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]

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