USPTO

You remember that movie Ghost World? Me neither. It starred that girl from American Beauty and that girl from Lost in Translation and Steve Buscemi Eyes and the kid from The Client (R.I.P.). But none of that matters! What matters for our purposes today is that the plot involved signs from something called Coon Chicken Inn. Spoiler alert: that place actually existed! It was a chain of three fried chicken restaurants that trafficked in succulent breast meat and crazy f**king racism. According to its wiki entry, Coon Chicken Inn even possessed trademarks. Real, valid, honest-to-God trademarks.

This week, the Washington Redskins were adjudged to be more racist than Coon Chicken Inn. Well, not exactly. Specifically, the Redskins trademark was cancelled on the grounds that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.” You can read Elie’s take and the actual decision itself here.

But what if I told you that Coon Chicken Inn was just the tip of the racist iceberg? What if I told you that same iceberg is racist sexist, and homophobic? Is that an iceberg you would be interested in investigating?

Let’s muck around in the fever swamps of America’s offensive trademarks and the shaky legal edifice that has been erected around them, shall we?

We shall…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Your Legal Guide To Offensive Trademarks”

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.

Holy crap, it worked. Not the ads or the begging or a pointless debate with an implacable owner, but simply going through the legal system actually worked. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelled six federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins. The office held that the marks could not be protected because they are “disparaging to Native Americans.”

You see, not everything in this world is subject to the whim of a rich white man who doesn’t care about the people he’s offending. We are a nation of laws, and sometimes those laws even win!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Patent Office Just Tomahawk-Chopped The ‘Redskins’ Trademark”

Earlier this week, we discussed L.A.-based patent attorney Andrew Schroeder. For those who missed out on the first go-around, Schroeder penned a couple of blistering assaults on the quality of the USPTO’s work that were brought to the attention of University of Missouri Law Professor Dennis Crouch, who posted them on Patently-O.

But the story does not end there. Yesterday, I received an email from Andrew Schroeder pointing me to his blog post responding to Crouch (and, to a lesser extent, me). I found Schroeder’s original work to be professionally over the line — and at times a little offensive — but also very funny, so I was excited to see what the maestro of meltdown letters would say to his critics.

He did not disappoint…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Return of the Mad-As-Hell Patent Attorney [WITH PICS]“

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….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “What Is It With IP Lawyers?”

There’s something beautiful about watching someone have a full meltdown. There’s a primal insanity that spews forth during a complaint-filled rant. It’s what makes movies like Network and Falling Down such enjoyable romps.

Attorneys aren’t immune to meltdowns, but they usually reserve them for a legal secretary, hapless associate, or beleaguered co-counsel. Anything to keep the episode shielded from the prying eyes of ATL.

Which makes a patent attorney’s public freakout on the USPTO itself so much more entertaining.

Prepare a Bingo card for the over-the-top references you expect to see in these rants (yep, plural). Here’s a freebie for the center square: mocking the Special Olympics…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Patent Attorney Mad As Hell and Not Going To Take It (From the USPTO) Anymore”

Change is in the air! And it’s not just pollen. On the heels of an explosion of popular interest in (and subsequent boredom with) intellectual property, stemming from the Apple v. Samsung case, as well as new IP regulatory changes, the time is right to take IP reform to the streets! Let’s burn this mother down… or crowd-source it, at least.

A new partnership between the U.S. Patent Office, Google, and popular tech website Stack Exchange, will recruit average Americans to help end the patent wars. Take that, rounded corners!

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Thanks to Cool New Crowd-Sourcing Website, Now You Can Help Prevent Bogus Patents”