Tag Archives: Trademarks

Even a Former President Can Get into Hot Water With the USPTO

Donald Trump, a divisive figure in our current political climate, has faced a massive setback with his new social media network “Truth Social.” On August 2nd, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)  denied Trump’s application to federally register (which grants federal protection of the trademark) the network’s name as a trademark. This is one of many setbacks that the former President has faced since leaving office. This relatively minor setback could potentially cause major re-branding issues for Truth Social further down the line if his appeal is unsuccessful. If Trump continues using the mark, he may be sued and will eventually have to change the name of his social media network or incur major legal fees.

Continue reading

Tom Brady: The Greatest of All Time (at Trademarks)?

In March 2022, the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, announced the end of his short-lived “retirement” and would be pursuing new business endeavors. Almost immediately, I saw ads on my Instagram feed for his new athletic clothing line called “BRADY”. What intrigued me the most was not the price of over $100 for a sweatshirt, but the superscript “TM” in the brand’s logo. As a student interested in intellectual property, this made me curious – what else has Brady trademarked?

Photo by Alexander Jonesi, licensed under Creative Commons

Continue reading

Making Her (Trade)mark: Professor Patricia Lee’s Work in Trademarks

Companies have all kinds of intellectual property (IP), including trademarks, but just how important is that IP to a company? As a business attorney for nearly 40 years, Professor Patricia Lee of Loyola can tell you that trademarks and other forms of IP are hugely important and becoming more important every day.

As the director of the Loyola Business Law Clinic, Prof. Lee and her students find that trademark and other IP issues are a natural part of assisting and counseling the clinic’s clients. “Trademarks are very important to business startups and non-profit organizations,” said Prof. Lee.

So, where is Prof. Lee from and how did she get into business?

Continue reading

Getting A RISE Out of PepsiCo

Picture by Tabitha Turner on Unsplash

While big companies may have dozens of trademarks, smaller and lesser-known companies can also have valid trademarks, as long as they satisfy the trademark criteria.

Can a large company infringe a smaller company’s mark? Yes! This is sometimes referred to as “reverse confusion,” where the small company is the first user and the large company is the later user. But, there can still be confusion among consumers. The larger company may use its money and resources (like ads) to infiltrate the smaller company’s market with a similar mark on similar goods or services.

Continue reading

Trademark Trivia: Sports Edition!

Which of the following is NOT a federally registered trademark?

  1. “Taco Tuesday,” as in LeBron James’s social media celebrations of eating tacos on Tuesdays
  2. “Three-peat,” as in winning three consecutive championships
  3. Blue athletic turf, as in Boise State’s famous blue and orange football field
  4. “Fear the Brow,” as in NBA star Anthony Davis’s very distinct unibrow

Correct Answer: A!

Once you know a little more about trademarks and how individuals and companies register them, the answer should make a lot more sense. Let’s start there!

Continue reading

Stealing Settlers? How IP factors into Online Games

Can Intellectual Property Protect Board Games?

I love board games and have been playing a lot of Settlers of Catan online during the pandemic. I use a site called colonist.io, which is an offshoot, unaffiliated version of the Settlers of Catan game. During my Intellectual Property (IP) class with Professor Ho earlier this year, I wondered how IP rights extend to board games. When we tend to think of IP, we might think of cool technological inventions for patents or Disney’s Mickey Mouse for copyright. IP generally relates to protecting human created products, names, and expressions, and can give its owner rights to protect these.

Continue reading

Justice for Social Movement Trademarks

Thousands of people have taken to the streets, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, to demand justice and equal treatment for Black Americans after the murder of George Floyd. Throughout these protests, the slogan “Black Lives Matter” is often used by those condemning the treatment of Black Americans at the hands of police officers around the country. Is this phrase a trademark, and if it is, who owns it? Do trademark principles allow the Black Lives Matter Foundation, an entity associated with the movement, to have a trademark in phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” so that they can prevent other entities from commercially profiting from using it?

Let’s start by discussing some trademark principles.

Continue reading