30 July 2009

Rom tidbit of the day

In searching the Web, I came across the following tidbit from The General Mills/Parker Brothers Merger by Ellen Wojahn (2003).
Most interesting for the designers and marketers in-house, ROM made breathing sounds that made for great intra-office obscene phone calls.
No doubt this occurred to many people who had a Rom action figure back in the day, but I must sadly confess that I'd never thought of it.

27 July 2009

The Rom trademark saga continues

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has updated half of Hasbro's trademark claims, namely those for just the "Rom" mark, with Hasbro's response. Sadly, the ones for "Rom the Spaceknight," which were the ones initially refused in part because of Marvel's "Spaceknights" trademark, have not been updated at this time. I would ascribe this to delays on the USPTO's part in updating their databases, not Hasbro's in responding, but that's only a guess.

In essence, Hasbro's lawyers did three things for each application. First, they disclaimed any relation to Rom and computer memory, essentially saying that their product is not called Rom because it contains Read Only Memory computer chips. Second, they narrowed the classifications on each one to show that their products would not conflict with those of other companies that already have related trademarks. And third, they reiterated that the applications were for "intent to use" and that "at this time [Hasbro] has not yet developed specific, detailed factual plans for the goods/services" (where it's "goods" or "services" depending on the application in question).

Despite their supposed lack of detailed plans, the new classifications give us a much better idea of Hasbro's potential plans for Rom: market the stew out of him. The new classifications include action figures and vehicles(!), playsets, plush toys, stuffed toys, ride-on toys, building toys, inflatable toys, water squirting toys, board games, card games, electronic hand-held games, and jigsaw puzzles. And that's just the toys and games application. Then we have computer games, video games, gambling machines(!), movies, television shows, DVDs, and soundtrack albums spread across two more applications. And finally, we have just about every paper good and office supply imaginable: coloring books, story books, fiction books, party supplies, wrapping paper, trading cards, lunch bags, book covers, posters, pens, pencils, stationery, rulers, and temporary tattoos. In essence, think of all the common Star Wars products created in 30+ years. Hasbro wants to leave the door open to make those for Rom.

There's one, however that may bite them in the butt: comic books. Fine for the plain "Rom" applications, but if they include that in the "Rom the Spaceknight" ones, they'll run smack into Marvel's "Spaceknights" trademark. This is the response I anxiously await to read. And after I do, I'll let you know about it here.

[Next trademark update]

02 July 2009

Hannah update: 9 months

By popular demand, Hannah updates are back. In short, she's doing great. She's running small on most measurements, particularly weight, but developmentally she's exactly where she should be, if not ahead. For the record, the measurements were 27.75" long and weighs 15 lbs. 2 oz.

She's dangerously close to walking. She can walk as long as bigger person holds her up or she can cruise holding on to furniture. In fact, she seems to prefer cruising to crawling. I fully expect her to be walking before 12 months.

She also has gotten her first two teeth. They're the two bottom ones. Hopefully you can make them out in the adjacent picture. She was starting to eat solid food even before the first tooth came in, but still gets plenty of mom's milk, too.

We had a scare over the weekend. Hannah spilled a container full of paper clips. Dorothy thought she had picked them all up, but then Hannah found another one, which Dorothy got away from her. Then, just a bit later, Dorothy thought she saw Hannah put something in her mouth. She checked and couldn't find anything, so she thought maybe she'd imagined it. Just a few minutes later, though, Hannah started choking. She spit up a bit of food and seemed to be fine, but that was scary enough that we took her to the pediatric ER.

It turns out they make teeny little hospital gowns for babies, as seen here. There was a bit of a wait, but it wasn't too bad, and much more pleasurable than going to the regular ER. Finally, we got an x-ray technician who loaded Dorothy and me up with lead smocks, as it was our job to hold her still during the procedure. We had to remove Hannah's cloth diaper, because of the snaps on it. The technician then seemed way too concerned about exposing her privates during the procedure. I mean, give me a break, she's just nine months old and the only people there were him and the three of us!

After another wait, we got the good news that nothing was found in the x-ray. So one $175(!) co-pay later, we were free to go. The cost made us feel a bit silly about the whole thing, but really, the peace of mind is priceless.

In other family news, our church had its music camp a few weeks ago. It was the story of the apostle Paul. Walter played the part of Peter. His main job was to do roll call for the rest of the apostles, which he did well. Andrew—seen here with his friend, Andrew—was in the sailor chorus, but also got to "stone" Stephen, which is what the costume he's wearing in the photo was for.