Category Archives: Reality

Trademark Scammer Settles With Vermont AG

These people never quit.


Just, Desserts

@ThinkingIP is where I publish observations, one of which, yesterday, was that I had been “followed” by Trademarkia, the commodity trademark service. It is the nadir of my Twitter activity, to date. Then, today, unaccountably, the ABA Journal published a puff piece about Trademarkia.


Fortunately, comments are enabled:

here are the first 9:


Sep 24, 2013 12:40 PM CDT

He did it by sending out questionable advertising and updates via email and print to trademark lawyers AND their clients once a trademark is applied for.  This can cause confusion among the clients and is frankly annoying to the attorneys.  But hey, $8.5 million dollar book of business—what a legal rebel!  Lol.

Sep 25, 2013 3:23 PM CDT

I wonder how his employees feel about working for him? Are they happy?

Sep 25, 2013 3:25 PM CDT

Also, does he only have attorneys file his trademarks or does he use non-attorneys as well? Only reason I ask is that other companies have gotten in trouble with this so you always have to wonder.

Sep 27, 2013 6:57 AM CDT

I agree with John, this guy has sent unsolicited emails and other junk mail to clients-including myself- and likely other trademark filers) that incentivize through confusion. If that’s how one builds a $8.5 million book of business, then I guess nobody cares.

Sep 27, 2013 7:56 AM CDT

Yeah the advertising is misleading and super questionable.  I stopped listing client’s email addresses on trademark apps just to avoid them calling me up every week confused by these emails.

6.Patrick Blake
Sep 27, 2013 8:38 AM CDT

We have had several clients come to us after using Trademarkia and the results has uniformly been substandard.  Similar to the poster above, I question whether intellectual property attorneys are handling the filings, which is a nice way to pump up profits if you don’t care about things being done correctly.  Also, the Trademarkia “employee” I spoke with most recently failed to file a Statement of Use for (now my) client.  When he contacted my client with a hefty bill to correct his error, I was forced to get involved to point out his mistake.  In the interest of full disclosure, a manager became involved in the case and the SOU was filed with no additional cost to my client, but I would steer clear of this service if possible.

7.Trademarks in Florida
Sep 27, 2013 8:58 AM CDT

I too have inherited several clients and needed to clean up the messes made by this firm. If an application does not go through on first examination, the fees the clients end up paying are usually more than my flat fee. I don’t even try to have a web presence because my flat fee is way more than their initial fee and I don’t feel that I should have to field all the calls from people asking me why I’m so expensive when I am actually appropriately priced. These people are never going to hire me anyway if they are looking for an attorney on the web.

I have also had to cancel a mark that they filed for a non-existent person! They do not even confirm the identity of their clients.

I actually believe that the success of this firm is a by product of the In re Bose decision. There is no reason to double check anything anymore since the standard for fraud is not met if you are blissfully ignorant of the facts. Don’t ask, don’t tell lives on at the PTO.

I could continue.

8.TM in Westchester
Sep 27, 2013 9:23 AM CDT

Every client I work with becomes a subject of Trademarkia’s relentless poaching efforts.

Sep 27, 2013 11:55 AM CDT

It is hard to argue with an $8.5 million book of business, but the sad truth is that clients get what they pay for.  I have been asked to pick up the pieces from their shop at least 5 times, and in each case the problems were preventable—and the solutions cost the clients far more than if they had used someone else in the first place.  In one case his firm filed trademark applications for identical marks for very similar services, and when the Examining Attorney objected to one application they tried to negotiate a co-existence deal with both of their clients.  My client was then told that she had to get new counsel—for a matter that they never should have taken in the first place (and they refused to refund her fees paid to them.)

“Curating”- Make It Go Away

I’ll admit, this is a bit off-topic from the usual incisive blather in the space, but somebody needs to say it: Can we, individually and collectively, stop using the word “curating“?


I’ll venture that less than seven or eight years ago, “curate” was, in the mainstream, lexicon seldom used outside of discussion of museum or art collections and installations.

Somewhere along the line, it came to connote a responsibility-less middle ground of association with a particular project. Let me give you an example from the world of bluegrass music, which I know a little bit about. It used to be that a Bluegrass Festival (to paint in broad strokes) had Producers and Performers. Producers chose the venue, hired the bands, made sure the sound worked, paid the bands (mostly) and made or lost money on the show. Performers, on the other hand,  showed up, played their tunes, and got paid most of the time.

Then, suddenly, there were lineup’s “curated” by a well known performer. What did this mean? Well, that’s the beauty of it. Who knew (or knows)? Curated is less than “sponsored by”” and more than “served as a consultant””. It’s somewhere in the grey area that means “had something unspecified to do with it, but approves it, and is happy to have his/her name associated with it.”

An early usage example is found in here, an article about the Crossroads Music Festival, “curated by Eric Clapton”

Or this one about the 2012 Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival:

Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival features two side-by-side stages showcasing alternating sets of live music. On one stage, bluegrass legend Del McCoury has curated a lineup of top-notch bluegrass, string and Americana performances,

Understand this: Del McCoury is an American icon and he and his band are the ultimate gateway drug to the NewGrass, Jamgrass bluegrass music genre. Del McCoury can kick my ass and yours with the licks he has forgotten. But Del is 74, and the Jomeokee Music & Arts Festival is in North Carolina, and Del is either traveling or at home in Pennsylvania. What could it possibly mean-substantively I mean- that he “curated” one stage?

And, so, just since I’ve been curating the thoughts in this post (gotcha!– all I am doing is writing down stuff)), the following have been posted on Twitter (Users names have been deleted to protect the ignorant).

  1. @NPRUX I want your staff to curate. I want to see what my friends actually listened to. And perhaps profile pages listing our
  2. Still looking for new film writers as ever, particularly to curate/comment on indie/animation/weird/shorts. My thanks for a RT, come at me.

    Using the elearning RiteTag Report – to curate & choose hashtags with re…:  via @youtube
  3. “If every1 can speak, to whom should I listen?” and “… how can I get heard?” #content @scoopit via @_Orientar_ 
  4. ‘We don’t just CURATE the cool, we CREATE it’ – make your own audience and publish/broadcast to them. The future? …
  5. Create or Curate#Pinterest #Tumblr #Blogspot #Facebook #Google+ We’ll show you ours if you show us yours…..
    Curate #hashtags?
    You get the point. And, I am not the first to raise the issue, nor will I be the last. see “when you say “curate”, i hear “punch me in the throat”
    But, it is getting out of hand, so let me be the latest to cry out in the wilderness against this practice.


Why Intellectual Property? It’s a question I get a lot, from people who know that IP issues are on the top of my professional mind.

(Fortunately, that’s not all that’s on my mind, but the question of why The Infamous Stringdusters are not as lauded as Beyonce is a question for another day.)

Well, let’s start here: ” intellectual property accounts for 20% of U.S. GDP, and nearly 40% of economic growth. Furthermore, IP industries account for 74% of the county’s exports, amounting to $1 trillion.”  Think that one over. We don’t make things here, much, anymore. We develop ideas and neat, efficient implementations of ideas. Even where we would seem to be leaders in manufacturing, such as the automotive industry, not a car would be made without parts outsourced from Mexico, China, Japan , you name it. The Chevy Aero has 98% of its parts sourced outside the U.S. The Ford Expedition? 50/50.  That’s where we are going. So, that is “Why IP?”

I recently rebranded this blog and my Twitter feed to THINKINGIP for that very reason. The kinds of knowledge based solutions (and problems) that arise in everyday life, and most certainly in the life of an IP attorney such as me are mind-numbing. Yet, they must be attended to. There is a burgeoning industry of court actions by “trolls” (more benignly known as Non-Practicing Entities)  who seek damages for new implementations of existing exclusively-protected rights (whether patent or copyright). One might conclude that we are essentially eating our young, but that’s what happens when things are built elsewhere.

To review the kinds of things I’ve discussed, or Tweeted about over the last few weeks:

Chuck Shumer promotes fashion design copyright now that Sandy is not a problem. 

North Face tries to stop trademark parodies. 

Audi doesn’t get . No bad faith. 

IP protection for aboriginal cultures. 

Some gruel, please, sir? Copyright Office wants to hear what you think about “the state of play of orphaned works” 

Easter Egg in iOs6 privacy policy?  

Copyright trumps state law claims.  

When a customer list can be a trade secret. In Cali. 

How to brand your baby, PTO-sssstyle.  #THINKINGIP

Three words. Cloud. Security. Nightmares. 

Republicans Retreat On Copyright Reform?  via@sharethis

Updated post on GOP’s pulling Copyright Report for lack of “balance” …

Wow, who saw this coming? (everybody) digital borrowers of book also buy books, a lot. 

Twinkies to fold.  Lots of sweet IP 

Cy pres award to advocacy groups disfavored in some class action settlements.  Plaintiff’s counsel still eat well.

And on and on.  So, that’s WHY IP? Please follow me @#THINKINGIP on Twitter. There are no discernible prizes (yet), but you might get a chuckle.

Tagged ,

The Birth Of A Copyright Meme: GOP Study Paper Ripped From ‘Net, Lives On.

You probably read here and some other places about the refreshingly honest 9-page report of the Republican Study Committee that took the U.S. Copyright System to task, and made some modest proposals for fixing it.

You may have also read that the report had the shelf-life of a live lobster left out in the sun, less than 24 hours.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, it doesn’t look like the debate is going away, and that’s probably a good thing. The Huffington Post , along with some others, large and small. The Hollywood Reporter, which was busy flogging itself over the weekend for its role in the 50’s Black List in Tinseltown, opinesNot too long ago, intellectual property was one of those esoteric policy issues that evaded strong partisan divide. But with Hollywood money being widely seen as helping to propel Barack Obama to re-election, and with Republicans still examining how to win back voters, might that change?

In fact, the squelched report has some solid ideas, one of which is to roll back the essentially perpetual copyright terms. That’s not retaliation, it’s just smart. The folks down at Duke Law, perhaps coincidentally, published a piece recently about all the works that would have (read should have) entered the public domain if the overreaching extensions of Copyright Terms in 1978 hadn’t occurred. To whit,


That’s just getting the wheel turning.

Even the Canadians have an opinion, as well they might.


And on it goes.


Don’t Mess With The Mouse  (hey, you ripped me off!)

Project Disco

The Washington Examiner


So, maybe the cat’s out of the toothpaste tube, or some such. The fact is that the report was too sensible to be ignored.

Copyright Reform? Just Don’t Tell Mickey.

This weekend displayed a painful example about how the notion of copyright reform is the policy equivalent of seeing a unicorn–not gonna happen.

Our story starts with something called The Republican Study Committee which a Congressional policy group, run by Republicans in the House of Representatives. The report found the current U.S. Copyright System anticompetitive, anti-creative and favoring Big Entertainment. It concluded:  “Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets — rather it destroys entire markets. “

The report is tough, pulls no punches, and makes a lot of sense. You can read it here. I will post it as a separate post later if it gets pulled there.

Well, dear reader, what happened next do you suppose? Less than 24 hours later, the report was pulled, on the grounds that “it had not been fully vetted” The apparent author of the report Derek S. Khanna, took to Twitter on Saturday night

I am the author of this memo, and I hope the tech community continues to add to these ideas: …

Read the report. It won’t surprise you that Big E got its undies all twisted up. What’s amazing is that it ever saw the light of day in the first place. More developing.

In  the breaking of dawn on Monday, there was more wheezing and pontificating. The GOP hierarchy said the poiece was pulled becuase it lacked “balance”

We at the RSC take pride in providing informative analysis of major policy issues and pending legislation that accounts for the range of perspectives held by RSC Members and within the conservative community. Yesterday you received a Policy Brief on copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand. As the RSC’s Executive Director, I apologize and take full responsibility for this oversight. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and a meaningful Thanksgiving holiday….

Right, don’t forget Football Thursday. On reflection, it’s hard to imagine that the piece represents the thinking of any GOP interest. Declan McCullogh, who is seldom off-target, even says the RIAA had nothing to do with the report being pulled.

More can be found here and here. Even David Brook of the New York Ties got into the action, mentioning Dkanna among a list of young conservative thinkers.


The dust has settled from the Presidential Election of 2012, and what did we learn? Not much. Obama had sliced and diced the electorate to a fare-thee-well to the extent, if you believe such things, that there were 59 precincts in Northern Ohio and Pennsylvania where Romney had zero votes. Everyone can poke at anomalies.

But the “big” story on election night was the “meltdown” of Karl Rove when the Fox News Network declared President Obama the winner in Ohio. Here it is. His face starts losing definition about 4:00 minutes into the clip.

But the real twisteroo (tongue firmly in place) was when the Fox News Anchor “spontaneously” went to interview the people making the call.  It has been billed as a real moment on the night.

Guess what, it wasn’t. It was rehearsed, staged, primped up and phony. Check out the clip at about 5:59 when the Fox News Anchor (sorry I don’t know who any of these people are) is walking down the hall and says “when we practiced this before…when we practiced this before in our rehearsals, we lost all audio in our ears, right about here. It’s happening again”. Then, the shocking first person challenge of the decision desk occurred. So, let’s just chalk this up as stagecraft, not tied to reality. And lets not get carried away.

So, no this is not a blog posting about Intellectual Property, per se. (#THINKINGIP), but it’s worth talking about, before we get totally snookered going forward.