Update: The USPTO has withdrawn this from publication for "further review."
At this week's B-Sides Manchester security conference, James Williams gave a talk called "Next-gen AV vs my shitty code," in which he systematically revealed the dramatic shortcomings of anti-virus products that people pay good money for and trust to keep them safe -- making a strong case that these companies were selling defective goods. Read the rest
"Aloha Poke [Co.] would prefer to settle this matter amicably and without court intervention," reads a letter from Olson and Cepuritis Ltd, lawyers representing Chicago's Aloha Poke Company, addressed to the owner of Honolulu's "Aloha Poke Shop." Read the rest
Austin's Michael-Scott Earle, last seen around these parts when he filed a trademark on the phrase "Dragon Slayer" for use in fantasy novel trademarks, has found a new depth to plumb: he's filed a trademark on book covers "one or more human or partially human figures underneath, at least one of the figures holding a weapon; and an author's name underneath the figures; wherein the title/series and author's name are depicted in the same or similar coloring." Read the rest
Back in May, the romance writing community was rocked by a scandal after author Faleena Hopkins started enforcing a trademark over the common word "COCKY" in the titles of romance novels; I predicted then that there would be some sociopaths who would observe the controversy and decide that it was an inspiration, rather than a warning, and start trying to use trademark to steal other words from writers and their titles. Read the rest
One of the most iconic scents of childhood, Play-Doh's, has been trademarked.
Hasbro, the company behind the modeling clay, made the announcement Friday:
The trademarked scent, which Hasbro formally describes as a unique scent formed through the combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough, makes the PLAY-DOH brand one of the few active and certainly most famous scent trademarks in the country...
“The scent of PLAY-DOH compound has always been synonymous with childhood and fun,” said Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of Global Marketing for the PLAY-DOH brand. “By officially trademarking the iconic scent, we are able to protect an invaluable point of connection between the brand and fans for years to come.”
Apparently it's not easy getting a scent trademarked because few qualify. The Wall Street Journal reports, "In the U.S., you have to show that a fragrance serves no important practical function other than to help identify and distinguish a brand. The smell of an air freshener or a women’s perfume wouldn’t count, for example."
To obtain a non-conventional trademark such as scent, it first has to be accurately described. A sample of the scent then has to be sent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for inspection, which Hasbro did in February 2017. They were granted the trademark on May 15, 2018.
Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz's must-read new book The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy (read an excerpt) is not for sale in the Apple ebook store, and won't be until they agree to change their text to refer to Apple's ebooks as "iBooks" rather than "iBook." Read the rest
A 2012 lawsuit from the Navajo Nation, against Urban Outfitters, drags on. Uncomfortable with the retailer's now cancelled "Navajo" line of clothing, the suit was brought to defend The Navajo Nation's Federal trademark. Urban Outfitters, naturally, feels the term "Navajo" is generic and descriptive of a style, they're asking the trademark registration be removed.
Who doesn't want a hipster panty named after them?
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Millions of dollars are potentially at stake in the suit. The tribe is seeking revenue from products using the “Navajo” name starting from 2008. Urban Outfitters, however, counters that the term “Navajo” is a generic term for a style or design, and that the tribe took too long to file suit. The company wants a judge to not only determine that it hasn’t infringed upon the tribe’s rights but to also cancel the tribe’s federal trademark registrations.
Diné [Navajo] tribal member Casey John disagrees with the argument that “Navajo” is a generic term. “Using Navajo to describe something is further colonizing the word. Using it to refer to a type of pattern … it’s not really a pattern,” she says. “To say it’s just a design, they don’t need permission from a tribe that federally, legally calls themselves Navajo … it’s just ridiculous. It’s legally the name we use in any kind of actions with other nations, the government. It [the name] should not be taken lightly at all.”
The retail company is no stranger to racially charged controversies. In 2005, it faced backlash for selling a T-shirt with the phrase “New Mexico: Cleaner than regular Mexico,” and again in 2010 for describing a T-shirt color as “Obama/Black.”
Due to inactivity IKEA lost its trademark to a small Indonesian manufacturer of rattan furniture. Will people be confused by their Wickerdjammar? Rattanfoljer?
International Business Times reports:
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PT Ratania Khatulistiwa registered its Ikea trademark in December 2013, where Ikea is an acronym for Intan Khatulistiwa Esa Abadi, Indonesian words referring to the rattan industry, according to the AP. The company took Ikea to court when its store outside Jakarta was still under construction, and won. Ikea appealed against the lower court ruling last year, but the Supreme Court also ruled against it, the AP reported, adding that the ruling was made in May last year, but only became public knowledge after it was published on the court’s website Thursday.
The makers of Clean Slate, a drive-wiping program, sued Warner over a fictional product with the same name in The Dark Knight Rises; the judge quite sensibly told them that trademark protects you from unfair competition -- it doesn't let you own words. Read the rest
It's not just Ikeahackers: Ikea has gone all-out war on its web-fans. Read the rest
King Games, makers of Candy Crush, have backed down from their insane campaign to trademark the use of "Candy" in connection with games, a gambit that brought them ridicule and opprobrium (for example, a game jam where all the games made use of "candy"), not least because the company bullied competitors who had created candy-themed games years before Candy Crush came to market. However, the company still asserts a trademark over the use of the word "saga" in connection with games, and is trying to shut down The Banner Saga. Read the rest
Inspired by the news that King.com -- creators of the game "Candy Crush" -- had received a trademark on the use of the words "candy" and "saga" in connection with video games (and other things) and were using it to censor its competition, Michael Brough's created a fun -- and trenchant -- text-adventure called Candy Quest 3: Edge of Sweetness. It's part of The Candy Jam, an indie game-jam created entirely to troll the butthead corporate overlords at King.com. Read the rest