Tuesday, November 16, 2010

TTAB Bully Watch: What About NFL's Challenging "SOUPER BOWLS SOUPS SALADS SANDWICH WRAPS?"

The National Football League recently obtained an extension of time to oppose registration of the mark shown below for soups, salads, sandwiches, and combination meals. (link). Can you guess what mark the NFL will be relying on?


If you were representing the NFL, what claims would you make? Dilution? Section 2(d)? Section 2(a) false association?

Is this a case of trademark bullying, or merely an example of an appropriately aggressive policing policy?

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2010.

4 Comments:

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Frank said...

If this is what the NFL considers a proper dilution cause of action then we should repeal the law. This is bullying of the first order. I think that if NFL and MLB have money to burn on these type of cases they aren't giving enough to charity.

 
At 9:59 AM, Anonymous Orrin A. Falby said...

I believe that the NFL has made the right call on this. This case would more than likely end up being settled where the Applicant is allowed to use, but not register. Its all about keeping the Register clean for these companies. With regard to the grounds for the opposition, I would allege the three that you have mentioned.

 
At 10:41 AM, Blogger Bob said...

It's easy to believe that the applicant was trying to play off the clear association with the NFL game - whether that is enough to blur the distinctiveness of the NFL's trademark is another story.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Joe Dreitler said...

Tony Fletcher's article in the current Trademark Reporter is spot on. We have in the last 45 years imported a copyright doctrine into trademark law that says "go ahead, trade on the fame of the well known brand name to sell your product" and then yell real loud "it's a parody, get it?" No, I don't, it's a lack of creativity and advertising budget that has caused some to think that they can take a free ride on the backs of famous brands to sell everything from jeans for fat folks to dog toys. We've come a long way, baby as one commentator wrote about 43a many years ago, and in this case, too far.

 

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