Registering trademarks with the USPTO helps strengthen brands by giving brand owners exclusive use rights as well as defensive powers to block similar marks. FAMOUS trademarks are stronger and have broader defensive blocking powers against other trademarks. One example of a strong, famous trademark is APPLE.
The iconic Apple logo is widely recognized by consumers and this FAME grants Apple Inc. the power to block the trademark registrations of other logos that include a confusing similar apple graphic. Defining what is a confusingly similar trademark… is the million dollar question. A few years ago APPLE challenged a “Green NYC” apple logo.
Would you have been confused by the two marks? Would you have thought they were from the same corporate or municipal source? (Take a look and see what you think. If this logo had a leaf on the stem… would you be confused? http://www.nyc.gov/html/greenyc/html/home/home.shtml vs. http://www.apple.com/) The end of the story, is that NYC had to remove a leaf from the stem of its “Green NYC” apple logo… and then it was granted trademark registration.
How about them apples….
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
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For more information see: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aS6kWpRRWe9U&refer=us and USPTO Serial number 77975167 and Registration number 3753302; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.