Signature Moves: Trademarked Poses Raise Questions in IP Law – KJK

A trademark, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”), can be “any term, phrase, symbol, design and style, or a blend of these points that identifies your items or expert services.” Can a physique motion be secured as a trademark? The respond to is fewer than apparent.

Usain Bolt Tries to Guard Victory Pose

Final month, 8-time Olympic gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt filed a trademark application to defend his signature “victory pose,” in which Bolt bends one knee, leans to the side, and details to the sky. Bolt has titled his go, the “To Di World” pose. Bolt now seeks to use the pose as a brand on a apparel and extras line, which, according to the August 17th software, would be utilised in connection with sunglasses, jewellery, bags, apparel, sporting products, and dining places and sports bars.

So significantly, Bolt has not sought security for the pose itself, in its place, implementing for a much additional common sort of structure mark as utilized to products. The mark’s description reads: “the silhouette of a guy in a unique pose, with 1 arm bent and pointing to the head, and the other arm raised and pointing upward.”

Trademarks May possibly Not be Descriptive

The use of the word “distinctive” in the very description of the mark is a conclusory statement that will have to enjoy out in upcoming disputes. A trademark might not be “descriptive,” meaning that it may possibly not simply explain a excellent of the goods or products and services it is meant to represent. Rather, the strongest marks are “arbitrary” that means there is no inherent which means to the marks exterior of the which means imbued by the brand name by itself.

Though Bolt’s mark is to be applied in relationship with products, a issue remains as to regardless of whether poses may perhaps implicate trademark “use” in numerous media retailers displaying the poses, even the place the mark by itself may well not be employed. Disputes might even further define the bounds of safety to be afforded to the trademark, answering thoughts this sort of as: what constitutes infringement of a mark consisting of a pose and can a pose be distinctive plenty of to pay for robust trademark protection? Trademarks are sadly of uncertain value until finally they are enforced, that means these thoughts are a lot more probably to be answered in potential litigation.

Former Makes an attempt to Trademark Signature Moves

Bolt’s mark is not the to start with try at guarding a mark consisting of an athlete’s signature go. Michael Jordan’s famed “Jumpman” mark, owned by Nike, is made up of a silhouette of Jordan leaping in the air with an outstretched hand gripping a basketball.

Nike has sued in excess of the brand in the past, with Chinese firm “Qiaodan,” which means “Jordan” in Mandarin, seeking to revenue off of the mark because of to China’s 1st-to-file policy with regard to worldwide emblems. Jordan eventually accomplished a favorable ruling in China’s optimum court docket next an 8-year legal struggle, resulting in the revocation of the “Qiaodan” mark, noting the similarities in the “Jumpman” brand and “Qiaodan” logos and concluding that the enterprise had wrongfully tried to capitalize on Jordan’s goodwill and image.

In one more illustration of an attempt to trademark a body movement, Gene Simmons, member of the iconic band “KISS” attempted in 2017 to trademark the legendary “devil horns” image now ubiquitous at rock and steel concerts. Simmons claimed to have to start with utilised the symbol in 1974 in the course of Kiss’s Hotter than Hell tour.

Simmons confronted harsh criticism for the try at trademarking the symbol, notably by Wendy Dio, widow of Ronnie James Dio, who was also credited with popularizing the gesture. Simmons abandoned the application in 2017.

Even if Simmons have been to have been profitable in registering a trademark for his gesture, the ubiquity of the gesture, and consequently the uncertainty surrounding what “goods or services” are implicated in the use of the gesture, would definitely induce any purported trademark protection to be small in exercise. Bolt’s registration is distinguishable in its uniqueness, creating an fascinating take a look at circumstance for long term litigation.

For more information or to focus on further, remember to get in touch with KJK’s Mental House and Brand name Protection Attorneys Ted Theofrastous ([email protected] 216.736.7290) or Anna Bullock ([email protected] 216.736.7223).