A trademark, in accordance to the United States Patent and Trademark Place of work (“USPTO”), can be “any word, phrase, image, layout, or a combination of these matters that identifies your goods or products and services.” Can a body movement be secured as a trademark? The response is significantly less than very clear.
Usain Bolt Makes an attempt to Defend Victory Pose
Past month, 8-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt filed a trademark application to defend his signature “victory pose,” in which Bolt bends one knee, leans to the facet, and factors to the sky. Bolt has titled his transfer, the “To Di World” pose. Bolt now seeks to use the pose as a brand on a apparel and equipment line, which, according to the August 17th application, would be applied in link with sunglasses, jewelry, luggage, clothing, sporting goods, and dining places and athletics bars.
So considerably, Bolt has not sought protection for the pose alone, as a substitute, making use of for a substantially extra frequent sort of design and style mark as utilized to products. The mark’s description reads: “the silhouette of a person in a distinctive pose, with one particular arm bent and pointing to the head, and the other arm raised and pointing upward.”
Trademarks May perhaps Not be Descriptive
The use of the term “distinctive” in the quite description of the mark is a conclusory assertion that will have to play out in potential disputes. A trademark may not be “descriptive,” meaning that it may perhaps not basically explain a top quality of the products or providers it is intended to stand for. Rather, the strongest marks are “arbitrary” indicating there is no inherent meaning to the marks outside the house of the meaning imbued by the brand alone.
Though Bolt’s mark is to be employed in connection with items, a dilemma remains as to regardless of whether poses may perhaps implicate trademark “use” in various media stores exhibiting the poses, even the place the mark by itself could not be utilized. Disputes may perhaps further define the bounds of security to be afforded to the trademark, answering issues these as: what constitutes infringement of a mark consisting of a pose and can a pose be distinct plenty of to find the money for strong trademark safety? Emblems are sad to say of unsure price right until they are enforced, this means these issues are more probably to be answered in upcoming litigation.
Preceding Attempts to Trademark Signature Moves
Bolt’s mark is not the first endeavor at protecting a mark consisting of an athlete’s signature transfer. Michael Jordan’s famed “Jumpman” mark, owned by Nike, is made up of a silhouette of Jordan jumping in the air with an outstretched hand gripping a basketball.
Nike has sued about the symbol in the past, with Chinese enterprise “Qiaodan,” indicating “Jordan” in Mandarin, trying to find to income off of the mark owing to China’s to start with-to-file coverage with regard to worldwide trademarks. Jordan finally realized a favorable ruling in China’s highest courtroom next an 8-12 months lawful fight, ensuing in the revocation of the “Qiaodan” mark, noting the similarities in the “Jumpman” brand and “Qiaodan” logos and concluding that the enterprise had wrongfully tried to capitalize on Jordan’s goodwill and impression.
In one more example of an endeavor to trademark a entire body movement, Gene Simmons, member of the legendary band “KISS” tried in 2017 to trademark the legendary “satan horns” image now ubiquitous at rock and metal live shows. Simmons claimed to have to start with used the symbol in 1974 through Kiss’s Hotter than Hell tour.
Simmons confronted severe criticism for the attempt at trademarking the symbol, notably by Wendy Dio, widow of Ronnie James Dio, who was also credited with popularizing the gesture. Simmons abandoned the software in 2017.
Even if Simmons had been to have been productive in registering a trademark for his gesture, the ubiquity of the gesture, and hence the uncertainty bordering what “goods or services” are implicated in the use of the gesture, would absolutely trigger any purported trademark safety to be nominal in practice. Bolt’s registration is distinguishable in its uniqueness, developing an interesting exam situation for foreseeable future litigation.
For far more details or to talk about further, please make contact with KJK’s Intellectual Residence and Brand name Defense Lawyers Ted Theofrastous ([email protected] 216.736.7290) or Anna Bullock ([email protected] 216.736.7223).