Monday, January 23, 2006

TTABlog Update on Leo Stoller and Companies

Requests for Extension of Time to Oppose: Leo Stoller's recent burst of activity at the TTAB has brought him to the attention of many unsuspecting trademark practitioners. In the last two months or so, Stoller's companies have filed approximately 444 requests for extension of time to oppose, aimed at a vast array of marks. One by-product of this aggressive foray has been a noticeable and welcome increase in traffic at the TTABlog, as applicants and their counsel surf the Internet to find out more about Stoller and his companies. The TTABlog first noted the Stoller TTAB activity last month and discussed it here and here.

A review of those extension requests should perhaps begin with a recitation of a few more statistics. Most of the requests have been filed in the name of Sentra Industries, Inc.: by my count, 339 extension requests since Dec. 10, 2005. [A search of the TEAS database fails to reveal any trademark registrations owned by that company. Stoller does, however, offer to license hundreds of purported marks at his rentamark website. See in particular his "e-marks" webpages].

In November and December, Stoller also filed extension requests in the name of Central Mfg. Co., Central Mfg. Inc., or Central Mfg. Co. (Inc.): 70 requests since November 1, 2005.

And finally, the entity called Stealth Industries, Inc. filed 35 extension requests since December 2, 2005.

The details may be found, of course, at the TTABVUE database by entering the words Sentra, Stealth, and Central Mfg. in the "party" box, or the word Stoller in the "correspondent" box. Among the Applicants whom Stoller has targeted are Whoopi Goldberg (MAKIN' WHOOPI), Jimmy Buffett (ONE PARTICULAR LAGER), and Donald Trump (10 marks, 9 of which comprise or include the word TRUMP). Major corporations in his sights include Nike, Comcast, DaimlerChrysler, Hershey, IBM, Hyundai, Hitachi, Konica Minolta, Michelin, Sun Microsystems, Johnson & Johnson, BP, the BBC, DreamWorks, Nasdaq, Target, Cheeseborough-Pond's, Wal-Mart, and Conagra. Also joining in the fun and games are the Dallas Cowboys, FIFA, and the Australian Football League.

If Mr. Stoller proceeds to file all of these oppositions, the filing fees alone will amount to more than $120,000, even assuming that each application is opposed in a single class. Beginning around February 1, we will begin to see whether Mr. Stoller puts his money where his mouse is.

Stoller Bankruptcy Filing: Lance Johnson of the Washington, D.C. firm of Roylance, Abrams, Berdo & Goodman, L.L.P., reports that in December 2005 Mr. Stoller filed for bankruptcy protection in the federal court in Chicago. (here, with links to the court filings here). The first creditor's meeting is scheduled for January 24, 2006. Lance has been litigating the Central v. Pure Fishing case in the federal court in Chicago (discussed here and here).

Hepa Appeal Back on Track: On January 5th, the TTABlog reported the dismissal of Central Mfg. Co.'s appeal in Central Mfg. Co. v. Hepa Corp., Opposition No. 91152243 (July 12, 2005) [not citable]. (blogged here) The CAFC has recently recalled the mandate in that case and has re-instituted the appeal. Apparently Appellant Central has cleared up a problem regarding admission of its counsel to appear before the appellate court.

Other Developments: Target Brands, Inc. has commenced a cancellation proceeding (No. 92045336) against Central Mfg. Co., seeking to cancel one of Stoller's STEALTH registrations for the mark shown below on the left. The petition for cancellation was filed about one month after Central filed a request for extension of time to oppose Target's application to register the mark shown on the right.

The California law firm of Gordon & Rees LLP recently filed a declaratory judgment complaint against Stoller after receiving a letter challenging its use of the mark LEGAL FIRE POWER for legal services. Stoller claims rights in the mark FIRE POWER, and obviously he is involved in many legal matters.

Just imagine what would happen if each of the applicants involved in those 400-plus extension requests were to bring a declaratory judgment action in the federal court! Unlike in TTAB proceedings, where an officer may appear on behalf of a corporation (Rule 10.14(e)), in a federal action a corporation must be represented by an attorney. Mr. Stoller would have to hire counsel in each case to represent his company. [And, of course, courts have the power to award monetary relief, issue injunctions, etc., while the TTAB has only limited jurisdiction.]

Call for Information: If you have any information regarding Mr. Stoller and his activities that you would like to share with TTABlog readers, please send it along.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2006


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