Launching a trademark on Sunday night and having it featured in a New Yorker cartoon the next day may be a trademark dream come true. It’s Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo (featuring an H and a right arrow) that has created the buzz of attention.
The Washington Post ran an article on Monday that compiled public comments, reactions and look-a-likes to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo. An interesting look-a-like logo mentioned in the article caught my attention: a logo for a defunct English supermarket chain called “Hillards” that had a similar H-arrow logo. (Pictured in the bottom right corner of the Hillards advertisement.) The good news for Hillary’s campaign is that this look-a-like should not block nor create any issue with her new campaign logo. This is because:
- The supermarket trademark was not used in the United States. (Trademark rights are acquired by use of the trademark in a particular geographic region and can be registered in a specific country or countries. Once registered, continued use of the trademark is required to maintain the registration); and
- The trademark does not appear to be “in use” any longer in any country due to a reportedly hostile takeover. (Trademark rights are sustained by actual use of the trademark to sell particular goods and/or services. Failure to continuing using a trademark in commerce to sell particular goods and/or services “kills” a trademark).
Personally, I like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign logo.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: Basic facts about trademarks issued by the USPTO at http://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/trademarks/basics/BasicFacts.pdf; more posts on trademarks at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/t-r-a-d-e-m-a-r-k/; The UK Intellectual Property Office with trademark search options at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
For fun, here is a list of some types of trademarks. Are there more types than you would have guessed?
- Nickname or abbreviation
- Internet domain
- Distinctive Building Shape
The key to “being a trademark” is “being USED as a trademark.” One way to explain this is to ask if the trademark is being used to identify and distinguish goods and services of a particular company or brand. For example, does the trademark enable consumers to identify the company that makes the goods? Do you notice the trademark on the items or in advertising? Does the trademark distinguish the goods of one producer from the goods of competitors?
Here are examples of each of the types of trademarks listed above:
- Logo: NIKE SWOOSH
- Numbers: 1664 (Kronenbourg beer)
- Slogan: A DIAMOND IS FOREVER (De Beers)
- Nickname or abbreviation: VW (Volkswagen)
- Internet domain: GODADDY.COM
- Words: GROUPON or APPLE
- Packaging: COCA-COLA BOTTLE
- Character: GEICO GECKO
- Color: TIFFANY’S BLUE JEWELRY BOX
- Distinctive Building Shape: APPLE STORE
See also: Another post containing instructions on “how to run a basic search on the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office) trademark database” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-B; McCarthy on Trademarks Vol 1, Ch 7[B]; the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov, the trademarks listed above: NIKE SWOOSH (USPTO Reg. No. 2107521 and others); 1664 Kronenbourg (USPTO Reg. No. 2702301, 3282436 and others); A DIAMOND IS FOREVER (USPTO Reg. No. 337133); GODADDY.COM (USPTO Reg. No. 2945200, 3605479 and others); GROUPON (USPTO Reg. No. 3685954 and others); APPLE (USPTO Reg. No.4088195 and others); COCA-COLA bottle (USPTO Reg. No. 4200433 and others); GEICO GECKO (USPTO Reg. No. 3398021 and others); TIFFANY’S BLUE BOX (USPTO Reg. No. 2184128 and others); APPLE STORE (USPTO Reg. No.4021593); @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.