On March 27, 2020, the President signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – This Act is to provide the various areas in which the government is providing emergency assistance and health care to individuals, families and businesses impacted by COVID-19. Under the CARES Act, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “PTO”) has provided for the extension of certain trademark filing deadlines between March 27th and April 30th, as the PTO has determined that practitioners, applicants, registrants and others associated with PTO filings and fees are being impacted and may be unable to make timely filings due to the outbreak.
In particular, the PTO and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has provided that they are giving a 30-day extension for the following deadlines currently due between March 27, 2020 and April 30, 2020:
- Response to an Office Action, including Notices of Appeal from the final Office Action under 15 U.S.C. § 1062(b) and 37 C.F.R. §§ 2.62(a) and 2.141(a);
- Statement of Use or Request for Extension of time to file a Statement of Use under 15 U.S.C. § 1051(d) and 37 C.F.R. §§ 2.88(a) and 2.89(a);
- Notice of Opposition or Request for Extension of Time to file a Notice of Opposition 15 U.S.C. § 1063(a) and 37 C.F.R. §§ 2.101(c) and § 2.102(a);
- Priority filing basis under 15 U.S.C. § 1126(d)(1) and 37 C.F.R. § 2.34(a)(4)(i);
- Priority filing basis under 15 U.S.C. § 1141g and 37 C.F.R. § 7.27(c);
- Transformation of an extension of protection to the United States into a U.S. application under 15 U.S.C. § 1141j(c) and 37 C.F.R. § 7.31(a);
- An Affidavit of Use or Excusable Nonuse under 15 U.S.C. § 1058(a) and 37 C.F.R. § 2.160(a);
- A Renewal application under 15 U.S.C. § 1059(a) and 37 C.F.R. § 2.182; or
- Affidavit of Use or excusable nonuse under 15 U.S.C. § 1141k(a) and 37 C.F.R. § 7.36(b).
There are other extensions available as well. For instance, TTAB has provided that if COVID-19 has caused a delay in a filing not mentioned above, a request (in an ex parte appeal) before the Board or a motion (for trial cases) for a reopening of a case may also be made.
Also, if a trademark application was abandoned or a trademark registration was canceled/expired under any of the deadlines listed above (due to an inability to respond to a trademark-related Office communication by its original deadline) because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the PTO will waive the revival and reinstatement fees.
Thus, filing one of the above documents will be considered timely provided that the filing is made within 30 days of the original due date and provided that the filing includes a statement that the delayed filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak. With regard to the type of circumstances that would be considered to effect a timely filing, the PTO has noted the following situations::
- Office closures,
- cash flow interruptions,
- inaccessibility of files or other materials,
- travel delays,
- personal or family illness, or similar circumstances, such that the outbreak materially interfered with timely filing or payment.
The PTO and TTAB are providing information as to their extensions and information on frequently asked questions on its website at www.uspto.gov/coronavirus. The PTO will continue to evaluate the situation and will report if additional measure or extensions are put in place.
If you have any questions, please contact Kimberly Grimsley email@example.com or Jennifer Mumm firstname.lastname@example.org at Oliver & Grimsley.
If you search for books with the word “COCKY” in the title, the romance genre offers a large selection. One author in particular appears to be building a series of books with titles created as a play on words based on the main characters’ last names, Cocker. Thus, the books feature titles with the word “COCKY,” including titles such as “Cocky Roomie” and “Cocky Senator”.
The term “COCKY” is the subject of a recently registered trademark that has spurred quite the controversy. In April, romance author Faleena Hopkins, through her company Hop Hop Productions Inc., received a certificate from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granting her a trademark registration for use of the word “COCKY” in connection with goods for “a series of books and downloadable e-books in the field of romance.” Under U.S. Trademark laws,15 U.S.C. §§1051, 1052, and 1127, more than one book is required in order to apply for a trademark for the title of a book series. See also TMEP 1208 et seq. The title of a single creative work is not registrable on either the Principal or Supplemental Trademark Register. Herbko Int’l, Inc. v. Kappa Books, Inc., 308 F.3d 1156, 1162, 64 USPQ2d 1375, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (“the title of a single book cannot serve as a source identifier”).
Since obtaining the U.S. Trademark Registration Certificate for COCKY, Hopkins has been asserting her registered trademark in cease and desist letters and threatening litigation against novelists in romance and other genres in order to force them to change the titles of their respective books. The world of romance e-books is mostly filled with self-published authors – generally meaning that these authors don’t have the commercial revenue to fight lawsuits, or design new cover art and promotional materials in order to comply with demands or risk their works being removed from online retailers such as Amazon.
Romance Writers of America hired an intellectual property lawyer to assist authors affected by the “COCKY” owner’s recently issued trademark and aggressive enforcement tactics. Retired lawyer turned writer Kevin Kneupper filed a Petition for Cancellation with the USPTO. In response to this action, Hopkins, through her attorneys, filed for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order in the Southern District of New York against Kneupper and writers Tara Crescent and Jennifer Watson, authors accused of violating the trademark. Hopkins argued that the social media tirade against her has resulted in popular hashtags, such as #CockyGate and #ByeFaleena, and has directly affected her sales and income. On June 1st, a federal judge denied Hopkins’ motion and dismissed Kneupper from the lawsuit.
Hop Hop Productions, Inc. is also asserting ownership of a second “COCKY” trademark, a stylized design wordmark featured in the cover art title of the books. The font used was allegedly created by Set Sail Studios, which is owned by graphic designer Sam Parrett. Parrett recently sent a cease and desist letter to Hopkins and asserted ownership claims in connection with the font. At this time, Hop Hop Productions, Inc. remains the registered owner of this trademark in the USPTO. However, the USPTO provides means for parties to contest ownership, such as by procedural means of opposition of allowed trademarks or cancellation of registered trademarks.
Trademark rights provide an owner with a right to stop unauthorized third-parties from using the same or similar mark on similar or related goods in order to reduce the likelihood of consumer confusion. Trademark owners should seek legal counsel on evaluating enforcement methods and tactics prior to taking any action. Challenges or consequences may exist, such as third parties taking actions to oppose allowed trademarks or cancel registered trademarks, along with posts made to social media related to a matter.
***For more information on this topic or other trademark matters, please contact Pamela K. Riewerts, Esq., a partner at Oliver & Grimsley, LLC at: email@example.com.
Constellation Rum is a speciality project from Tobacco Barn Distillery that started in 2016, when the distillery first hauled barrels containing 100 gallons of rum into the ship hold of the U.S.S. Constellation, docked in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Working together with the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization, the Distillery made the idea come to life–to make a rum entirely of Maryland ingredients and aged under natural seaboard conditions for a year’s time, instilling an exclusive flavor profile characteristic to the product. The ebb and flow of the harbor tide provides constant movement, sloshing the rum throughout the bourbon soaked barrels, and with the Baltimore weather – the rum is exposed to an extreme range of temperatures ranging between approximately 10 and 100 degrees. After a year’s time, the barrels are unloaded from the historic ship and returned to the Distillery, where the rum is bottled, labeled, and fitted for sale.
This aging process has become an annual tradition for the distillery. Every March, barrels are loaded and unloaded each year and and prepared for sale in May, just in time for spring. Tobacco Barn donates a generous portion of the rum sale proceeds to the Historic Ships organization in support of their mission to preserve Maritime heritage.
Tobacco Barn Distillery is located in Southern Maryland and crafts various whiskies and rums. For more information on Tobacco Barn’s products and where to find them, you can view their website here.
Oliver & Grimsley, LLC, a Baltimore area intellectual property law firm, has been instrumental in securing trademarks for Tobacco Barn Distillery and advancing the Distillery’s branding endeavors which impacts valuation for the business. Please contact Oliver & Grimsley for more information on investigating, securing, and enforcing your business’ intellectual property.
Chilly weather has been plaguing us for longer than usual this spring, but we’re seeing a seasonal shift! The folks of Bloomery Plantation Distillery have coaxed in the warmer weather with a newly launched product that joins the trademark-branded Sweetshine ® ranks of its internationally acclaimed flavored spirits!
Making its official debut, Saffron Rose Sweetshine ® tastes of rose, orange, and hints of saffron, and exhibits the champion-style quality of its family spirits, having been honored with the Silver Medal in the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. In addition, the creative artwork of the lovely lady, Miss Rose, adorning the Sweetshine ® label, is indicative of the signature trade dress featured on all Sweetshine ® products and is complimentary to the portfolio of award-winning label illustrations.
Together with having a quality product, Bloomery Plantation’s successful brand foundation is based on its intellectual property, which is built upon its registered trademarks, and distinguishable trade dress creating an iconic look and feel of its products. Through these efforts, Bloomery Plantation has set its business and products apart from other distilleries and products in the industry.
A protectable trademark and brand are essential components of a prosperous business foundation, directly impacting business viability and valuation. Bloomery Plantation has taken its business to a new level by using its intellectual property, registered trademarks and creative trade dress, to visually distinguish its product, increase brand recognition among consumers, and increase product visibility and placement on retail store shelves. Together with a number of factors, including hard work and a quality product, Bloomery Plantation’s new trademark and branding campaign has increased valuation for the Bloomery Sweetshine ® business, along with also playing a part in the business’ increased sales revenue. Our law firm was instrumental in helping Bloomery Plantation secure its intellectual property in its new branding efforts. We advise clients during the product naming process, perform trademark investigative clearance searches, draft and file trademark and copyright applications with governments, both U.S. and abroad, and handle applications throughout the entire government examination process. In addition, our firm also assists with maintaining protection and enforcing intellectual property against unauthorized third-party users.
We wish our client, Bloomery Plantation, the very best on its new product release! See more about Bloomery Plantation and its award-winning and creatively flavored liqueurs, here.
For more information on creating, securing, and protecting your Product, Trademark, and Brand, please contact Pamela K. Riewerts, Esq., Partner and Intellectual Property Attorney at Oliver & Grimsley, LLC. Pamela may be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
HGTV’s Fixer Upper TV Show provides a creative touch and teaches home owners how to extend individual passions into a surrounding living space from an artistic vantage point. Whether you’re into movies, music, or videogames, spice up your interior decorating in a fun and creative way with patents.
A patent is a protective property right relating to an invention and granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention for a limited time period. In exchange, the inventor is required to disclosure the invention to the public via the government application process. One step in the patent application process is submitting technical drawings of the invention. While fulfilling specialized requirements, often these drawings will also feature artistic characteristics and highlight the beauty of the subject matter, focusing in on the engineering construction of the invention and displaying a number of views.
In a recent segment of Fixer Upper on HGTV, a couple of music lovers created framed wall prints for a variety of patents, integrating their personal passion of musical instruments, including, a guitar, piano, and a drum.
With the variety of patent subject areas, plenty of options exist for decorating. Maybe you’re a fan of gaming platforms such as PlayStation, Nintendo, Wii, or XBox. If so, you could choose to frame a print of the original patent for nostalgia’s sake. Film or movie buff? Then select a motion picture, film projector patent. Or if you’re an individual inventor, you could decorate using your own patent!
For more information about patents and intellectual property matters, please contact Pamela K. Riewerts, Esq., partner and patent attorney at Oliver & Grimsley, LLC. Pamela may be reached via email at: email@example.com
*Note, the source of government issued and published patent images: The United States Patent and Trademark Office.
On March 8, 2018, Oliver & Grimsley’s Pamela Riewerts
attended the 2018 Women’s Leadership Conference
, hosted by the Howard County Chamber of Commerce in Columbia, Maryland. The conference celebrated women entrepreneurs in the Maryland, D.C., and Virginia area. Phenomenal women speakers presented — such as Laura Gamble, the regional President of Maryland PNC Bank, and Col. Laurie Moe Buckhout (U.S. Army), the President and CEO of The Corvus Group, a business providing training services to scientific and technical clients.
Tracey Ellison of impactHR, First Lady Yumi Hogan, and Pamela Riewerts, Esq.—patent attorney and partner at Oliver & Grimsley, LLC.
In addition to supporting women leaders, the conference also focused on advancing women owned businesses. Speaker panels throughout the day featured topics such as “Energizing and Motivating Women,” “Leading Multi-Generational Teams to Success and Life Balance,” “Succeeding and Soaring in Male Dominated Fields,” and “Rising to and Inspiring from the Top.” Maryland’s First Lady, Yumi Hogan, also made an appearance and inspired and congratulated women on being great leaders in everyday life. The event featured sponsors such as Creatrix Inc. – providing services in software and systems engineering and architecture, and impactHR – providing HR and business solutions.
We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this worthwhile event, and for the opportunity to exhibit and speak with women business owners on the value of intellectual property.
For more information on creating value and protecting intellectual property, please contact Pamela K. Riewerts, Esq., a partner at Oliver & Grimsley, LLC at: firstname.lastname@example.org.