With the tournament about to begin, broadcasters, publishers and other businesses need to be wary about potential claims arising from their use of terms and logos associated with the tournament, including the well-known marks March Madness®, The Big Dance®, Final Four®, Women’s Final Four®, Elite Eight® and The Road to the Final Four® (with and without the word “The”), each of which is a federally registered trademark.
The time to apply for trademark registration for a “new podcast, radio interview show, video game, online magazine or mobile app” is when the product is still in the development stage by filing an intent-to-use or ITU.
AT&T has filed for a trademark for “AT&T TV” with the U.S Patent & Trademark Office, a possible signal that the telco will eventually move away from its current TV brand names, DirecTV and U-verse.
Last month, we posted some updated guidelines about engaging in or accepting advertising or promotions that directly or indirectly allude to the Super Bowl without a license from the NFL. Now, that is behind us (for another year), it is just in time to think about these issues in the context of the Winter Olympics.
The U.S. Supreme Court has invalidated the statutory bar against the federal registration of disparaging trademarks, on the ground that it violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional. What does this mean for businesses in general, including, in particular, broadcasters and the Washington National Football League franchise?
The justices ruled that a 71-year-old trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes free speech rights. The ruling is expected to help the Washington Redskins in its legal fight over the team name.
In addition to the monies it receives annually for the right to broadcast the Super Bowl, the NFL receives more than $1 billion in income from licensing the use of the Super Bowl trademark and logo. Not surprisingly, the league is extremely aggressive in protecting its golden goose from anything it views as unauthorized efforts to trade off the goodwill associated with the game. Broadcasters have latitude to use the phrase “Super Bowl” in their news and other editorial content, but they need to wary of engaging in advertising and promotion that the NFL may view as trademark or copyright infringement.
Once you have identified your marks and sought protection through registration for some or all of them, there are still going to be other issues that you will need to consider. Trademark owners have an obligation to police their marks and take steps to stop infringers. In extreme cases, the failure to police one’s marks may result in losing them entirely. The biggest issues in trademark protection today arise from the use of trademarks on the Internet. Here are some situations that you may encounter or want to think about.
There are many benefits of federally registering your trademarks. But having a few federal registrations under your belt doesn’t mean your task of building a valuable trademark portfolio is complete. There are several additional steps you can take to make sure you are managing your trademarks wisely and getting the most value from them.
Say the results of your clearance search have come back clean and, according to your trusted legal advisor, you should be able to use your trademark without worrying about being slapped with a demand letter. Why not just use your mark and save yourself the time and money it takes to obtain a federal registration? Quite simply, federal registration gives you many valuable benefits at an extremely low cost (the filing fee for a trademark application can be as low as $225), and it is the most cost effective way to protect your brand.
Identifying marks that you may use must be a key feature of your branding strategy. The reason is simple: you don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in a mark — building websites and social media campaigns around it, promoting it on air, creating bumper stickers, calendars, t-shirts, and other swag — only to get slapped with a demand letter from someone claiming that it owns the rights to that mark. Here are steps can you take to stay out of legal hot water.
In today’s digital economy, trademarks are often the most valuable assets that a business owns. This is the first of a five-part series designed to help you understand trademarks and how they function, so that you can maximize the value of your own trademark portfolio.
Advertising campaigns can be a source of legal liability for broadcasters when they merely allude to famous creative content that is protected under intellectual property laws.
Over the last several months, stations were reminded about the risks of publishing ads or engaging in promotional activities that use the terms Super Bowl or March Madness without first asking the NFL or the NCAA, respectively, for permission. With millions of viewers about to tune into the Olympic games in Rio this August, here’s a reminder that any Olympic trademarks, symbols or other branded content should not be used in advertising and marketing campaigns across any media platforms (on-air, websites, social media sites, in hashtags, apps, etc.) except by authorized advertisers.