Trademarks and Occupy Protests

Trademarks and Occupy Protests
by Sue Basko

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database shows many applicants hoping to register Occupy-related words and marks.  While some of these seem legit, many of these are offensive attempts to wrest control of organizations and ideas, to try to create a monopoly or to try to gain ownership of an entity by coming in through the back door of trademark ownership.  None of these is an acceptable usage of trademark.  Most of these applications are likely to be denied.  The application process takes about 18 months or longer - it is a complex process with several big steps to it.

 During the application process, Occupy groups whose names are being usurped should strongly consider filing formal objections.   A lawyer can help with this. The groups that I noticed that should be paying attention now are Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy Las Vegas,  Occupy Wall Street,  Occupy Together, and Occupy Congress.

Also, there is some media group making a preposterous bid to trademark the word "occupy" for books, websites, and on and on to cover almost every form of media where one might discuss political change. This is such a broad, outlandish filing that it will be fun to watch it get demolished bit by bit.  

The Occupy groups should also strongly consider  registering trademark on their own names, if only to ward off these situations.

Trademark is tricky.  I  suggest using an experienced  lawyer.  I do the registrations, and I can tell you -- it is rugged terrain with a lot of potential trouble.