Monday, February 27, 2012

Linsanity Runnin' Wild at the USPTO

Jeremy Lin apparently is caught in a trademark battle with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office over the term "Linsanity". Some enterprising lads (or "trademark trolls", depending on one's view of government-granted economic rents) already filed to own the term soon after Lin took a starting role for the Knicks several weeks ago.

A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's online database shows an entertaining set of hucksters who filed the term "Linsanity" in the month of February. (Some of the text below for Proposed Use includes my paraphrasing from the original.)

1. Owner: John S. Yuan, Lexington, MA. Filing date: 2/20/2012. Proposed use: Eyeglasses, spectacles

2. Owner: Parace, LLC (a New York company**). Filing date: 2/20/2012. Proposed use: Sports drinks, advertising services, action figures, head bands, wrist bands, watches, visors, sporting towels, back packs, duffel bags, thermal flasks, computer gaming software, social networking internet platforms, virtual goods, and more...

** A further internet search reveals that Parace, LLC was organized in 2004 and is based in Westchester County, New York. This company has filed, successfully and unsuccessfully, for several other trademarks over recent years, including Xopod (whatever that is), Achieve the Ultimate, Teeped, and Snoopermarket.

3. Owner: Parace, LLC again. Filing date: 2/19/2012. Proposed use: Computer game software, computer software platforms, downloadable electronic game programs, computer software to enable uploading for virtual communities, blah, blah, blah...

4. Owner: Empioneer Corp.** of California. Filing date: 2/19/2012. Proposed use: Cell phone backplates, cell phone cases, cell phone covers, cell phone faceplates.

**A further internet search shows that Empioneer Corp. was organized in 2006 and does business in Los Angeles as an importer of Chinese-manufactured sunglasses.

5. Owner: Empioneer Corp. again. Filing date: 2/19/2012. Proposed use: Sunglass cases, safety eyewear, sunglasses, spectacles, etc....

6. Owner: Roger Montgomery. Filing date: 2/14/2012. Proposed use: Business management of sports people.

Note that Roger Montgomery is Jeremy Lin's agent (and has been since the beginning of Lin's pro career). According to the USPTO, Montgomery filed an abandonment form soon after initially filing this application, so his claim is apparently null and void now.

7. Owner: Yoonsoo Stephen Kim of Duluth, GA and Wesley Kwong-Yew Tang of Los Angeles, CA. Filing date: 2/14/2012. Proposed use: Jewelry, namely, bracelets, wristbands and necklaces that also provides nitification to the wearer of a pending medical-related task; rubber or silicon wristbands in the nature of a bracelet.

8. Owner: Jeremy Lin himself, filed by his attorney from the Arent Fox LLP law firm in Washington, DC. Filing date: 2/13/2012. Proposed use: A bunch of stuff including duffel bags, knapsacks, cups, mugs, aluminum water bottles, plastic water bottles, insulating bottle sleeves, T-shirts, jackets, hooded jackets, coats, headbands, sweatbands, belts, shoes, slippers, sandals, toys, drinks, beverages, and so on and so forth...

9. Owner: Andrew W. Slayton of Los Altos, CA. Filing date: 2/9/2012. Proposed use: Athletic apparel.

Slayton was the men's basketball coach at Lin's Palo Alto high school after Lin left Palo to matriculate at Harvard. Apparently Slayton, likely without Lin's permission, has been operating a website at the domain name (a solidly constructed site, actually) since 2010. While he might have the best basis for filing of any claimaint, as he is already commercially exploiting the term "Linsanity", his claim will fail (like all the other filings save Jeremy Lin's) due to the statutory principle that a trademark cannot refer to an actual person without that person's permission.

10. Owner: Yenchin Matthew Chang of Alhambra, CA. Filing date: 2/7/2012. Proposed use: This list is a doozy, including apparel for dancers, baseball caps, button-front aloha shirts, camouflage shirts, chef's hats, fishing shirts, golf pants, hunting shirts, leather hats, moisture-wicking sports shirts, paper hats, rugby shirts, toboggan hats, triathlon clothing, turtleneck shirts, woolly hats, yoga shirts, and much more.

As a side note, other recent trademark filings in the USPTO database include "Linning Is The Only Thing", "Linspiration" (also advanced by our friends Wesley Kwong-Yew Tang and Yoonsoo Stephen Kim), "I'm A Linner", "Be A Linner", and "Lin-credible".

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