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Big Money at Stake Over "12th Man" Trademark in Football

February 13, 2014,

football.jpgOrange County - Lately, it has been hard to miss the reigning Superbowl Champion Seattle Seahawks' "12th Man" signs, banners and cheers across TV, the internet, and social media. Popular as it may be, the term famously associated with the Seahawks was originally coined by the student body of Texas A&M University, with the school going so far as to federally register the "12th Man" trademark in 1990. Now, with the Seahawk's recent success and accompanying use of the phrase, licensing negotiations between the athletic organizations are heating up.

According to longstanding Texas A&M history, the term "12th Man" came about in 1922 when head football coach Dana X. Bible called an A&M basketball player, E. King Gill, out of the stands to suit up to play. Though Gill never ended up playing a single down for the Aggies, his story carried on for years as from that point on, the student body has referred to themselves as the "12th Man" on the field.

By the early 2000s, when Seattle Seahawks fans regularly began referring to themselves as the 12th Man, Texas A&M took note. In 2006, the university commenced a lawsuit against the Seahawks for trademark infringement. The teams ended up settling, with the Seahawks paying a $100,000 lump sum to Texas A&M for its use of the trademark, along with a five year license, renewable for an additional five year term, at a fee of $5000 per year. That deal included a variety of limitations, including a geographical restraint that prevents the Seahawks from using the term anywhere outside of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington.

With the deal ending in 2016, several reports are indicating that the Seahawks are already in talks with Texas A&M to ensure extension of the license. Since the original agreement was made before the takeoff of social media, where much of the 12th Man frenzy has taken place, it is unclear how the teams will work out the problem of geography. While Texas A&M has demonstrated its dedication to keeping the trademark in effect in Texas and its surrounding areas, it may be facing a problem of enforceability now that the Seattle 12th man has become so popular.

Additionally, given the current contract's provision prohibiting the Seahawks from using the 12th Man on fan merchandise, if Seattle wishes to really cash in from the 12th Man retail market, they are going to have to pay up. Initial chatter surrounding the settlement discussions put the license renegotiation fee in the six figure range.

Ford and Tesla Clash Over "Model E" Trademark

January 10, 2014,

ford.jpgOrange County - Two of the world's most well known car manufacturers are going head to head over the trademark right to the name "Model E." Records on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) show that on August 5, 2013, Tesla Motors, Inc. filed a trademark application for "Model E," in several classes of goods, including that for " Automobiles and structural parts therefor." This was enough to sufficiently stir up Ford's attorneys and Ford, in turn, filed its own application for the same name on December 3, 2013.

While Ford never actually made a Model E automobile, they may have a viable claim to a historical right in the name, due to its classic formula of naming cars "Model" with a single letter following. Ford historically rolled out the Model T in 1908, which was the first car to ever be produced for the masses by assembly line. Besides the most famous Model T, Ford also produced the Models A, B, C, F, K, N, R, S, T and Y between the years 1903 and 1938.

Oddly enough, while Ford never officially used the "Model E" moniker as a name for an automobile, Tesla also has yet to formally announce that it will be using the name. The public has been awaiting the unveiling of the new Tesla model to follow the widely popular Tesla Model S. With relatively little information about the upcoming model, car enthusiasts and bloggers simply started referring to the yet-to-be seen Tesla as the "Model E". The name caught on and so did Tesla, which despite filing several trademark applications for the "Model E," have yet to announce that the next addition to the Tesla lineup will indeed bear the moniker.

The upcoming Tesla "Model E" is speculated to be a much more affordable version of the successful Model S, set to compete with the BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class, at a price of about $35,000. The much anticipated "Model E-veryone", as some have begun calling it, will be the fourth production car by the California-based car company. Whether or not Tesla is able to win out the fight against Ford for the "Model E" trademark, it appears that Tesla enthusiasts will be ready to buy it when it finally arrives.

Auburn Coach Seeks Trademark Protection For "Hurry Up No Huddle"

November 26, 2013,

football.jpgOrange County - A trademark application filed on November 13th with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) reveals Auburn University football's head coach's intent to trademark his signature approach, "Hurry Up No Huddle". The application was filed through the Auburn Tigers' head coach Gus Malzahn's limited liability company and seeks protection over the phrase, which refers to Malzahn's well known up-tempo style of play.

According to filing documents, Malzahn applied for protection in two separate classes, specifically in those covering clothing and glassware. Though his trademark lawyers filed the application based on an "intent to use" the phrase in connection with the goods, shirts displaying the phrase are already being sold in stores and online. A quick web search shows that J&M Bookstore, a retail outpost which has been "serving Auburn students, alumni and fans for over 58 years," is offering the shirts for $17.99. The t-shirts show the phrase "Hurry Up No Huddle" underneath the Auburn University logo and on the back are the words, "Quit Your Whining (You Get 3 Time-Outs)."

The "Hurry Up No Huddle" offensive style has long been associated with Malzahn , even years before he took his post as the Auburn University Tigers' head coach earlier in 2013. In 2003, while he was a coach at Springdale High School in Arkansas, he published his book entitled, " The Hurry-Up, No-Huddle: An Offensive Philosophy." According to the book, Coach Malzahn officially began incorporating the hurry-up, no-huddle philosophy into his offense during his time at Shiloh Christian High School beginning in 1997. During his time at Shiloh, his teams averaged approximately 7,000 yards per season using his quick offensive style. After taking that team to two state championships, he went on to do the same at Springdale High School, before becoming the Offensive Coordinator at the University of Arkansas.

The Auburn Tigers currently rank number four in offense in college football, with much of the program's success being attributed to the "Hurry Up No Huddle" mentality. The team is second in rushing yards this season and has an impressive 10-1 record. Given the sensation of his signature style and how integral it has been to the success of all of his football teams, the potential for "Hurry Up No Huddle" as a brand is obviously something that the famed coach has picked up on. While the USPTO has yet to issue any disposition with regard to the application, it will be interesting to see how this filing fares in the now commonplace trend of athletes and coaches trademarking their namesake nicknames, slogans, and styles. The Hurry Up No Huddle may have its ultimate test coming up this weekend as Auburn plays the top ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl.

The Rush of "Boston Strong" Trademark Applications Has Begun

April 30, 2013,

registered R.jpgOrange County - In the aftermath of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon attack, no less than 8 separate trademark applications containing the words "Boston Strong" have been filed with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The phrase became a popular credo for Bostonians who gathered to show support for one another during a difficult time.

Two of these applications, Serial No. 85,906,569 filed by Born Into It, Inc. for "clothing and accessories" and Serial No. 85,906,495 filed by an Allston, Massachusetts individual for "Imprinting messages on wearing apparel, accessories and mugs" were filed as quickly as two days after the tragedy. The Allston Massachusetts individual has already expressly abandoned that application. Then, on April 20, 2013, three additional applications were filed by individuals in Oxford, Connecticut, New Port Richey, Florida and Brockton, Massachusetts all for apparel items. On April 22, 2013 two more applications were filed and there could be more because it takes about a week for the applications to show up online.

The bad news for those filing a BOSTON STRONG application after April 18th is that the Born Into It Application filed on April 17th will stand in the way of registration. So, that will likely knock out all but one Application filed for BOSTON STRONG COFFEE.

Another problem the applicants face is that the BOSTON STRONG phrase has recently come into widespread usage, so it will likely be very difficult to enforce trademark rights even if the trademark registered. Beyond these issues, most of the applications were filed on an intent to use basis and the applicants likely do not realize that merely printing words on a t-shirt or hat is not considered trademark use by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Instead, a trademark must act as a source identifier, so to be accepted as a specimen of use the trademark must be used on a label or hang tag.

A final issue is that most people will view the rush to register the trademark as in bad taste. The public view of any efforts to enforce rights to the BOSTON STRONG trademark by way of a cease and desist letter or by litigation would likely be viewed in an even dimmer light.

While it is not uncommon for individuals to rush out to file trademark applications involving the newest fad or latest news, as most if not all of these applicants will soon realize it is rarely a good idea.

"See Better Live Better" Trademark Generic According to Bausch & Lomb

April 16, 2013,

eye.jpgOrange County - Bausch & Lomb Inc., well-known optical innovators since the early 1900's, recently filed a counterclaim seeking cancellation of a trademark in a lawsuit in which Bausch & Lomb was sued for trademark infringement. The trademark at issue is "See better Live Better".

The Plaintiff in the lawsuit is Stuart J. Kaufman, M.D., a Florida Ophthalmologist who owns SEE BETTER LIVE BETTER U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3,917,064 for physician services in the field of ophthalmology. Mr. Kaufman is seeking injunctive relief as well as damages from Bausch & Lomb's use of the phrase "See better. Live better" in advertising and on its web site.

The original complaint against Bausch & Lomb was filed in February. In response to being sued, Bausch & Lomb decided to file the counterclaim against Dr. Kaufman asserting that SEE BETTER LIVE BETTER is a generic term in the industry of eye care and therefore the trademark should be cancelled by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. In the counterclaim, Bausch & Lomb states that many others in the eye care industry are using the slogan or similar slogans and therefore "No one party should have exclusive rights to this popular phrase." In its counterclaim Bausch & Lomb states that "See Better Live Better is generic for eye services that help people see better so that they can live better."

While it may be a stretch to say that the trademark is inherently generic, Bauch & Lomb can still be successful in cancelling the trademark if it can prove that it is in widespread use. Examples of trademarks that became generic over time are ASPIRIN and CELLOPHANE. To support its claim that the trademark has become generic, the counterclaim lists many other uses of the trademark including uses by ophthalmologists that allegedly used the slogan prior to Mr. Kaufman. This is somewhat of a position pill argument in that Bausch & Lomb is arguing that it also is not entitled to trademark protection in the slogan. Considering this, it may be advisable for Bausch & Lomb to cease use of the phrase regardless of the merits of the claim.

Dr. Kaufman is accusing Bausch & Lomb of "reverse confusion." In other words, he is alleging that the public will believe that Bausch & Lomb is the true owner of the trademark which will lead the public to believe that Mr. Kaufman is the infringer rather than Bausch & Lomb.

Drug Maker Cannot Trademark Peppermint Flavor and Scent

March 6, 2013,

peppermint.jpgOrange County - Drug producer Pohl-Boskamp GmbH & Co. KG cannot trademark the peppermint scent and flavor of a nitroglycerin spray sold to help treat chest pain, according to a recent decision by the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

The TTAB ruled that the taste and smell of peppermint in the Nitrolingual Pumpspray is functional because the peppermint oil makes the spray more effective at treating chest pain due to angina and therefore it cannot be registered as a trademark. The board also ruled that the flavor and smell were not distinct enough to warrant trademark protection.

Pohl-Boskamp filed a trademark application for the peppermint scent and flavor of the Nitrolingual Pumpspray in 2010. The liquid is sprayed under the tongue and is used to help provide relief from an attack of angina pectoris, a form of chest pain brought on when the heart does not get the blood and oxygen it needs because of coronary heart disease.

The board pointed out that the Trademark Act does not bar scents and flavors from being trademarked, as the law describes a trademark as a "word, symbol or device" used to distinguish goods or services. However, the board said that Pohl-Boskamp did not prove that the scent and flavor of the Nitrolingual Pumpspray is deserving of a trademark.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board pointed to a patent owned by another company that indicates peppermint oil reduces side effects of nitroglycerin by increasing the rate at which it is absorbed into the bloodstream. This makes the peppermint functional and therefore not protectable by trademark. In other words, allowing the trademark to register would give Pohl-Boskamp a competitive advantage. "Competitors would either have to forgo using peppermint oil or find a way to mask the taste of the peppermint oil, if that were even possible," the board ruled.

The board also pointed out that Pohl-Boskamp's argument that the peppermint smell was "substantially exclusive" to its product was groundless, as the board found competing products with the same scent. The board ruled that since there are several competing products with a similar scent and flavor, consumers would perceive those characteristics as physical attributes of the product, not as indicators of the origin of the product.

"To allow applicant the exclusive right to market nitroglycerine formulations having the flavor of peppermint oil would impermissibly prevent the future use of therapeutic peppermint oil by others in applicant's field," the board concluded.

Tiffany Sues Costco for Trademark Infringement over Engagement Rings

February 19, 2013,

diamond_ring.jpgOrange County - Tiffany & Co. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp. claiming that the discount retail giant sold unauthorized diamond engagement rings with the Tiffany brand name.

The high-end jewelry maker claimed that it discovered Costco was using the Tiffany name to market and sell diamond engagement rings at its various retail locations across the United States through an internal investigation.

"Costco was able to sell... engagement rings falsely identified as 'Tiffany,' and thereby unlawfully trade on Tiffany's goodwill and brand awareness to increase its own sales," the complaint said.

Tiffany claimed that Costco's use of the Tiffany brand name harmed the high-end jewelry retailer by associating its high-end name with a budget retail chain. Tiffany also claimed that Costco purposely attempted to evade detection of its infringement by only selling and marketing the unauthorized Tiffany-branded engagement rings in stores and not promoting the rings online.

"The only place the Tiffany trademarks were displayed were on point of sale signs within a glass case in the jewelry departments of Costco warehouse stores, making them visible only to Costco members shopping for engagement rings in particular stores where the rings were displayed," Tiffany said.

Tiffany claims that Costco's use of its trademark in conjunction with the engagement rings it sold mislead customers to believe they were buying genuine Tiffany rings and caused them to see Costco as a retailer of fine jewelry products.

"Since these rings themselves were not Tiffany, the counterfeits made other non-branded jewelry in the same display case appear more valuable by comparison since those other items were, in fact, no different than what was falsely labeled as Tiffany," Tiffany said.

Tiffany addressed the alleged infringement with Costco in December and Costco agreed to cease using the Tiffany name in all of its store locations. However, Tiffany is still seeking Costco's profits from selling the alleged counterfeit goods, treble damages, and an order requiring Costco to make a public statement regarding its misconduct and to notify all purchasers of the rings that they had not bought authentic Tiffany jewelry.
Tiffany is accusing Costco of trademark infringement, counterfeiting, dilution, and false advertising.

H&R Block Sues Intuit for Trademark Infringement and False Advertising

January 28, 2013,

money-cut.jpgOrange County - Three units of H&R Block Inc. filed a lawsuit against TurboTax maker Intuit Inc. claiming that the company launched an advertising campaign that infringes H&R Block's trademark and misleads consumers as to the legitimacy of H&R Block's services.

H&R Block Eastern Services Inc., HRB Innovations Inc. and H&R Clock Enterprises LLC oppose the newest marketing campaign Intuit launched in order to promote the do-it-yourself tax return software for the upcoming tax season. H&R Block accused Intuit of airing advertisements that make unauthorized use the H&R Block trademark and falsely represent H&R Block's competence to file tax returns.

H&R Block claims it has spent over half a century building its trademark, which is strong, distinctive and famous. The complaint alleges that Intuit is using its trademark in order to degrade the company and enhance its own profits.

The complaint alleges its trademark is being used in the advertisements to compare services and to suggest that H&R Block recruits and employs tax preparers with no experience, who are not adequately trained or credentialed and are simply seasonal employees while TurboTax offers "real tax experts" to handle customer questions.

H&R Block also alleges that Intuit's advertising campaign attacks the reputation of H&R Block by suggesting that more people use, and therefore trust, TurboTax than H&R Block's traditional in-store services.

The complaint goes on to say that Intuit's "claims are unsupported and its actions are not innocent." It alleges that the campaign was timed to launch at the beginning of the tax season in order to maximize Intuit's benefit and to inflict the maximum amount of harm on H&R Block.

The complaint seeks immediate injunctive relief, claiming that if Intuit is allowed to continue its advertising campaign it will do irreparable harm to H&R Block. "Every day that the Campaign continues to run, Plaintiffs suffer great harm in that Defendant's misinformation may lure an untold number of consumers to Defendant's product, dissuade consumers from seeking Plaintiffs' services, or both," the complaint said.

H&R Block claims monetary remedies are not sufficient, as each current customer of H&R Block that is duped by the advertising campaign is likely to be a customer lost for life, as tax preparers tend to use the same method every year. Though, the complaint does ask for Intuit's profits that were obtained by its deceptive ads and for other damages.

Johnny Manziel Fights to Trademark his Popular Nickname

November 20, 2012,

football.jpgOrange County - Texas A&M and the Manziel family are working to trademark quarterback Johnny Manziel's nickname "Johnny Football," but someone else has already claimed it.

The freshman quarterback has the 9th ranked Aggies at 9-2, thanks to the 21 touchdowns he has thrown and the 17 he has rushed for this season. His popularity hit an all-time high recently when he led the Aggies to a 29-24 victory over the then No. 1 ranked Alabama two weeks ago.

Texas A&M is not interested in obtaining the trademark to make money, but rather to prevent anyone else from using it. In order to protect Manziel's eligibility as an armature player, the NCAA forbids Texas A&M and the family from profiting from any merchandise that can be linked to Manziel. The NCAA also expects the university to prevent other vendors from profiting from merchandise associated with amateur players.

Preventing vendors from profiting from the trademark could prove difficult. Texas A&M discovered that Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, located in College Station, Texas, applied for the "Johnny Football" trademark to use on athletic wear, footballs, and video games on the first of this month. The attorney of record did not return calls seeking comment on the application, but it appears he is not working with the university or the Manziel family.

Even if Texas A&M and the Manziel family are able to get the trademark from Kenneth R. Reynolds Family Investments, they will not be able to use the trademark in commerce for more than three years while Manziel is still playing college football, meaning it will be expensive to protect the trademark without being able to profit from it.

Though they are forbidden from selling merchandise with "Johnny Football," Texas A&M has found another way to capitalize on Manziel's popularity. They have begun selling "No. 2" jerseys in addition to the "No.1" and "No.12" jerseys they normally sell that are not associated with any specific players. And as the season progresses, the school is having a hard time keeping the "No.2" jerseys on the shelves.

John Geils Jr. Sues His Own Band For Trademark Infringement

August 15, 2012,

concert.jpgOrange County - Historically, the music business is a prime industry for trademark infringement lawsuits. For bands that sell tickets and make money based on the recognition and popularity of a band name, the ownership of that name can prove to be invaluable. And when bands or individual band members use a name without authorization, lawsuits usually follow. Such is the case with John Geils Jr. who has sued the other members of his band which is named after him. Geils Jr. announced through representatives that he has filed a complaint against The J. Geils Band for trademark infringement and deceptive business practices after the band decided to tour without him.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Boston and claims that Geils owns the J. Geils Band trademark. The defendants, Peter Wolf, Seth Justman, Magic Dick and Danny Klein are accused of "seeking to misappropriate and steal" the band name that has been in use since the 1960's. Apparently ownership of the band's copyrights are not in issue. The J. Geils Band is famous for its 1980's hits "Centerfold" and "Freeze Frame". Following a resurgence of 1980's music, many bands from the eighties have found a renewed popularity in recent years and have started touring again. With plans to start touring this year, the band began to argue about who actually owned the trademark rights to the band's name.

The Boston Globe reported that Geils was granted the trademark rights to the band name in 2009. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a registrant company named Francesca owns the rights to the band name for use with records, musical sound recordings, downloadable musical sound recordings, audiovisual recordings featuring music and musical entertainment, downloadable audiovisual recordings featuring music and musical entertainment, clothing, shirts, t-shirts, entertainment services, and periodic live musical performances. However, the band claims that Geils registered the trademark without consulting the other band members. A separate trademark application was filed for The J. Geils Band this year by T&A Research & Development Corp but it recently received an Office Action due to the prior registration and very likely will not register.

Tennessee Pastor Sent To Jail Over Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

August 3, 2012,

church.jpgOrange County - A Tennessee Pastor was arrested for violating a court order related to a trademark infringement lawsuit with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Walter McGill was apprehended in Loma Linda California on July 13th and turned over to San Bernardino County Law enforcement.

McGill initially drew the attention of the Seventh-day Adventist Church when he named his small Tennessee church "Creation Seventh Day Adventist Church". At the same time, McGill claimed that he was an Adventist pastor. However, after various checks, this claim could not be substantiated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. Consequently, legal counsel for the church sent a cease and desist letter in 2005 asking McGill to discontinue using the Seventh-day Adventist name on his church buildings and associated websites. McGill took no action. A year later, the church filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against McGill in Tennessee District Court. The trademark was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1981 and all uses must be approved by the world church headquarters, which keeps a detailed list of all approved uses.

During the course of litigation, McGill declined to attend a court-ordered settlement conference and the case was subsequently dismissed. McGill appealed his case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that his was not a case of trademark infringement, but rather it was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The court ruled that the act did not apply and McGill lost his appeal. Shortly thereafter, McGill filed a writ of certiorari to have his case heard by the Supreme Court. This request was also denied. During the course of McGill's appeals, the court ordered the removal of signs using the Seventh-day Adventist trademark and sent marshals to McGill's property to enforce the order. The Tennessee pastor immediately put the signs back up.

In May 2012, McGill was found to be in contempt of court for his failure to comply with the court's order to remove the offending signs and a warrant was issued for his arrest. McGill was subsequently arrested at Loma Linda University in Loma Linda, California. Seventh-day Adventist officials have emphasized that McGill was not arrested for freedom of speech or religion, but for his violation of a court order to cease his unauthorized use of the Seventh-day Adventist trademark.

Kevin Durant Sued For Trademark Infringement Over Durantula Nickname

June 26, 2012,

basketball.jpgOrange County - Kevin Durant fans are known to refer to him as Durantula. The name became so popular that it soon began popping up on posters, pictures and even shoes. However, according to Mark Durante, the name Durantula belongs to him, and the use, regardless of how temporary, is a trademark infringement. To protect his trademarked name, Mark Durante is suing Panini, Nike and Kevin Durant over the use of the trademark. Durante is seeking an injunction to prevent the involved parties from using his trademarked term, as well as monetary damages.

Part of the goal of trademark protection is to protect specific terms, names or other words and to prevent a likelihood of consumer confusion. Mark Durante, a musician who plays guitar for groups such as Public Enemy, The Next Big Thing, KMFDM and others, claims that he has been using Durantula as his stage persona for over 20 years. His website Durantula.com has been in continuous use for ten years. Durante asserts that he took the time and paid the proper fees to have the name trademarked in order to assure its use would be protected. Consequently, he considers the name Durantula a very important part of his stage presence and vows to protect it to the fullest extent of the law.

Kevin Durant, a popular forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA, claims that he never authorized, agreed to, or called himself by the nickname Durantula. However, despite his insistence, he has refused requests to stop using the name. In the wake of a showering of fans using the term Durantula as synonymous with his aggressive basketball persona, Durant has obviously accepted its use by fans and promoters. Autographed basketballs, posters and pictures are currently being sold by Panini America and are available on Durant's website. Mark Durante claims that his trademarked term Durantula is also being used by Durant on memorabilia and to promote a line of Nike shoes.

Angie's List Files Trademark Infringement Lawsuit Against Competitor ServiceMagic

June 8, 2012,

internet.jpgOrange County - The popular contractor and services review company, Angie's List, filed a lawsuit in federal court last week against its competitor ServiceMagic. The trademark infringement lawsuit alleges that its rival is illegally using sponsored links and purchased keywords owned by Angie's List. ServiceMagic is also being accused of using Angie's List trademarks in its web-based sponsored links and advertisements.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, includes nine counts. Among other things, ServiceMagic is being accused of trademark infringement, disparagement and dilution, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. The Indianapolis based company is seeking an injunction and monetary damages for loss of revenue and possible irreparable harm to its reputation. A trial is expected in the upcoming weeks, with a decision most likely handed down in July.

Angie's List is a business review website that allows members to share experiences and give feedback on contractors and other service based companies. Based in Indianapolis and established in 1997, Angie's List owns four trademarks for its name alone. Considering itself the premier word-of-mouth network, its website is dedicated to consumers who wish to share real-life experiences regarding local service companies. Over 40,000 service reports are submitted each month describing response time, prices and quality of work. Though it does not claim to conduct background checks or licensing verification, Angie's list does have a staff dedicated to ensuring reviews are accurate and up-to-date.

ServiceMagic is owned by IAC, the owner of such web-based enterprises as Ask.com, Match.com and Vimeo. Located near Denver, Colorado, ServiceMagic considers itself the nation's leading website for connecting consumers with screened and approved local service professionals. The website ServiceMagic.com draws over 4 million consumer views per month. With over 80,000 costumer-rated service professionals, ServiceMagic's website can be used to find home improvement contractors, remodelers, cleaning services, handymen, landscapers and other home or business service professionals. ServiceMagic considers itself unique from Angie's List because its listed professionals carry a "Seal of Approval" and undergo a rigorous screening process. ServiceMagic also conducts criminal background checks and licensing verification for all of its listed professionals.

Jeremy Lin To Be Sole Owner of 'Linsanity' Trademark

June 4, 2012,

basketball.jpgOrange County - The various individuals who filed 'Linsanity' trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in February 2012 will be narrowed down to one remaining applicant. Jeremy Lin's trademark application for 'Linsanity' will be the only one granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Although many applications still show a 'live' status, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued office actions which state the reason for the refusals to anyone other than Jeremy Lin. An office action in one of the 'Linsanity' applications states, "Registration is refused because the applied-for trademark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with Jeremy Lin. Although Jeremy Lin is not connected with the goods provided by applicant under the applied-for trademark, the term LINSANITY has been so widely used in connection with Jeremy Lin that consumers would presume a connection to Mr. Lin if they see the term LINSANITY on the identified goods."

The popularity associated with New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin in February 2012 caused the frenzy that became known as 'Linsanity'. The Knicks guard went from being a bench player to ultimately saving the game on February 4, 2012 against the New Jersey Nets and contributed 25 points that resulted in a win for the Knicks. After this game several applicants filed applications to trademark the term 'Linsanity'. Jeremy Lin soon followed and is listed as the owner in the live trademark applications for 'Jeremy Lin', 'Linsanity', and 'JLin'.

Pamela Deese, Lin's trademark attorney stated of the U.S. Patent and Trademark's decision, "We're delighted" and "This is the right result." "It's not only Linsanity, but all Lin-related trademarks. Having a clean slate with rights in place makes it a lot easier to negotiate licenses and endorsements deals."

Lin, the first Taiwanese American to play in the National Basketball Association, has recently taken a medical leave hiatus from the NBA due to a tear in his left meniscus. Despite the recovery time from his knee injury, Lin is said to still be a part of the New York Knicks team even though his future with the Knicks has recently been questioned since Lin is a restricted free agent. Glen Grunwald, the General Manager for the New York Knicks, stated of the 23 year old, "We can keep him if we want him, and we do want to keep him, and I believe that Jeremy had a great experience here. I believe he wants to come back."

Either way, we can be sure that there will be more "Linsanity" in the future.

Adidas Sues Orange County Based World Industries for Trademark Infringement

May 24, 2012,

shoes.jpgOrange County - Adidas filed a lawsuit against World Industries for infringing on multiple of its three parallel diagonal-striped design trademarks. Germany's Adidas as well as Adidas America, which is based out of Portland, Oregon, filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court, District of Oregon for alleged trademark infringement. Adidas accuses World Industries, a skateboard company based in Costa Mesa, California, of producing the infringing sneakers. Adidas is also suing Big 5, the sporting goods store, for selling the product.

While Adidas is the world's second largest sporting goods company it is no stranger to similar lawsuits. In previous years Adidas filed similar lawsuits against Wal-Mart Stores and Payless ShoeSource for selling "knock-off" shoes that have two, three, and four parallel diagonal stripes. In fact, Adidas was awarded a $65.3 million by a federal judge in its trademark lawsuit against Wal-Mart. The two companies later settled on a confidential amount.

Adidas trademarked the three parallel diagonal-striped designs in the United States in 1994 but claims use as early as 1952. A spokesperson representing Adidas stated: "World Industries' merchandise is likely to cause consumer confusion, deceive the public regarding its source, and dilute and tarnish the distinctive quality of Adidas' Three-Stripe Mark."

Many of World Industries' products display a "W" on the product. However, the alleged knock-off shoes' "W" is positioned in a way that Adidas states is a certain way to confuse the consumer. The "W" on the shoes in question has three pointed tips that are shaped similar to arrows.

Big 5, based in El Segundo, California is not only being accused of selling the infringing shoes but they are also being accused of promoting the shoes in large advertisements as well as "strategically" placing the World Industries shoes near Adidas shoes in its stores. In the complaint, Adidas included advertisements as exhibits to support its claims.

Adidas is seeking that the sale and production of the alleged infringing shoes stop immediately and that all of these shoes be destroyed. Adidas is also seeking monetary damages. A representative for World Industries could not be reached and a representative of Big 5 had no comment.