Monday, January 22, 2007

Welcome to the PTO Website You Must be 18 or Over to Enter

Isn't it ironic that the PTO will refuse to register a trademark based on Section 2(a) because the mark consists of or comprises immoral or scandalous matter, yet will display specimens of arguably immoral or scandalous matter? Not that I'm complaining, but applicants for marks of the "adult entertainment" variety frequently submit specimens consisting of screen shots of the applicant's adult entertainment websites. The more discrete applicants will put black bars over the private areas. However, some applicants (and their attorneys) don't even make the effort. And the PTO will publish the uncensored specimen.

I'm not saying that the PTO should remove the specimens. I think it's great that the PTO is putting up complete trademark files. It's a great help for the trademark practitioners and helps us counsel our clients more effectively and efficiently. I just wanted the reader to be aware that there may be some offensive photos on the PTO website.

For example, run this search ("adult entertainment")[gs] in TESS, then check out the specimens in TDR to find uncensored specimens. {update: video explanation on how to run search}

I can envision the following scene:

HR: Mr. Smith, we've noticed that you've been visiting some, um shall we say, inappropriate websites lately.

Mr. Smith: Oh, you mean porno sites?

HR: Yes. And we just wanted to let you know that your behavior will not be tolerated here at Big Firm. We're placing a filter on your internet account, and any further attempts to visit porno sites will result in your termination.

Smith: [switching into Dick Vitale voice] Come on baby. Don't you know I'm the TATTPS?

HR: The what?

Smith: The Trademark Attorney to the Porn Stars! You better get a TO on the termination talk. The big guy approved my porn surfing. I need to visit these sites to gather specimens of actual use.

HR: Specimens? That sounds disgusting.

Jeez. Sounds like I could write dialog for some of the aforementioned applicants. Anyways, you get the picture. Obviously, the names in the above dramatization have been generisized to protect the innocent.

By the way, my posting of this story follows the tried and true method of the mainstream news method of "sex sells." We'll see if the TMBC get a spike in readership. ; )

Also, I've always wanted to start a new meme. Maybe surfing for porn on the PTO website will be a new meme, and we can call it PronTO for Pron Trademark Office. The term "pron" is sometimes used for "porn," which I believe was an early attempt to circumvent spam detection programs.

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