If you run a successful business, you have undoubtedly analyzed a breakdown of the reasons why you are successful so that you can continue to be so. In many cases, companies have analyzed elements of their business, mainly how it is carried out and how it is sold, before seeking the trademark of different elements so that no other company or individual can use these same elements in their own favor. In such cases it is worth remembering to verify that what you are looking for as a trademark is:
-not already registered by another person or by any other company
-It is not widely used by other people or companies
An example of this is the 1998 case in which two recording artists fought in the courtroom over the use of a certain distinctive logo: the letter “G”. Rap artist Warren G attempted to sue country rock singer Garth Brooks for the use of the letter G on his merchandise, claiming that he had already registered the letter as a trademark. The case ended with the mutual acceptance that they could both use the letter, but generated a lot of fun over the respective claims of ownership of a letter that forms the 26th of the Roman alphabet.
Another lawsuit deemed frivolous occurred in 2003 when the television news station Fox News attempted to sue Al Franken in a case sparked by his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Franken’s book, a satirical parody of what he and others saw as the excesses of America’s right-wing media, reserved particular ire for Fox News, a station that uses the term “fair and balanced” as chain slogan. . Having registered the phrase as a trademark in 1998, Fox felt they had a case to sue Franken for unauthorized use of their trademark. They tried to do so, citing as additional evidence the fact that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly was depicted on the book’s cover.
Fox’s case hinged on trying to show that Franken’s choice of words in the title of his book, and his use of an image depicting O’Reilly, could be construed as an effort to convey to potential readers that both Fox and O’Reilly endorsed the book. It would be fair to say that they were unsuccessful in this attempt. Presiding judge Denny Chin dismissed the case, calling it “totally without merit, both in fact and legally,” and onlookers in the courtroom burst into laughter more than once as Fox News attorneys tried to prove that Al Franken had tried to mislead potential buyers into believing that his book came with the blessing of Bill O’Reilly. Judge Chin noted in his dismissal of the Fox case that the phrase “Fair and Balanced” could not be a realistic trademark because the words are used so frequently in everyday society. Therefore, it is instructive to deduce from this case that if one wishes to record a word or phrase, it would be unwise to do so without very good reason.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.