Property, intangible

a blog about ownership of intellectual property rights and its licensing


  • The TTAB Comes to Boston

    John Welch has done his usual stellar job of convincing the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to come to Boston to conduct a hearing.  Sponsored by the Trademark Committee of the Boston Patent Law Association, the Board will sit at the Northeastern University School of Law on April 29th in the afternoon.  The case is […] Continue reading

  • When You Should Hire an Investigator

    This case just stinks. I can’t say it’s wrongly decided, it just seems so unfair. The dispute is over ownership of the trademark ZORLAC for skateboards and apparel. Opposer Jeff Newton started a skateboard business in 1976 under the ZORLAC mark, incorporating in 1986. 1984 ad But shortly thereafter he was in financial trouble. He […] Continue reading

  • Who’s the Baddest Chicks?

    (click to enlarge) You’re an administrative judge with the TTAB.  The entity with the logo second from the left on the bottom of the poster owns a registration for “ATL’s Baddest Chicks.” The entity with the logo on the left, the domain name “” and the phone number 404-607-8772 claims to be the owner of […] Continue reading

  • Unintended Consequences

    It may make business sense to put ownership of related trademarks in different subsidiaries.  Under In re Wella, one can generally register similar marks owned by sibling companies, as long as it’s done properly. But In re Koolatron Corp. discloses a risk I hadn’t thought about before, that is, that the registrations won’t serve the […] Continue reading

  • When Do You Exist?

    Once I did some legal research on unincorporated associations. How do you know when you have one? Is your regular Friday night poker game an unincorporated association?  (My aunt played poker with the same people for 50 years – surely that was an unincorporated association.) What about when members change, what happens then? When does […] Continue reading

  • Yes, I Might Have

    Petitioners, circa 1988 John Welch at the TTABlog added a new category, “Would You Have Petitioned?” In the case of Augustine’s Spiritual Goods, Inc. v. Augustine’s Eternal Gifts, LLC, maybe I would have. The decision as argued and decided was a no-brainer, but it looks like there’s a disconnect between the case that was argued […] Continue reading

  • Fraud is Very Popular

    John Welch at the TTABlog asks, would you have opposed? It’s another case where a claim of fraud was premised on the theory that the applicant wasn’t the owner of the mark. The applicant Galaxy Metal Gear, Inc. Direct Access Technology, Inc. (DAT) applied for METAL GEAR for hard drive enclosures.  It had them manufactured […] Continue reading

  • Fraud is Really Hard to Prove

    The TTABlog reports on a case involving a fairly common type of dispute, between a manufacturer and importer, albeit with a twist.  I’ll elaborate a little more on the claim that relates to the ownership of the mark. The importer was the registrant of the mark ZYTNIA for vodka; the Polish manufacturer filed a petition […] Continue reading

  • Does the Parent Own the Mark?

    The TTABlog reports on a decision invoking In re Wella to try to escape a likelihood of confusion refusal. In re Wella is a 1986 Federal Circuit decision which held that corporate family members (in that case, parent and subsidiary) may own substantially similar marks without a likelihood of confusion so long as there is […] Continue reading

  • Who Owns the Chirp?

    The TTAB recently decided a case about the registrability of a “chirp” made by Motorola phones. Motorola filed an application to register “an electronic chirp consisting of a tone at 1800 Hz played at a cadence of 24 milliseconds ON, 24 ms OFF, 24 ms ON, 24 ms OFF, 48 ms ON.” Nextel Communications opposed […] Continue reading