The whole meaning of trademark is to distinguish and legally prevent another person or company from offering products or services that are more or less similar to yours. In most cases, they are confusingly similar to the products and services that you offer. And it works the other way around too, if you don?t register your trademark, you may be prohibited from using it with someone who has. And more often than not, trademark prove to be a valuable marketing tool for most companies and brands, which is why trademarks are a significant aspect of every business, and probably the reason why it is being misused in our world today.
What some people fail to understand, or they do understand but are totally caught up in their fantasy of going to any length to make a buck, is that not everything and anything can be trademarked, and at the same time, is open to a lawsuit. Let?s have a look at some funny things people tried to trademark.
The Jersey Shore star Snooki tried to trademark her nickname ?Snooki.?
And she lost it to a cartoon cat! It couldn?t be any more ?cartoonish? than this! Her claim was denied by the USPTO because they were worried consumers might get her confused with the cat star of a children?s book, ?Snooky,? which already owns the trademark.
Walmart tried to trademark the yellow smiley face.
While the result was nothing to smile about, Walmart quite confidently, although unsuccessfully, tried to claim the happy face design that has been around since the ?70s. That?s public property now, isn?t it?
Dunkin? Donuts tried to trademark the phrase ?Best Coffee in America.?
Everyone at the USPTO must have had a good laugh about this one. What were they possibly thinking! Not only was the success of such a claim impossible, but to even try to trademark something like this showed what kind of a ?superior? attitude and message Dunkin? Donuts was trying to send out to the people.
Subway tried to trademark the word ?footlong.?
Now this word is commonly used in the measurement system. What Subway failed to realize is that ?footlong? is in no way an invention, it is merely a size, in this case, a size of bread for when you want to eat a lot. There are at least a 100 (minimum) sandwich shops that offer the ?footlong? bread size on their menus, so Subway can?t go around trademarking a commonly used term for its interests just because it has a lot of money.
Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound of its engine.
Obviously, the claim was rejected, as there are other engines that sound as stimulating as the engine of a Harley. A point made by many other motorcycle manufacturing companies too. Although Harley Davidson is not the first motorcycle company that has tried to trademark a sound, others have done it too and have repeatedly failed. Harley should have known better.
McDonalds has tried to trademark the ?Mc? prefix.
McDonalds fought a pretty successful battle for eight years until it lost to a Malaysian restaurant. McDonalds had been trying to claim rights on its popular ?Mc? prefix. Enter Malaysian restaurant ?McCurry? and McDonalds? application got rejected. At least, now they can move on!
Sarah Palin tried to trademark her name.
The controversial American political figure, Sarah Palin, who is a former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice-President Republican nominee, filed an application to trademark her name and even her daughter?s name, Bristol. But the USPTO rejected the application. And that?s not because there was anything wrong with making the claim, but because Sarah Palin actually forgot to sign the forms. True story! Now how can someone so high up in the political structure forget to sign a legal form!
Donald Trump tried to trademark ?You?re fired.?
Although a smart move by the business magnate, investor and now a candidate for the 2016 US Presidential elections, Donald Trump wanted to own the commonly used business words ?You?re fired.? Smart move because imagine the amount of money he would have made by trademarking those two words. But his claim got rejected because the phrase sounded too much like ?You?re Hired?, which is an educational board game.
The New England Patriot?s owner tried to trademark the ?19-0? score.
In 2008, after having a flawless game run, the team?s owner tried to claim rights to their awesome season of ?19-0? but, sadly, it was denied. Following which, the Patriots, in the same year, lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Double failure in the same year! Hard luck, wasn?t it?