A Football Team without a Name, Oklahoma Land Rush, and other legal news to ponder from Cape Law Firm
Washington Football Team remains just another Football Team
Even the NFL, with all of its resources, can get caught flatfooted when trying to trademark its brands. The Football Team formerly known as the Washington Reskins may have to punt its new name, “Washington Football Team,” because it was recently denied registration by the Trademark Office (at least for the time being). The Team applied to register “Washington Football Team” after it abandoned the Redskins name. The Trademark Office issued a nonfinal rejection because the name was (i) merely geographically descriptive, and (ii) it was likely to be confused with “Washington Football Club,” a trademark owned by Philip McCauley. Geographic terms in a trademark (such as Washington) are rather difficult to register because they are regarded as being merely descriptive of a location, instead of signifying the party that is the source of the goods/services behind the mark. As for the conflicting “Washington Football Club,” Mr. McCauley is apparently willing to negotiate with the Team for the rights to his marks. Meanwhile, the Team has launched a website dedicated to its rebranding efforts – see it here.
Oklahoma land-rush returns – This time for cannabis pioneers
With the authorization of medical cannabis in 2018, Oklahoma has experienced somewhat of a land rush by cannabis growing operations, leading to some fairly significant increases in land prices and competition according to a recent DTN report. Easier cannabis licensing and comparatively low land prices have made Oklahoma a hot spot for production, but it has also had some unintended consequences. Out-of-state companies, and even foreign nationals, have sought out Oklahoma landowners to apply for grow licenses and investigations indicate that some product is being shipped outside Oklahoma for illegal sales. Conventional farm groups are also looking at how the explosive growth in cannabis operations will impact water, electric usage, and land values. There is an expectation that the market will correct itself as the amount of cannabis production in the State exceeds demand.
Cape Law Firm’s Frequently (or Randomly) Asked Questions
What do the different trademark symbols (®, ™) mean and when can I use them?
Trademark symbols are used by the owners of marks (i.e., brands) to let the world know that they claim that particular mark as their own. There are three trademark symbols: (i) the circle R: ®; (ii) the small caps TM; and (iii) the small caps SM.
- The circle R: ® can only be used once a trademark is federally registered and signifies exactly that – a federally registered trademark.
- The small caps TM, typically expressed as the superscript ™ stands for “trademark” and can be used to claim a mark (i.e., brand) without federal registration. The TM is used for branded goods (cars, clothes, seed, tractors, boots, etc.).
- The small caps SM stands for “service mark” and does the exact same thing as the TM mark, except it is used for branded services (banking, insurance, veterinarians, cellular phone service, etc.)