How To Register Trademark On A Movie TitleFri May 09, 2008 @ 03:37PM PST
Posted by Eriq Gardner
Troy & Gould's Jonathan Handel has an interesting column in LA Lawyer mag about the trademarking of single-work movie titles like "40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Reservoir Dogs." He notes that under case law and U.S. Trademark Office decree, films that are part of a series of works, like "Harry Potter," are eligible for trademark protection, but that titles like "Pulp Fiction" are likely to get rejected.
Recently, Handel sent the USPTO a letter asking them about their implementation of its prohibition on the trademarking of single-work titles. Lynne Beresford, commissioner for trademarks, wrote back saying that the office "implements the refusal to register titles of a single work to the best of its ability" and that the office has "no interest in suggestions that purport to—or actually do—subvert laws and court decisions."
Nevertheless, Handel offers his suggestions to protect movie titles, including registering for a state trademark, filing a federal intent-to-use application for a film sequel, or registering a trademark oversees. It's a helpful read.