#Occupy Trademarks: Who Owns the #Occupy Trademarks, and Is There Such a Thing?

Posted by | November 02, 2011 | General | 2 Comments

A little over a week ago, my friend and colleague, Nancy Prager, posted on the indispensable e-Trademarks listserv some information on the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement, an activist campaign started by the Canadian — that’s right, folks, Canadian — organization, Adbusters.

AdBusters is:

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a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society. * * * Adbusters is a Vancouver, British Columbia not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.

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So it took some riled up Canadians to ignite mass civil disobedience in America.  Irony aside, what about #Occupy brand ownership?  Of course, what I most want to know is who (what) if anyone (anything) owns the #OCCUPY and OCCUPY WALL STREET trademarks.  Obviously AdBusters coined these terms, but have they used them as a brand?  And if so, for what goods and services?  Or, does that even matter?  I mean, brand ownership sure seems contrary to AdBustersraison d’être.  Moreover, AdBusters doesn’t seem to be doing much to police or control use of the #OCCUPY and OCCUPY WALL STREET marks, which are used by unaffiliated associations of people worldwide.  In fact, AdBusters website doesn’t even come up as the first organic hit in Google’s search engine for a search Occupy Wall Street; rather, Occupywallst.org comes up first, and proclaims to be:

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the unofficial de facto online resource for the growing occupation movement happening on Wall Street and around the world.  We’re an affinity group committed to doing technical support work for resistance movements.  We’re an affinity group committed to doing technical support work for resistance movements.  We’re not a subcommittee of the NYCGA nor affiliated with Adbusters, anonymous or any other organization.

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There are 3 new pending U.S. federal trademark registration applications for OCCUPY:

85453994(filed 10/23/2011 by KG Power, LLC) Fabric sold as an integral component of finished clothing items, namely, all clothing; Hats; Headwear; Jeans; Shirts; T-shirts for men women children; Wearable garments and clothing, namely, shirts.  
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

85458886 (filed 10/18/2011 by AMICUS PARTNERS, INC DBA Transmedia Agency)

A series of books and written articles in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; A series of books, written articles, handouts and worksheets in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Booklets in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Books in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse
 85458910

(filed 10/18/2011 by AMICUS PARTNERS, INC DBA Transmedia Agency)

Audio and video recordings featuring music and artistic performances; Audio books in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Computer game software; Computer programs for video and computer games; Digital materials, namely, downloadable audio and audiovisual files, DVDs and CDs featuring content on changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Digital media, namely, pre-recorded DVDs, downloadable audio and video recordings, and CDs featuring and promoting changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Downloadable computer game software via a global computer network and wireless devices; Downloadable electronic publications in the nature of books, booklets and articles in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Downloadable films and television programs featuring changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse provided via a video-on-demand service; Downloadable image file containing artwork, text, audio, video, games and Internet Web links relating to sporting and cultural activities; Downloadable MP3 files, MP3 recordings, on-line discussion boards, webcasts, webinars and podcasts featuring music, audio books in the field of changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse, and news broadcasts; Downloadable multimedia file containing artwork, text, audio, video, games, and Internet Web links relating to changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Downloadable musical sound recordings; Downloadable ring tones, graphics and music via a global computer network and wireless devices; Downloadable video recordings featuring changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse; Electronic game software; Electronic publications, namely, e-zines featuring content on changing the status quo through protests, demonstrations, challenging laws and practices, assembly, and/or engaging the media and public discourse recorded on computer media; Interactive video game programs; Interactive video games of virtual reality comprised of computer hardware for use with an external monitor and software

and 3 for OCCUPY WALL ST:

85454550(filed 10/24/2011 by Occupy Wall Street AKA Friends of Liberty Park GA Victoria Sobel (US), Pete Dutro (US) UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATION) Periodicals and newsletters Bags, including but not limited to backpacks, gym bags, tote bags, luggage and overnight bags, Clothing, namely t-shirts, sweatshirts, headwear, and jackets for men, women and children, Entertainment services, namely, providing a web site featuring photographic, audio, video and prose presentations featuring educational and entertaining materials relating to Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy Movement Generally. 

 

  

 

 

85454831

(filed 10/24/2011 by Fer-Eng Investments, LLC)

 All purpose sport bags; Backpacks; Backpacks; Backpacks, book bags, sports bags, bum bags, wallets and handbags; Beach bags; Canvas shopping bags; Carry-on bags; Gym bags; Hard-sided and soft-sided carry-on bags and gym bags; Overnight bags; Sack packs, namely, drawstring bags used as backpacks; Schoolchildren’s backpacks; UmbrellasFootwear; Golf shirts; Hats; Headwear; Hooded sweat shirts; Polo shirts; Shirts; Short-sleeved or long-sleeved t-shirts; Sweatshirts; T-shirts; Tee shirts; Wearable garments and clothing, namely, shirts

 

85449710(filed 10/18/2011 by Diane Maresca) Stickers + Bumper stickers, Bags, including hobo bags, tote bags, gym bags, sport bags, overnight bags, beach bags, backpacks, carryons, umbrellas, Clothing; shirts, sweatshirts, headwear, footwear

There’s also a pending application for OCCUPY D.C. 2012 for T-shirts and, my personal favorite, EVERY WHERE I GO I OCCUPY, also for shirts and T-shirts.

I am sure there will be more to come.  Meanwhile, will any of these succeed?  My guess is only the Amicus Partners applications have a chance, though they may end up registered on the Supplemental Register given their descriptiveness.  What do you think?  Can third parties successfully co-opt OCCUPY and/or OCCUPY WALL STREET and turn them into a unique source identifier, or has this term already fallen prey to genercide from its widespread uncontrolled use?

As a general rule, it takes about a year to obtain federal trademark registration.  Applicants who rush to register marks based on current events often do not see their applications through to registration.  Why not take that $325/Class in filing fees and donate the cash to a good cause instead?  I am sure Adbusters would love the donation!

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

2 Comments

  • Monica McLaughlin says:

    What exactly will ownership of trademark rights entitle Victoria Sobel and Pete Dutro aka Friends of Liberty Park GA to? I have never heard of “Friends of Liberty Park GA” and wonder whether Dutro and Sobel have a not-for-profit status pending for this organization.

    OWS is an allegedly leadership movement. Won’t this give them a lot of power to determine the future course the movement will take?

    • Lara says:

      I dont think this will give the applicants any rights to steer the Occupy Movement. If any of the pending Occupy applications mature into registrations, the registrants will have exclusive rights to use their marks for the goods/services listed on their registrations.

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