Wednesday, August 03, 2005

TTABlog Flotsam and Jetsam -- Issue No. 6

Eddie Cochrane was right: there ain't no cure for the Summertime Blues! The recent heat wave hit Boston like a cream pie, so I retreated to Cape Cod for a few days. That gave me a chance to empty out my "things-to-blog" folder.

Reading Material: A recent surfin' safari across the Internet yielded some interesting reading material. First, an article by Chad J. Doellinger of the Pattishall firm in Chicago, entitled "Recent Developments in Trademark Law: Confusion, Free Speech, and the Question of Use," 4 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 387 (2005). Mr. Doellinger asserts that, in 2004, "trademark rights continue to be refined (narrowed?) and reconnected to well-established doctrines. *** but with a new emphasis on free speech and free expression." However, the issue of trademark use "has brought uncertainty and instability back to trademark law for the first time since the early days of the internet."

Second, Glenn Gundersen provides his entertaining annual analysis of last year's trademark application filings at the PTO in 2005 Dechert LLP Annual Report on Trends in Trademarks. For example, he points out that poker-related filings rose dramatically in 2004 -- a rise that, as a parent of a college student, I find not so surprising.

Finding Older TTAB Decisions: The USPTO makes available at its website, in pdf form, copies of all final decisions of the TTAB issued since 1997. However, finding a particular decision can be a bit of a fishing expedition. TTABVUE will yield recent decisions. But for older ones, the angler must retreat to the TTAB website -- armed with the date of the decision or the relevant serial number or proceeding number -- and proceed through the "TTAB Summaries" or "TTAB Final Decisions" links.

Much more user-friendly is the Oblon, Spivak firm's online database/searching tool called "TTAB Explorer," where pdf versions of final TTAB decisions may be found for the period January 1998 to date -- currently a total of 4,042 decisions. The database is fully word-searchable.

Recently, Franklin Pierce Law Center, at its IP Mall, made available here a number of TTAB decisions for the period 1984 to 1996, in html form. However, the database is not complete by any means: e.g., for each of the years 1984 and 1985 there is only a single decision. [I've also found at least one link that leads to the wrong case.] Let's hope that the school continues with and completes this project soon.

Boston Patent Law Association Seminar: Yours truly will be one of three speakers at the August 17th seminar sponsored by the Corporate Practice Committee of the BPLA, entitled "Key IP Decisions of the Past Year and Their Implications for In-House Counsel." I will focus on the trademark area, while Tom Sullivan of Lowrie, Lando & Anastasi LLP will cover patents, and Cynthia D. Vreeland of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr will focus on trade secrets and ip litigation. Registration form here.

"Leo Stoller" in Wikipedia: The celebrity of Leo Stoller continues to grow. An article in the July 4th issue of the New York Times planted the seed. Then a "Leo Stoller" entry appeared in Wikipedia. That entry now includes a link to the Chilling Effects website, which provides annotated versions of two Stoller STEALTH cease-and-desist letters. I'm waiting for "Stoller" the musical to hit Broadway, featuring his own band, AIRFRAME®.

Text and photographs Copyright John L. Welch 2005. All Rights Reserved.


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