, then maybe you should apply to become a paralegal specialist for the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), because that judicial body apparently wasted up to $5.09 million on salary payments for what was nothing more than paralegal playtime.

Ain’t life grand as a federal employee?

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What is it with insane NY-related bureaucrats and their attempts to “own” things? In the past, we’ve covered how New York State is a pretty big trademark bully over the “I ♥ NY” phrase, and did you know that the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) claims ownership over the phrase “If you see something, say something”? And, now, we find out that the controversy-ridden Port Authority of NY and NJ appears to be claiming ownership of the NYC skyline. No joke. It apparently sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fishs Eddy, a housewares store in Manhattan that is selling some city themed dishes.

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Past Disparagement Results in Present Cancellation: REDSKINS Marks Cancelled by TTAB

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) cancelled six registrations for marks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for use in connection with a professional football team, because the marks were found to be disparaging to Native Americans at the time they were registered (between 1967 and 1990).

The Board found that when used in connection with football services, REDSKINS retains the meaning of “Native American.” Videos of football games, newspapers, and press guides created between 1967 and 1990 established that the respondent “made continuous efforts to associate its football services with Native American imagery.”

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A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks.

Spoiler alert:

This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various application icons as part of a computer operating system, using rectangular geometric figures in rows. However, it isn’t a spoiler for Apple’s applications referenced above (those applications have yet to be assigned to an examining attorney).

No, instead, I’m referring to a since-abandoned application that provides some interesting contrast with Apple’s applications. In 2012, Microsoft filed an intent-to-use application for the mark shown below:

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* “We’re in uncharted waters.” Following a split vote down party lines, the House of Representatives authorized Speaker Boehner to move ahead with his lawsuit against President Obama. [WSJ Law Blog]

* “Vultures! Don’t take our pound of flesh.” Despite last-minute settlement talks, it seems Argentina has defaulted on its debt for the second time in 13 years. Oopsie! [DealBook / New York Times]

* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has added 19 additional schools to its law school clinic certification pilot program. IP is hot right now, so congrats if your school made the cut. [USPTO.gov]

* What are some of the pros of working before going to law school? Well, if you can’t get a job after you graduate, you can go back to your old field, so that’s a plus. [Law Admissions Lowdown / U.S. News]

* California probate attorneys’ hearts were all aflutter following Shelly Sterling’s win against her husband, specifically because of the new precedents the Clippers case left in its wake. [National Law Journal]

* Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes took advantage of Washington state law and purchased himself some legal pot yesterday, making him the highest-profile lawyer in the country. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

* DC Comics blocked plans to build a memorial to a murdered 5-year-old Superman fan dressed in costume. Realizing that this was awful and stupid, they’ve reversed themselves. [Gawker]

* New York Justice Roger Barto said he was attacked and beaten with a toilet seat. The police disagree. [WHAM]

* Laurence Tribe recounting his experiences with a young Barack Obama. [Fiscal Times]

* Remember when Justice Scalia screwed up that decision and quietly edited it hoping we wouldn’t notice? Well the days of the secret editing of SCOTUS opinions are over. [CREW]

* The continuing coverage of the Donald Sterling trial: Sterling takes the stand. [mitchell epner]

* We talk a lot about work-life balance among lawyers, but we don’t think much about the work-life balance among law professors. [TaxProf Blog]

* If you wanted to understand the UK legal market, this infographic is basically “choose your own adventure” for a legal career across the pond. [Gorvins]

* What do the former Biglaw Bigshot and Joan Rivers have in common? [Law and More]

Kevyn Orr, probably not an alien.

A couple weeks back we reported on the big hissy fit that Jones Day threw over Kevynorr.com, at the time a bare-bones website that promised to be a sarcastic look at former Jones Day partner Kevyn Orr’s “emergency management” of Detroit. Jones Day wrote themselves a nasty cease and desist letter.

The anonymous proprietor of Kevynorr.com is represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and their lawyers drafted a scathing response calling out Jones Day’s disingenuous, bullying letter….

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* Politico asked 19 legal experts to evaluate the Supreme Court term. I wonder which 9 justices they thought were most important this term? [Politico]

* One of the girls who stabbed a friend at the supposed behest of the fictional “Slenderman” was deemed incompetent. [Chicago Tribune]

* Have you checked out the logo for Stussy jeans? Because those horsies look awfully familiar to a certain other, more famous jean company. [Los Angeles Intellectual Property Attorney Blog]

* The sad truth for those of you banking on Biglaw careers to pay off your loans? You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. [Law School Lemmings]

* The recent study that created a cumulative ranking of law schools based on LSAT scores, employment, and citations has been updated to account for school-funded jobs. No more gaming the system schools. [The Faculty Lounge]

* Womble Carlyle prevails in the discrimination suit brought by a cancer survivor they fired when her cancer treatment left her weak. What’s with lawyers picking on cancer survivors today? [Triangle Business Journal]

* Mr. Florida Football: July 2014. Check out his stats: 6’1″, 245, 3 murder charges… [Chronicle of Higher Education]

* The next generation wants to change the world. Maybe consider something other than law school. [Law and More]

* The suit between Jerry Only and Danzig (Glenn, not Chris) is heating up with a countersuit. [Metal Sucks]

* Time for another Battle of the Law Firm Bands! This one is in L.A. next Tuesday, July 8, and 11 bands from area law firms and companies are playing, including bands from Latham, Gibson, O’Melveny, and MoFo. It’s for a good cause, so show up. [Family Violence Appellate Project]

No one expects Biglaw to have the greatest sense of humor. Make no mistake, individual Biglaw partners can be hilarious. We actually talk to them all the time here. But when you get a big entity, the funny gets lost. See Apple or Saturday Night Live. Add in the fact that Biglaw doesn’t even have to pretend to pitch to the masses, and the tiny fragment of a fun-loving personality that mass advertising requires is lost.

So it should come as entirely zero surprise that a Biglaw firm has thrown a petulant fit over a parody website mocking it for behavior that even a federal judge has called into question….

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This image constitutes fair use. Not that Washington can do much about it now anyway.

‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court reviews today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.

Bob Raskopf of Quinn Emanuel, trademark counsel for the Washington pro football club, discussing yesterday’s ruling invalidating the club’s federal intellectual property rights in the name ‘Redskins.’ Yes, maybe there’s a judge who still thinks Native Americans only “may” find the term offensive, even though it’s labeled “offensive” in the DICTIONARY. Raskopf is betting that a judge will hear argument on the USPTO’s detailed, 177-page opinion and find it as lacking in evidence as Judge Kollar-Kotelly did in 2003 (except the D.C. Circuit specifically limited that decision to the issue of laches).

It’s a more interesting bet than whether they’ll win the division.

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