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Quote of the Day - An amazing invention - but who would ever want to use one? - Rutherford B. Hayes, after making a call on Alexander Graham Bell's telephone

Rubber Stamp Denied on Website Name Trademark

You're able to register a great domain name like Ok, that's my hook. Sex. Got your interest? Well, let's try something a little more boring like or any of its variants. Really boring.

But that's not really the point. Let's say you're a law firm, like Oppedahl & Larson LLP, who registered the domain name Quite a bit like (you can use your own imagination for variants of You want to protect your turf, and exclude others from taking advantage of your foresight and good fortune in picking a great domain name.

So, you decide to register with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Smart idea, it seems. At least initially.

Until the USPTO rejects your trademark application. Says it's not "unique." Being a law firm, you know exactly what to do. You appeal.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (where you go when you have to appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) said no go (that's a legal term of art), and affirmed the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

One of the named partners in the law firm seeking to register the trademark, Carl Oppedahl, argued the case for his law firm. I'd like to say that when a lawyer has himself for a client, he has a fool for a client, but in this case, there's probably no way someone else could have done better. It was a losing argument.

The name has to be unique, and not merely descriptive. Say, for example, this blog. Our trademark application is pending with the USPTO, and our California trademark has already been granted.

Choose wisely.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on 7/11/2004 at 11:08 Comments (0)


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