Free Trademark Application Program

Trademark Access and Trademark Attorney Perry Clegg would like to announce a new community friendly program. The free trademark application program. Every month Trademark Access will be performing several free trademark applications. Applicants will still be responsible for the standard filing fees required by the USPTO, but the Attorneys work will be at no charge.

The program is designed to help smaller start-ups, businesses in remote locations, charities and veterans. However, all applicants will be considered. To be considered for a free filing, fill out an application. Be sure to include as much information and tell us why we should consider you.

Once your application is submitted we will review it and notify you by email, within 5 business days. If you are selected to receive a free trademark application our attorney will file your application with the USPTO and respond to any non-substantive office actions.

When your certificate is issued our staff will send it to you. We will notify you when the time comes to renew your registration.

Delta Airlines

Delta Airlines Files Lawsuit Against Vacation Scammers

Delta is one of the largest airlines in the world. That’s what makes it an attractive target for trademark infringement. If you want your business to look legitimate, it helps to be associated with Delta. But if you aren’t legitimate and don’t have Delta’s permission to use its brand, you run the risk of getting sued, which is exactly where a group in Florida finds itself.

Delta recently filed a sealed trademark infringement lawsuit against a group of Florida based “trademark pirates” that Delta claims have been using materials with Delta logos and branding to scam people into buying bogus vacation packages. The lawsuit is sealed, which means that the defendant is not immediately named. Delta hopes by not naming the group it will be able to prevent them from destroying incriminating evidence. Delta is pursuing a federal raid to obtain the counterfeit materials. If the defendants are notified too early, the infringers have the chance to destroy marketing materials using unauthorized Delta branding, making it more difficult for Delta to prove infringement.

The lawsuit claims that the company advertises a special relationship with Delta and offers up to 60% off on travel. The company targets consumers both domestically and internationally via fax and other forms of communications. These advertisements mislead consumers into believing there is a real association with Delta. Delta says that this illegal use of its intellectual property harms the company’s brand and is seeking punitive damages. This is an interesting infringement case because it involves direct copying and use of an actual brand. More often, trademark infringement cases involve at least some difference between the infringing brand and the actual brand. Typically a mark is not copied exactly but is similar enough that it confuses consumers into believing there is some connection between the two products or companies.

This, however, appears to be a classic case of counterfeiting. A claim for trademark counterfeiting can be pursued under federal law using the Lanham Act. A “counterfeit” trademark is defined under federal law as a “spurious mark which is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from, a registered trademark.” Classic trademark counterfeiting commonly involves an unauthorized third party providing a product or service that is made to imitate a product or service of the victim, including the victim’s trademark, so that consumers are deceived into purchasing what they believe is the victim’s product or service.

Regardless of the type of infringement, it is important to protect your brand. Any type of infringement can damage your company’s reputation even if by merely diluting the strength of your brand identity. If you have questions about the trademark process or are ready to file a trademark application, please contact the trademark attorneys at Trademark Access. Let our experience protect your valuable brand.

Milano Cookie

Milano Cookie Trademark: Pepperidge Farms versus Trader Joe’s

While a traditional cookie is round, they can come in all kinds of delicious shapes and sizes. A cookie that ventures outside the cookie shape norm is Pepperidge Farms’ Milano cookie. The Milano is a distinctive oval shaped cookie sandwich with chocolate in the middle. It has been a big hit for Pepperidge Farms and they intend to keep it that way. That’s why they recently filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Trader Joe’s alleging Trader Joe’s Crispy Cookies infringe the look and package design of Pepperidge Farm’s iconic Milano cookies. Continue reading “Milano Cookie Trademark: Pepperidge Farms versus Trader Joe’s”

Pine Tree Trademark Lawsuit

Air Freshener Trade Dress Fight: Pine Vs Palm

Everyone has seen the tree shaped air freshener dangling from a rear view mirror used to cover up the scent of stale French fries and gym clothes. Air fresheners turn out to be big business. That’s why Car-Freshener Corp of New York is suing Exotica Fresheners of Ohio for trademark infringement, claiming Exotica is knocking off its trademark look right down to the packaging and style of the writing it uses. Car-Freshener wants Exotica to stop imitating its branding and pay Car-Freshener damages for misleading consumers. Continue reading “Air Freshener Trade Dress Fight: Pine Vs Palm”

Cancellation Proceeding: Nautigirl Defeats Nautica

In David versus Goliath fashion, Christine Palmerton, owner of a small business and the brand Nautigirl, overcame a challenge to her trademark registration by mega brand Nautica. Palmerton had a U.S. trademark registration for her Nautigirl logo, which included the word Nautigirl and an image of a sassy looking sailor woman. Nautica claimed that Palmero’s brand was too similar to its brand and sought cancellation of her mark. After nearly three years of litigation and the support of a law school pro bono clinic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sided with Palmerton. Continue reading “Cancellation Proceeding: Nautigirl Defeats Nautica”

Amazon Wins in Federal Court

Federal Appeals Court Sides With Amazon in Trademark Case

A panel of three federal appeals judges had second thoughts recently, changing its mind on whether Amazon would have to face trial over a trademark dispute with a watchmaker. The change in course was most likely spurred by a desire to avoid re-opening the debate over the internet “initial interest confusion” doctrine. While this decision provides relief to Amazon, watchmaker Multi Time Machine (Multi Time) probably feels a little gypped.

This flip-flopping by the panel relates to the issue of “initial interest confusion” which arises from the trademark claim brought against Amazon. Multi Time claims go something like this: Amazon returns suggestions for competitors’ watches when a customer searches for a particular model of watch made by Multi Time that Amazon does not carry. By suggesting competitors’ watches, it may lead to consumers falsely assuming these other products are from or associated with Multi Time. In doing so, Amazon allegedly uses Multi Time’s own brand equity to steer customers away from Multi Time and toward competitors, thus capitalizing on the good will of Multi Time.

Initial Interest Confusion type of trademark infringement does not require a likelihood of confusion at the time goods are purchase, only that consumers are initially confused in order to get their attention leading to a sale. There is a well-known analogy to explain Initial Interest Confusion that was proffered in Brookfield v West Coast Entertainment. In that case, the court proposed a hypothetical regarding competing video stores. Blockbuster Video puts a billboard on the highway advertising a West Coast Video (its competitor) at an exit. However, there is no West Coast Video at this exit, but there is a Blockbuster Video. A consumer exits the freeway in hopes of finding a West Coast Video store, but instead finds the Blockbuster Video store. The consumer obviously sees that there is no West Coast Video store and that there is only a Blockbuster Video. The consumer decides to purchase from Blockbuster Video as a suitable replacement. Even though the there is no confusion at the time of purchase, Blockbuster is still capitalizing on West Coast Video’s trademark and misappropriating West Coast Video’s goodwill.

Multi Time challenges Amazon’s redirect of customers to competitors based off of a search for genuine Multi Time watches. Multi Time believes that Amazon should return a search indicating there are no matches instead of suggesting competitors’ products. In response, Amazon contends that there is no likelihood of consumer confusion, the keystone of trademark law, because its search results are labeled with the name and manufacturer of each item and include a picture. Allegedly, reasonable consumers who are familiar with online shopping would realize that there is no connection between the other suggested products and Multi Time’s MTM watches.

It’s interesting that the panel was so quick to reverse itself. With this flip-flopping of decisions, it’s easy to see that there is still some confusion about the correct trademark outcome here. The internet has created some new and unique trademark issues and sometimes it is a struggle to identify exactly how they should be handled. Ultimately, utilizing the likelihood of confusion standard gives good guidance to whether there really is a trademark issue or not. Would a reasonably prudent consumer be confused as to the source of the goods offered? If not, there is no likelihood of consumer confusion. That is what the panel of judges decided in this case the second time around.

Amazon isn’t the only company who has faced this type of challenge. Google and Yahoo were victorious in similar suits. With the explosion of internet keyword searches, initial interest confusion has become a hotly contested issue.

Article written by DA Johnson. Connect with DA on

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Donald Trump Trademark

Trump Trademark Registration: “Make America Great Again” Campaign Slogan

Donald Trump may be an outsider when it comes to politics, but he is certainly not an outsider when it comes to business. Unquestionably he understands the importance of creating a brand and protecting it. Obviously, that’s why he filed a trademark application in anticipation of a presidential run on the phrase “Make America Great Again”. The USPTO granted Trump a trademark registration for this mark for political action committees service and political fundraising. With this registration in hand, Trump is looking to expand his trademark protection into other classes as well. Indeed, Trump has filed three additional trademark registration applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Continue reading “Trump Trademark Registration: “Make America Great Again” Campaign Slogan”

Dirty Fight Over Trademarks in Utah

Soda shops where you can order a “dirty” Diet Coke have become quite the rage in Utah as of late. Drinking a “dirty” soda may sound unappealing to the uninformed, but all “dirty” means in the soda context is the addition of flavored syrup shots (typically coconut and sometime also lime). As custom soda shops grow in popularity, one shop claims it coined the term “dirty” and with a federal trademark registration in hand, wants the other shops to stop using it.

The Utah soda flavor craze allegedly traces its roots back to St. George, Utah, where a soda shop called Swig began selling flavor shot enhanced sodas. When Swig opened for business in 2010, it quickly became a hit. Its “dirty” flavors, brightly colored straws and pebbled ice resonated with customers. In 2013, Swig looked to protect its signature brand by filing a trademark application on “dirty” in the class of “concentrates and syrups for making soft drinks.” The trademark registered in 2014.

As the business took off, others took notice. Similar soda shops began springing up in northern Utah. One in particular, Sodalicious, had (allegedly) a very familiar feel and used “dirty” to describe flavor enhancements for its drinks. It also allegedly used brightly colored straws and menu boards very reminiscent of Swig’s. This (alleged) imitation was quickly detected by Swig.

Swig’s CEO said that he tried for several months to get Sodalicious to stop using the term “dirty” to describe its drinks, stating that if Sodalicious stopped using the term, Swig would not take any further action. Apparently, Sodalicious wasn’t interested in making any changes and continued to use the term. This forced Swig to further escalate the matter.

Swig filed a lawsuit against Sodalicious alleging that Sodalicious infringed its trademark registration on “dirty” and also infringed on its trade dress, claiming that the look of Sodalcious’ shop is nearly identical to Swig’s shops, even down to the brightly colored straws and cups with bubbles on them. The look and feel of a product can be protected through trade dress, so long as the look is not a functional element of a product. If there is a likelihood of consumer confusion between the aesthetic elements of two products or services, trade dress infringement can be found. Swig believes that Sodalicous is in violation of both its trade dress and trademark protection.

This case of success breeding imitation is all too common. Copycat companies abound in most industries, particularly those with a low cost for entering the market. While it is not illegal to copy a successful business model, elements of a brand, like logos, signature names, and product design can be protected via trademark and trade dress. The lawsuit is in its early stages and could potentially settle before ever going to trial. But if you are a fan of the “dirty” soda, you will want to keep abreast of this fight.

Article written by DA Johnson. Connect with DA on

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Tiffany & Co. has Win against Costco in Trademark Case

If you were shopping at Costco for a diamond ring a couple of years ago and believed you were buying a Tiffany diamond, you may have been confused, and a U.S. federal judge agrees. The judge granted victory to Tiffany & Co. over Costco in a trademark infringement suit after Costco used jewelry displays promoting “Tiffany diamonds”. The case will now head to a jury to decide how much Costco owes Tiffany in damages and lost profits for infringing on its trademark.

This situation arose in 2012 when a customer in a Southern California Costco noticed a display advertising “Tiffany Round Diamond Rings”. The customer believed that the diamonds were Tiffany brand diamond rings, but what Costco was actually offering was a “tiffany” ring setting. The customer’s mistake is somewhat understandable as Costco routinely sells other expensive brands throughout its stores, including high-end jewelry brands.

The customer complained to Tiffany that she was disappointed to see the luxury brand offered at a discount at Costco, which could potentially remove some of the prestige of owning a Tiffany brand diamond. Tiffany had no knowledge of its rings being sold at Costco so it investigated and discovered that the diamond rings Costco was selling were in fact not Tiffany & Co. diamond rings. Tiffany found other instances of Costco selling “Tiffany diamonds” in other locations.

After this discovery, Tiffany filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Costco. Tiffany claimed that Costco’s use of the term Tiffany in association with offering diamonds for sale confused customers into believing they were buying genuine Tiffany diamonds. Further bolstering its claim, Tiffany’s holds nearly 100 trademark registrations on the term Tiffany in various categories including jewelry.

In response, Costco stated that the term “tiffany” had become generic to indicate a particular ring setting and that Tiffany does not have exclusive rights over the term in that context. While Costco put forth some evidence of this, including dictionary references indicating that a tiffany setting refers to a particular type of ring, the judge found that Costco acted in bad faith in advertising its rings as Tiffany diamond rings. In addition to a finding of bad faith actions, the judge found the strength of Tiffany’s trademarks to be quite strong, further supporting Tiffany’s trademark infringement claims. It is now up to a jury to determine the amount of damages that Costco must pay to Tiffany for using its trademark in a misleading way.

As this situation illustrates, trademark issues can come up in all sorts of ways. If you have questions about the trademark process, please contact the trademark attorneys at Trademark Access. Let our experience protect your valuable brand.

Article written by DA Johnson. Connect with DA on

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Texas State Flag

Don’t Mess with Texas – State Wins Alamo Trademark Dispute

Always remember the Alamo – at least when it comes to branding. If you don’t, the state of Texas may come after you for trademark infringement.

That’s what happened after two beer manufacturers took their trademark dispute to federal court. Alamo Beer sued Old 300 Brewing for trademark infringement claiming Old 300’s use of the outline of the Alamo infringed on its federal trademark registration. While these two groups battled it out, they received an unexpected challenge. The state of Texas stepped in and asserted its own trademark rights to the Alamo. A federal judge agreed with Texas and now both beer companies will need a license from the Texas General Land Office to continue use of the image of the Alamo. Continue reading “Don’t Mess with Texas – State Wins Alamo Trademark Dispute”