Thursday, March 27, 2008

He's Back!? Stoller Entity Files Application to Register "STEALTH" in Three Classes

It's déjà vu all over again! An entity called Stoller Pension and Profit Sharing Plan has filed U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 77424372 to register the mark STEALTH for a long list of goods in classes 12, 25, and 28, claiming first use dates of January 1, 1981. The "specimens of use," purportedly labels attached to the goods and/or packaging, are identical (as shown immediately below):

The TEAS Plus application, filed electronically on March 17, 2008 and executed by C. Stoller, lists an "internal address" of 7115 W. North Avenue #272, Chicago, Illinois 60302. That is the same address as Leo Stoller's Rentamark headquarters, i.e., a UPS Store in suburban Oak Park:

7115 W. North Avenue #272
Oak Park, Illinois 60302
(Click on photo for larger picture)

I seem to recall that, as part of Leo Stoller's bankruptcy proceeding, all of his rights in the mark STEALTH were assigned to the Society for the Prevention of Trademark Abuse (SPTA). See the TTABlog postings here and here. Apparently Mr. Stoller has a different view. [Now there's a shocker!]

In light of past court and TTAB rulings and decisions regarding Stoller, perhaps the USPTO should give this application a particularly careful examination. Under Rule 2.61(b), an Examining Attorney "may require the applicant to furnish such information and exhibits as may be reasonably necessary to the proper examination of the application." It would seem "reasonably necessary" in this case for the PTO to ask for information and exhibits regarding the Applicant's ownership of the mark and its current use of the mark for every single item listed in the application.

Interested third-party's may want to consider the PTO's letter of protest procedure. See TMEP Section 1715. Reportedly, the PTO is working on a lowering of the standard for acceptance of letters of protest prior to publication. The PTO will be going back to the old standard: if the letter makes a prima facie case and if the subject matter is appropriate (e.g., mere descriptiveness or genericness), the evidence (but not the letter) will be forwarded to the Examining Attorney. This will replace the current "clear error" standard and the companion requirement that the Examining Attorney enter the refusal if the letter of protest is accepted. The higher standard will remain in effect for post-publication letters of protest. (See TTABlog postings here and here).

TTABlog postscript: On November 21, 2008, the PTO announced a modification of its letter of protest policy in Examination Guide 4-08, entitled "Letters of Protest in Pending Trademark Applications."

Text and Photograph Copyright John L. Welch 2007-2008.


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