Monday, April 03, 2006

TTABlog Reply to Leo Stoller Statement of March 27th

On March 27, 2006, Leo Stoller responded (here) to the TTABlog's posting regarding his filing of hundreds of requests for extension of time to oppose a wide array of trademark and service mark applications. [Stoller has now filed, since November 1, 2005, more than 1,300 extension requests.] In his response, Mr. Stoller sought to justify these filings. In this reply, I set forth my comments on Mr. Stoller's statement. [Please note that the views expressed here are solely my own. I do not pretend to speak for the trademark community.]

First, Mr. Stoller, your assertion that you have filed "many oppositions since November of 05" is a dubious one, unless you believe that eight (8) oppositions can be called "many." Since November 1, you have filed 5 oppositions concerning "STEALTH" marks, and one each that involve the marks HAVOC, AIRFRAME, and FIREPOWER. Only one of those oppositions resulted from an extension request filed during the last five months (FIREPOWER Opposition No. 91169382).

Mr. Stoller, you state that "Trademark attorneys from time immortal has been raised to believe that companies normally can acquire rights in one mark and/or a small family of marks depending on the specific goods and services offered by that entity." [sic] There is an important grain of truth in that assertion: trademark attorneys believe (because that's what the law says) that trademark rights are based on use of a mark in connection with goods and/or services.

You claim that your rights stem from an ability, made possible by the Internet, to form links from a website "to an infinite number of marketers of goods and services which can be offered to the public under an infinite number of trademarks on the internet, as long as there is a provision for quality control is maintained of these goods and services licensed, and sold." [sic] Mr. Stoller, where is that website? Where are those links? What are your supposed marks and what are the specific goods and services that are being offered thereunder?

The listing of hundreds of words on a website and offering to license those supposed "marks" does not constitute trademark use. Use with a product or service has to come first, or else there is no mark to license.

Frankly, Mr. Stoller, it appears that your filing of these extension requests amount to nothing more than a poker player's bluff. If you had rights in all of the supposed marks that you claim, why aren't you filing oppositions? Are you merely hoping that the gullible and uninformed will, without understanding trademark law, fold (i.e., pay you to go away) before you have to show your hand?

Finally, you claim that the reason you do not file more oppositions is that "the vast majority of potential oppositions" settle as a result of the filing of requests for extension to oppose. [That is a highly questionable assertion]. How many of the more than 1,300 requests for extension you have filed in the last five months have resulted in settlements?

If you really want to convince the trademark community that you have legitimate trademark rights, Mr. Stoller, why don't you provide a list of the marks that you claim to own, state the products and services offered under each mark, and identify the licensee(s) for each mark? Please also state where one can find the links to those products and services. The TTABlog will be happy to publish your response if it provides a clear picture of the basis for your claim to trademark rights.

I look forward to your response.

Text copyright John L. Welch 2006


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