By: LaCole Spraggins
Marilyn Monroe, the most famous vixen of all time, is the topic of a trademark infringement dispute. The icon’s estate is suing Fashion Central for allegedly using Marilyn Monroe’s likeness on various items including undergarment packaging and tags.
The plaintiff alleges that Fashion Central is infringing upon its trademark, diluting the icon’s famous image, and unjustly enriching with every unauthorized sale of good displaying Marilyn Monroe’s likeness.
The plaintiff, Marilyn Monroe’s estate, owns exclusive rights to Marilyn Monroe's name, image, and likeness. The defendant, Fashion Central does not have a license to use Marilyn Monroe’s likeness. Yet, Fashion Central continues to use a picture depicting the likeness of Marilyn Monroe and some of her most famous quotes on its clothing and packaging.
Although Marilyn Monroe’s name does not appear on Fashion Central garments, does not mean that Fashion Central is off the hook for trademark infringement. Section 1125(a) of Title 15 of the Lanham Act, can be used to support the estate of Marilyn Monroe’s claim. Thus, Marilyn Monroe’s estate may prevail if it proves that there is a likelihood of confusion.
Likeness is important because everyone wants their image and the image of their loved ones to be protected. Although celebrities are icons, the integrity of there images is important to them and their families. So it is best to air on the side of caution before using celebrity images for financial gain.
By: Rolland Hampton
Kobe Bryant, one of the best to ever play the game of basketball, has long been referred to by the nickname "Black Mamba." After years of owning the nickname, he decided, through his business arm Kobe Inc., that he would apply to register the mark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Despite not yet owning a registration for the mark, Bryant is seeking to enforce what he believes to be his rights by opposing others from earning registrations related to same. Recently, Bryant filed a notice of opposition against 47 / 72 Inc. based on its filing of a trademark application for "The Black Mamba" for use in connection with online retail store services featuring shirts, hooded sweatshirts, sweatshirts, one-piece clothing for babies, mobile electronics cases, posters, pillows, mugs and tote bags.
Bryant believes that 47 / 72 Inc.'s mark is likely to confuse consumers as to the source of the products being sold and is a false suggestion of a connection between 47 / 72 Inc. and Bryant himself.
Interestingly, Bryant, who filed his trademark application for "Black Mamba" in May 2016, did so under an intent-to-use designation and has not yet modified the application to demonstrate actual use. As such, the application, which also covers a wide range of apparel and sneakers, remains stalled within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's database. It is unclear as to if/when, Bryant will supplement his intent-to-use application with a Statement of Use showing actual commercial use of "Black Mamba" in connection with the products described in his application.
However, Bryant is not attempting to use his previously filed trademark application to bar 47 / 72 Inc. from receiving a registration for "The Black Mamba." Instead, Bryant is resting on the fact that his nickname has been recognized worldwide to be the "Black Mamba" or simply "Mamba" for many years prior to his filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He has even authorized business partners, sponsors and/or licensees to use the "Black Mamba" mark and variations thereof without a registration in place. Said authorization allegedly began as early as 2007.
Additionally, Bryant cites to the fact that Nike declared April 13, 2016 (Bryant's final game in the NBA) as "Mamba Day." He also notes that the applicant he is opposing has purportedly filed other applications for well-known and recognized names and phrases associated with Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Jay Z & others
Takeaways, Kobe Bryant is world renowned athlete who possesses a strong trademark is his government name in addition to his nickname. Should one be blessed enough to acquire such noteworthiness from their successes and discover others attempting to infringe upon their goodwill it would behoove them to file a notice of opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (which has jurisdiction over the notice of oppositions) to deem that the strength of their common law trademark, for example Kobe Bryant, as worthy of defeating a pending trademark application, here 47 / 72 Inc. to prevent use.
By: Rolland Hampton
Blak Chyna recently filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on behalf of her company Lashed LLC. to trademark what will become her married name--Angela Renée Kardashian. If her request is granted, she would have the sole right to use the name for advertising and entertainment services, such as TV, movie and promotional appearances.
The Kardashians however are in objection to Blak Chyna’s moved, and argue that they have a number of very strong trademarks for their name and if Blac Chyna is allowed to register ‘Angela Renée Kardashian’ then people will think that she is associated with the Kardashian family — in a business way, not just in a family way.”
So Why would Blak Chyna want to trademark her name?,
A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”
There are numerous benefits to trademarking a name. After all many name trademarks are worth a lot of money. For example, Martha Stewart is trademarked and so is Calvin Klein, these are names of people and that’s the brand The purpose of the trademark is to tell the consumer that the source of the goods is what it is. By registering for a trademark, you’re assuring consumers that the product they’re using or buying does, in fact, come from you.
By: Rolland Hampton
President Donald Trump’s legal team has moved to trademark the slogan “Keep America Great!” — a phrase he recently said would be part of his 2020 re-election campaign. The trademark application was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Jan. 18, just two days before Mr. Trump was officially sworn in as president. The application indicates that the phrase could be used for T-shirts, tank tops, “baby clothing, namely, one piece garments,” and “printed publications, namely, pamphlets providing information regarding Donald J. Trump as a political candidate.” Mr. Trump’s chief 2016 campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again.” He applied and was granted this trademark shortly after the 2012 election.
Donald Trump’s legal team appears to have succeeded in jumping a major hurdle. Slogans and catch phrases can be registered for protection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. However, those of political significance or common use are rejected. Black Lives Matter for example was rejected for its common use “in rallies dedicated to raising awareness of civil rights, protesting violence and conveying the message of support for the same.” While it is not far-fetched to argue that Make America Great Again is of similar political significance the USPTO has nonetheless extended a trademark to Donald Trump’s team and will likely do so again. If one should want the same the same success in a trademark it is important to keep a few things in mind. In order to be successful in your attempts to register a slogan, it must have a secondary meaning and must serve as a source identifier for a particular good or service. Secondary meaning refers to the idea that your slogan would cause someone to think of a particular good or service. Slogans that are merely informational or political are not likely to be granted trademark protection.
Link : http://www.politico.com/blogs/on-media/2017/01/trump-trademark-keep-america-great-234110