9
Nov/10

Pssst, Want To Buy A Trademark?


This is an ad in today’s Times.  It advertises an auction in December of ‘timeless trademarks.’  There are some recently defunct names such as INFOSEEK, CHAMPION INTERNATIONAL and SHEARSON as well as some blasts from the past such as BRANIFF, SNOW CROP and a real golden oldie, VICTROLA.  The entire list is viewable here.  It seems that there’s at least some residual goodwill attached to some of these names.   On the other hand I’m not sure if anyone younger than me knows that there used to be a BOAC Airline.  How would VICTROLA work for a streaming service?  GENERAL CINEMA for a video-on-demand service?

What do you get if you buy?  It’s not clear from the site (without registering).  I looked up some of the names (INFOSEEK, VICTROLA, GENERAL INSTRUMENT) and see that they are the subject of ITU applications, presumably in the name of entities behind this auction.   All the applications are pre-statement of use (as opposed to claiming dates of first use associated with the ‘original’ brand owners).

Section 10 of the Lanham Act controls assignment of pre-use ITUs.   The ad provides a contact number to obtain the ‘history of each trademark.’   It would be interesting to know what assets remain from some of these brands.

4 Responses to “Pssst, Want To Buy A Trademark?”

  1. Mike says:

    mmm, Meister Brau!

  2. I had a call from a newspaper about this and went to find out more and found this… to register a mark, you have to have a bona fide intent to use it… not to sell it to someone else. I’m not so sure that any buyer is obtaining a valid mark. If it were challenged, they might have quite a bit of problems.

  3. Adam Smith says:

    I did a little extra digging into this auction, and spoke to the CEO of the company behind it.

    Full details on WTR:

    “20,000 interested parties prepare for the first public trademark auction”
    http://www.worldtrademarkreview.com/daily/Detail.aspx?g=0fe962de-cd34-4782-ae9a-ea37b643fb12

    Adam.