When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour Note

When Trademark Registration Hits a Sour NoteBlack Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am wasn’t singing “Happy” when he sought legal action against Oscar-nominated music producer Pharrell Williams. Will.i.am accused his fellow musician of not respecting the intellectual property rights of others while alluding to an ongoing dispute Pharrell and Robin Thicke are having with Marvin Gaye over the hit song “Blurred Lines.”

Will.i.am’s gripe stemmed from a trademark application Pharrell filed to secure his interest in his brand I AM OTHER. In their own words: “The I Am Other mark means ‘I am something else,’ leaving what that ‘else’ is to the imagination of the consumer… It certainly does not mean ‘I am Will’ or in any way suggest defendants’ or the will.i.am mark.” All that can be translated to mean: consumers looking at goods bearing Pharrell’s I AM OTHER would likely confuse them as originating from will.i.am.

In his his defense, Williams asserted will.i.am would have a hard time proving he controlled the “I Am” trademark pointing out the existence of the famed Dr. Seuss character Sam I Am as well as the 146 other artists who use the “I Am” construction in their monikers. The parties ultimately settled outside of court though Pharrell commented he found the whole thing “ridiculous” telling Rolling Stone Magazine, “I am disappointed that Will, a fellow artist, would file a case against me,” he said. “I am someone who likes to talk things out and, in fact, I attempted to do just that on many occasions.”

Share your opinion on this trademark law issue with us! And, as always, if you have any patent, trademark, copyright, or other intellectual property related questions, don’t hesitate to contact us by calling: (310) 276-6664. 

The Omni Legal Group was founded in Los Angeles, California by Omid Khalifeh. Mr. Khalifeh is a published attorney who has experience dealing with a wide variety of intellectual property issues. He has worked on matters for Fortune 500 companies and represents clients in disputes involving copyrightstrademarkspatents, trade secrets, and cyberlaw disputes. Mr. Khalifeh received his Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Juris Doctorate from the Chapman University School of Law where he was awarded a full tuition scholarship to attend. He is the author of The Gene Wars: Science, the Law and the Human Genome (Loyola Law Review) and has been invited to speak at conferences across the country about changes in intellectual property law.

Share!!!

Business Basics: Trade Dress

This week we thought it’d be a good idea to look at one of the most important parts of a product’s branding, its trade dress. You are affected by trade dress every single day, whether you realize it or not. If we describe a white coffee cup with a green circle on it, you’ll know it’s from Starbucks. Or if we show you a bag with a red square and yellow arches, you’ll think McDonalds. Essentially, trade dress is the various characteristics that make up a product’s or package’s appearance. But how do you protect your own trade dress? And does building a brand mean marrying that packaging?

Trade Dress

We bet you still know what company this is.

Why should you build trade dress recognition?
Because your company needs a way to immediately distinguish itself. Your brand embodies all of the goodwill and trust you’ve built into your company, and something as simple as a color, font, or even the shape of your product’s box can evoke all of those feelings within whatever customer is looking at your product. That’s why you want your trade dress to be consistent over all of your properties. Your logo, signage, site, and product packaging should all be built around some common element that inextricably ties your business with your product or service.

Continue reading

Share!!!

The Right Domain Name for Your Business Might Be Just Around the Corner

domain nameThe web as we know it is changing. A huge revolution is underway that will drastically alter the way we experience the internet. Is your business ready?

We’re talking, of course, about the plethora of new domain name extensions rolling out! For years website owners have been dealing with a dwindling supply of short, easy-to-remember domain names because so many .com’s and .net’s were bought up.

Starting now, though, you can choose from hundreds of brand new extensions tailor made to help potential customers searching the web find businesses like yours.

How Do They Work?

The days of limited choice about your website’s domain name are over.

With the gradual rollout of more than 700 new domain extensions, the internet is opening up like never before. If you really wanted TopNotchTennis.com but it was taken, now you can register TopNotch.tennis and customers will know exactly what they’re getting when they click on your link.

Here are some examples of what you can expect:

Business: These domain extensions relate to a vertical or an industry. Examples: .app, .shop, .ventures, and .lawyer.

Geographic: Anything related to a region or other geographical location like a city, country, or even continents. Examples: .tokyo, .irish, and .africa.

Community: These extensions deal with any type of community like a group, organization, club, or any other gathering. Examples: .fitness, .tennis, and .club.

Generic: There are even tons of extensions that don’t necessarily fit into a sub-genre. Examples: .free, .fun, .ninja, and .win.

These are just a small sample of the new domain extensions that will follow the handful already available for pre-registration (.luxury, .build, .uno, and .menu). Start brainstorming now so you can get the name and extension you want.

GoDaddy Has Your Back!

Not sure how all this works but know you desperately need a new website name? Don’t worry – we know how it is, and we’re here to help. First, head on over to the GoDaddy Extensions Page and start poking around.

There you’ll see the hundreds of extensions that have been unveiled so far. You can select some of your favorites and decide on one that would work best for your business. We’ll let you know when the extension(s) you are following are available for pre-registration. This way you’re sure to find a website name that will reel in new customers and keep old ones coming back for more.

Your customers want to find you. GoDaddy has your back!

This guest post is courtesy of GoDaddy® contributing writer Jennifer Dunn. As the Web’s top platform for small businesses, GoDaddy can help you easily start, confidently grow, and successfully run your own venture. 

 

Share!!!

Business Basics – Copyrights

Protecting your intellectual property is a vital part of protecting your business. Your intellectual property will essentially define your brand – the very element of your business that consumers associate with all of the goodwill you’ve built into your business. We’ve already talked about trademarks, but this week we decided to look at the other half of intellectual property protection; the copyright. So what exactly is a copyright? And what does registering a copyright even protect?

Copyright Symbol

Copyright Symbol

What is a copyright?

Copyright protection actually dates all the way back to the advent of the printing press. After its invention, it was much easier to copy and sell books. But the printing press also meant that rebellious literature could also be produced much more quickly. This, combined with the threat to the livelihood of the creators of the works being printed, meant the government began to license shops with the right to print copy – and thus the copyright was born. As the decades passed copyright protection became more about protecting the artist, and less about stifling rebellious text, and today we continue to use copyright protections to enforce the rights creators have to their work.

Continue reading

Share!!!

How to Protect Your Business Trademark

Most business owners realize that the marketing slogans, logos, and other trademarks and service marks used by their company are extremely valuable commodities. The amount of time, effort, and dollars that go into establishing these things can add up quickly and pay off huge with a brand that reaches large amounts of valuable customers.

But just like any other asset, these things need to be actively protected in order to keep that money from going to waste.

What Is a Trademark?

First, it’s important to understand exactly what you’re protecting.
Continue reading

Share!!!

R is for Registered Trademark and Copyright

This week’s letter-based-topic might seem like a stretch since, really, the subjects are trademarks and copyrights – neither of which begin with an r. But putting registered in front of those terms is not just a cop-out that a lazy writer has used to fit with a weekly theme. There are actually very important distinctions between registered and unregistered intellectual properties.

Technically, you do not have to register trademarked or copyrighted property. An unregistered trademark simply needs the little  symbol next to it and, voilà, the property is unofficially trademarked. You can even establish a proprietary right to the mark by using it in the market.

The same general principle is also applicable to copyrights. When the United States signed onto the Berne Convention in the late 80′s, it effectively agreed to see an author copyrighting his or her work as an automatic right. That means that, thanks to the Berne Convention, no registration is required to copyright something in the United States.
Continue reading

Share!!!

Does Pinterest Have A Future?

Pinterest has received quite a bit of positive attention, mainly due to its filling of the niche demographic of younger women, but is it destined for social media greatness, or will it fizzle and be sent to the same grave that MySpace and Google+ have been relegated to?

In the hopes of answering these questions, Social Media Today is hosting a webinar to discuss how Pinterest made such a splash, how it will mesh with other social media juggernauts, and what the future of the new kid on the block will hold. Our very own CEO Deborah Sweeney will appear on the panel to give her expertise regarding the legal concerns of the service. Mrs. Sweeney has also written for Social Media Today on the copyright woes Pinterest may soon face.

The webinar will be held tomorrow, March 13th starting at 12:00pm EST/9:00am PST. You have to register to attend, which you can do here, but the webinar is completely free for anyone interested.

Share!!!

Catch Deborah Sweeney's Trademark Protection Free Webinar Today!

Don’t forget! This week our very own Deborah Sweeney will be featured on Ventureneer for a free webinar on “Protecting Your Brand: Trademarks, Copyrights, and the Internet.”

In this webinar Deborah will explain simply (minus difficult legal jargon):

  • Checking out competitive brand uses
  • Determining trademark availability
  • Nationwide protection for your brand and logo
  • What needs to be protected when it comes to your brand

“Protecting Your Brand: Trademarks, Copyrights, and the Internet” is open to anyone interested in business but is highly recommended to those newly forming.

The webinar will take place Wed. December 14, 2011 at 12n – 1pm ET and is free of charge.

Share!!!