Bully for who?

Or should it be whom?  Anyway, my article on trademark bullying first published in January’s Intellectual Property Magazine and excerpted in this previous post, is now available free and easy for download, right here.

Here’s what the old bloggers would call the “money quote” on that excerpt, if I may. Please forgive the British spelling — it’s that kind of magazine.  Links are exclusive to here, though!:

[T]here are real bullies, real abuses of the system, exactly as the economic theory of “rent seeking” predicts there would be. The problem is well understood by consideration of one of the best-known trademarks in the US, and one deserving of great protection:  SUPER BOWL®, the name of the annual championship game in the National Football League (NFL). Like all IP owners holding premium “brand equity,” the NFL has in place an “enforcement programme” designed not only to protect its legitimate rights, but to establish a buffer zone of illegitimate, intimidation-based quasi-rights that have a very real effect because it is never economically rational to test them in court. Such a buffer zone establishes a zone of litigation-based (not legal-based, litigation-based) early warning triggers around the real rights, such that any purported infringer of the trademark – even a party making a protected fair use of the SUPER BOWL® mark – would have to traverse the hopelessly expensive no-man’s land of illegitimate litigation threats to establish his defense.

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Author:Ron Coleman

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5 Responses to “Bully for who?”

  1. February 7, 2011 at 3:26 am #

    Probably too late, but USPTO solicited for comments on this sort of bullying:

    http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/notices/litigation_tactics.jsp

    Deadline’s today. :)

  2. February 7, 2011 at 10:39 am #

    Yes, Dave, I mentioned this in the article. Thanks for the reminder that today is the deadline!

  3. February 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Good Morning Ron,
    I just read your “Bully for Who” piece, a nice contribution to the study
    conversation. A few items worth mentioning:
    -Vermonster is a Registered Trademark and your piece should recognize it as
    such. And second,

    -It is not AB that owns Monster Energy, they only distribute it. Hansen Corp is
    the owner and I had an interesting conversation with their attorney and many
    trademark attorneys before I asked our fans what they thought of the
    infringement case.

    Thanks for your interest in the study. I hope that justice and balance are
    brought back to the TM system. The small guy can no longer stand up for his or
    her rights, and that is wrong.
    Sincerely,
    Matt

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Kaiser Wahab - February 2, 2011

    RT @RonColeman: The Super Bowl of trademark bullying? http://www.likelihoodofconfusion.com/?p=7435 | LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®

  2. Nina H.Lanina - February 3, 2011

    RT @RonColeman Bully for who? http://bit.ly/gUzy0m

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