-Laurel Sutton Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development

Have you read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? What about Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game? Frank Herbert’s Dune? Maybe Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (coming soon to the cable network Starz)?

jhghfIf you’ve read any of those books, you’ve read a Hugo Award winner. The Hugos (named for Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories) have been given out every year since 1955 and recognize the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year. They are awarded to outstanding novels, short stories, graphic novels, and works in many more categories representing creativity. Unlike the Academy Awards, they’re voted on by fans of the genre and are generally regarded as one of the most prestigious science fiction awards. There’s a trademark for The Hugo Award and everything!

Don’t feel clueless if you haven’t heard of the Hugos; most people outside science fiction/fantasy fandom haven’t. I give the capsule history here to show that since its inception, the Hugo brand has stood for excellence; the yearly competition is fierce, and simply to be nominated is recognition of worthiness. Until recently, that is…

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We wrote about the above trademark warning ad a few years back, and the claimed trademark owner likely recognizing vulnerability as to validity:

The idea generally is, let’s show and create a record that we are educating the public about our trademark rights and hopefully deterring misuses that otherwise might find their way

The RedBox brand continues to dominate the movie rental market. For the uninitiated, RedBox is a brand of movie and video game rental vending machines placed in convenient locations like grocery stores, gas stations, and fast food lobbies, like the one below:


However RedBox’s commercial success hasn’t stopped the brand from going to waste –

Seth Godin wrote this past weekend about joint ownership of creations:

“Before you create intellectual property (a book, a song, a patent, the words on a website, a design) with someone else, agree in writing about who owns what, who can exploit it, what happens to the earnings, who can control its destiny.”

We couldn’t

Although not the title to an Eagles’ song like “Hotel California,” Hotel Chicago is in the news as it is at the heart of a trademark dispute.  As I was booking a room at the Fairmont in Chicago for next month, I must admit I thought for a second about changing my reservation to the Hotel Chicago Autograph Collection hotel by Marriott to see what all the fuss is about.

LHO Chicago River, LLC (“LHO”) owns Hotel Chicago, a boutique hotel that is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection hotels.  Shown below.

LHO is suing Joseph Perillo, Rosemoor Suites, LLC and Portfolio Hotels & Resorts, LLC (collectively “Defendants”) who opened a new “Hotel Chicago” on Jackson Boulevard in Chicago.  It is located near LHO’s Hotel Chicago.

Earlier this year, Defendants filed two intent-to-use applications for the HOTEL CHICAGO mark.  The first intent-to-use application was for the words HOTEL CHICAGO at U.S. Serial No. 86/910,607.

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A couple of weeks back, I captured this image from a t-shirt for sale in Starbucks’ backyard — at a shop in the Pike Place Market area of Seattle:

StarbucksCannabisOne of the things it brought to mind for me is the dozen year long trademark dilution case that Starbucks lost, over and over,

By way of follow-up to Tim’s and David’s recent discussions about Rio2016 and related U.S. Olympic Committee trademark enforcement issues, it appears that a local Minnesota carpet cleaning business called Zerorez, is poised to press the issue of the USOC’s overreaching trademark policies by asking the federal district court in Minnesota to confirm it

Above the Law recently published a Techdirt story reporting that the USPTO denied Whole Foods‘ attempt to federally-register the laudatory trademark: “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store“.

The Techdirt story incorrectly seems to suggest that the global nature of the phrase is what caused the application to be refused, since Whole Foods has not

— Jessica Gutierrez Alm, Attorney


The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—a favored talking point among our presidential hopefuls—is an international trade agreement between twelve nations. The agreement was signed earlier this year, but is not yet ratified in most member countries including the United States. Negotiations took place over seven years and resulted in thirty dense