As a litigator, I’ve been living with Bates-numbering, or Bates-stamping, for over 20 years. (I’m not the only one!) I have manually stamped documents using a Bates stamp.
These days we Bates-stamp (not “Bate-stamp”) electronically, mostly.
I noticed this when I was Bates-stamping a small supplemental document production using Adobe Acrobat today. It looks like this:
So, as a trademark lawyer, that made me a little curious. Because “Bates” sounds like — and is — a name, right? Proper name… a product… associated with one another…. what is that called again?
A trademark, maybe? Does a trademark belong in the Adobe menu like that?
Well, BATES is a common enough name that I wasn’t going to read every single BATES trademark registration. (For free, that is.) So in running down this issue, I only read the live ones. I didn’t find anything.
Strange, I thought. No one ever tried to protect the BATES numbering stamp trademark? Indeed, in the pictures of old Bates stamps I snagged off the Net for this piece, there is no indication of an effort to assert a trademark — an effort that, if applied diligently, would probably have been succesful.
But I had to make sure… and, wait a minute!
I had spied this version of the Bates stamp in several pictures. Finally, I found this clear shot of a Bates stamp bearing the mark BATES with a “circle-R” trademark registration symbol! Ah… Bates® … Royall®! Circle-R! You can in fact buy one even today.
Not really, it seems. Or not quite. Read More…