When things are slow, go to TTABVUE and put in ‘Sentra’ as a search term, to pull up the applications that Leo Stoller has filed extension requests to oppose. He appears to have 25 requests approved this week alone.
It is my understanding that Stoller is sending out requests for $10,000 to these applicants. One of my clients has received such a letter (the letter also notes that to defend a TTAB proceeding would cost $150,000).
I have been told that Stoller has filed 500 extension requests since November.
What are the odds that someone would have superior trademark rights to 500 of the marks that have been published for opposition since November?
What is the duty of the PTO to protect trademark applicants from, for want of a better term, something that appears to be a scheme?
Raustiala and Sprigman, ‘The Piracy Paradox: Innovation and Intellectual Property in Fashion Design,’ UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 06-04 (Jan 2006). Abstract:
“The orthodox justification for intellectual property is utilitarian. Advocates for strong IP rights argue that absent such rights copyists will free-ride on the efforts of creators and stifle innovation. This orthodox justification is logically straightforward and well reflected in the law. Yet a significant empirical anomaly exists: the global fashion industry, which produces a huge variety of creative goods without strong IP protection. Copying is rampant as the orthodox account would predict. Yet innovation and investment remain vibrant. Few commentators have considered the status of fashion design in IP law. Those who have almost uniformly criticize the current legal regime for failing to protect apparel designs. But the fashion industry itself is surprisingly quiescent about copying. Firms take steps to protect the value of trademarks, but appear to accept appropriation of designs as a fact of life. This diffidence about copying stands in striking contrast to the heated condemnation of piracy and associated legislative and litigation campaigns in other creative industries.
Why, when other major content industries have obtained increasingly powerful IP protections for their products, does fashion design remain mostly unprotected – and economically successful? The fashion industry is a puzzle for the orthodox justification for IP rights. This paper explores this puzzle. We argue that the fashion industry counter-intuitively operates within a low-IP equilibrium in which copying does not deter innovation and may actually promote it. We call this the “piracy paradox.” This paper offers a model explaining how the fashion industry’s piracy paradox works, and how copying functions as an important element of and perhaps even a necessary predicate to the industry’s swift cycle of innovation. In so doing, we aim to shed light on the creative dynamics of the apparel industry. But we also hope to spark further exploration of a fundamental question of IP policy: to what degree are IP rights necessary to induce innovation? Are stable low-IP equilibria imaginable in other industries as well?
Part I describes the fashion industry and its dynamics and illustrates the prevalence of copying in the industry. Part II advances an explanation for the piracy paradox that rests on two features: induced obsolescence and anchoring. Both phenomena reflect the status-conferring power of fashion, and both suggest that copying, rather than impeding innovation and investment, promotes them.
Part II also considers, and rejects, alternative explanations of the endurance of the low-IP status quo.
Part III considers extensions of our arguments to other fields. By examining copyright’s negative space – those creative endeavors that copyright does not address – we argue can we can better understand the relationship between copyright and innovation.'”
Counterfeit Chic discussion here.
Marginal Revolution discussion here.
1991 Law Review note: A Design for the Copyright of Fashion.
Barrett, ‘Internet Trademark Suits and the Demise of ‘Trademark Use,‘ 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 371 (2006). Abstract:
“The Internet has provided countless new ways for ingenious businesses and individuals to refer to a plaintiff’s mark in a manner that impacts the plaintiff’s business. These new methods may not directly associate the mark with goods or services that the defendant is offering for sale and may be completely hidden from consumers’ view. In evaluating the numerous trademark infringement and dilution suits that these unauthorized references have generated, courts have often failed to focus on the appropriate role of the “trademark use” requirement, which has traditionally limited the scope of the trademark infringement (and more recently, trademark dilution) cause of action. Some courts appear to have completely ignored the trademark use limitation, while others have acknowledged the limitation but construed it in a manner that undercuts or distorts it. This has given rise to a number of splits in the Circuit Courts of Appeals. This Article undertakes to bring some focus and coherence to the trademark use issue in the Internet context. It provides an in-depth examination of the history and purpose of the limitation and proposes a modern, general definition of “trademark use” in light of that history and purpose. It then demonstrates how this definition should apply in several important contexts on the Internet.”
HT Prof Goldman, who provides other links to law review articles on the same topic.
Nerdlaw reports settlement in a long-running dispute over ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’ A weema way a weema way.
What percentage of search engine users click on organic search results as opposed to the paid listings? This question was asked on a Search Engine Watch forum. unfortunately the most recent public statistics seems to be a 2004 iProspect report that states:
Google – 72.3% organic, 27.7% Paid ads
All engines – 60.5% organic, 39.5% paid ads
If you have a link for more recent stats, send it on.
IPKat on the possibly descriptive, possible disparaging mark NOT MADE IN CHINA, filed for in the EEC. The article cited by IPKat reports that the same applicant, Alvito, filed in the U.S. but was rejected. This may not be correct, as I found three pending design applications by Alvito for that mark, all of which have not yet been examined. However a different entity has filed in the U.S. for NOT MADE IN CHINA as well, and it received a preliminary geographical descriptiveness objection. Several registrations contain the words MADE IN CHINA, and have disclaimed that term.
UPDATE: TTABlog on a prior TTAB decision on NOT MADE IN FRANCE.
Search Engine Watch: ‘Yahoo To Ban Bidding On Competitor Trademarks To Stop Comparison Advertising.’