Washington Redskins

It’s been quite some time since I posted to this blog, and I have to come back with a rant.

The Washington Redskins are an NFL football franchise. Nothing more, nothing less. However, their name is evidently a political fireball.

The pro column for changing the name is limited to political correctness, which, I’m sorry, I have a problem with. We can’t call a spade a spade these days without offending someone. I don’t even know if those who are of Native American descent are offended by the NFL’s calling their Washington team the Redskins. Me, I look at it as the team based in our nation’s capital is honoring the Native Americans. But I guess that’s not the politically popular view these days.

The con column for changing the name is legion. The team will have to spend $millions to re-brand itself. The logo will have to be changed. The colors will have to be changed. The stadium and road signage will have to be changed. The direct marketing collateral will have to be changed. And what about all those franchise-specific marketing paraphernalia — the mugs, the hats, the key rings, the sports cards, the kids’ uniforms bearing RG3’s number? Those will all have to be changed. Redskins sports memorabilia bearing the Redskins logo and name won’t exist, and that will do a number on the market for that memorabilia.

Can’t we just call a spade a spade?

Chinese search engine Baidu sues Register.com

…for allowing cyberterrorism against it.

Evidently, hackers got into the baidu.com website and posted an Iranian flag and a broken Star of David. Baidu claims that this damaged its reputation in the world marketplace, and perhaps it did.

It’s going to be interesting watching this battle. Is Register.com responsible for the activities of the hackers? Should they have taken further steps to protect the baidu.com domain? If so, what should those steps have been?

Stay tuned for the answers to these and other questions….

Disney to Buy Marvel for $4 Billion – ABC News

Disney to Buy Marvel for $4 Billion – ABC News.

Wow. Just wow.

Disney is already among the biggest entertainment businesses in the world, what with the movies and the theme parks and the hotel properties and the Broadway shows and all the rest of it. I believe they even have an inroad in the comics market (if they don’t now, I’m sure they did when I was a kid; I remember Mickey Mouse comics). Marvel has a thoroughly different look from Disney, so this will be an interesting evolution. I wonder if Superman will develop the Disney eyes?

The USPTO's Website

Found at www.uspto.gov , the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website provides its users with a huge amount of information about the Office and about patents and trademarks.

The site includes search engines for:

  • Issued patents (text entries from 1976, scanned entries before that)
  • Published patent applications (from 2001)
  • Trademarks – registered and applied-for

There are filing mechanisms for both patent and trademark applications; the mechanisms even work reasonably well.

I send clients to this site regularly; it is readable by those who do not possess the knowledge of an IP practitioner and those clients who actually go to the site come back with awe in their voices, telling me that they didn’t know there was that much information out there.

The home page is always a running flow of USPTO news. Two items in today’s flow are worth mentioning here.

  • The National Inventors’ Hall of Fame has found a home at the USPTO’s museum. This exhibit is well worth visiting. Find the full story here.
  • April 6, 2009 is Design Day at the USPTO. Starting at 9 a.m., design patent examiners, design managers, independent inventors and patent attorneys and agents will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, information, and knowledge about design patent practice. Hon. Randall R. Rader, Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (which has exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals) is the scheduled keynote speaker. Find registration information here, and find the agenda here. This event is FREE, but you have to pre-register.

IP Audit a Necessity for Due Diligence

What IS an IP audit, anyway?

An IP audit is a systematic categorization of all of your business’s intellectual property, including but not limited to:

  • Inventions (patented and unpatented)
  • Copyrights (registered and unregistered)
  • Trademarks (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Dress (registered and unregistered)
  • Trade Secrets (obviously unregistered)

This categorization, with a simultaneous search for areas where your IP may have “holes,” is done by an intellectual property attorney in cooperation with your firm’s management team; despite the word “audit,” this is NOT an accounting function (although certainly an accountant belongs on your firm’s management team and probably on the IP audit team).

Use an IP audit as due diligence when you plan to merge, divest, buy, sell, create, license, franchise your property. Also use an IP audit when there has been a shift in the law that governs IP.

For more information about IP audits, read Nancy’s article, published in the December 2003 issue of Les Nouvelles (the flagship publication of the Licensing Executives’ Society), The Intellectual Property Audit (.pdf format) or visit our IP Audit webpage.