As reported by the New York Times, branches of the US armed forces are increasing their efforts to enforce military trademarks.
Numerous commercial products and services not actually associated with the military make use of military logos and mottos.
These products include insignia for the “Star Fleet Marines,” sold on a Star Trek fan site, as well as Marine-logo underwear and “Leathernecks” toilet wipes.
The fan site agreed to remove the Marine logo from its products but continued to use the marine name, as seen above. (The name “marine” is descriptive of a type of military unit and is not unique to the US Marine Corps.)
The Pentagon has responded to the use of military-related marks by having its trademark attorneys send “cease-and-desist” letters to infringers.
The Marines already hold at least 68 registered trademarks and are continuing to get more, at an increasing pace: one mark in 2003, four in 2008, and nine from 2010 to 2011.
In 2013 The Marines licensed the trademark, “Pain is weakness leaving the body,” for use on water bottles.
Walt Disney Co. tried to register the mark “SEAL Team Six” for items including toys, videogames, snow globes, and Christmas stockings – two days after the unit’s mission to kill Osama bin Laden became public.
Disney said it was considering producing a TV series about the elite unit.
In response to Disney’s application, the Navy filed its own trademark registrations for “SEAL Team” and “Navy SEALs.”
Disney later agreed to withdraw its trademark application, “out of deference to the Navy.”
Registering military marks allows the US government to collect licensing revenues. The Marines have collected $5.4 million in trademark licensing fees since 2009.
The Army increased its number of licenses from 120 in 2011 to 265 in 2013.
If you have questions about the use of military-related logos, symbols, or slogans, or if you are interesting in licensing government-owned intellectual property for consumer use, it’s always best to consult with an attorney to avoid potential trademark infringement.
Leech Tishman’s Intellectual Property attorneys are dedicated to the protection and monetization of your ideas and innovations. Many of our registered patent attorneys have advanced degrees enabling them to truly understand the complex technical details of your idea. Several bring engineering expertise, others molecular biology, manufacturing and business acumen to your trademark, copyright, patent prosecution and litigation and trade secret issues, both domestic and international.
Our clients range from individual inventors, authors and owners of creative works to entrepreneurial enterprises, government entities, mid-sized corporations and Global 500 companies with operations throughout North and Central America, Europe, South Asia, the Far East and Australia.
We have serviced a vast array of industries including automotive, cosmetics, e-commerce, electronics, entertainment, fashion, food and beverage, furniture, internet, manufacturing, networks, optics, publishing, software, technology, toys, and wireless.
We are committed to providing you with strategic counseling and personal attention throughout the entire life cycle of your project.
We are proud of our longstanding relationships with local innovation communities and enjoy working with entrepreneurs and businesses who wish to protect their ideas and good names.
Please contact us today for a free consultation at (855) UR- IDEAS or (626) 796-4000.
Disclaimer: We fully comply with all laws related to attorney marketing and this posting is considered an advertisement.
Photo Attribution: Seal of the United States Marine Corps. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.