14 October 2009

Is this the end of the Rom trademark saga?

If you've been wondering what's the latest in Parker Brothers' attempt to renew their trademarks on Rom, you're not alone. So have I! Unfortunately, there had been nothing to report until now. (Well, actually a few weeks ago when I started this entry, but life interfered with finishing it until now.)

First off, let's tackle the four "Rom the Spaceknight" trademarks. I said previously that I was most looking forward to see Hasbro's response on those, particularly the one that would include comic books. Sadly, I've been denied. Hasbro failed to respond in the six month response period about these four applications, therefore the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) has mailed an abandonment notice to them. This notice informs them that if they don't respond in an additional two months, the applications will be considered abandoned. I guess it's their "final final notice."

So, that leaves the four "Rom" trademark applications. The first, for software and video games, has hit a snag. When it was filed, it included various types of equipment. Hasbro's response to the USPTO's earlier claim that the category specified was too broad had them change it to include "downloadable software" for video game consoles and cell phones. The USPTO now says downloadable software does not logically follow from all the equipment (hardware) they specified in the original application. Frankly, I wonder if the original attorney really knew what he was doing in regards to the categories on the original applications. Anyway, Hasbro now has another six months to reply. At the moment, this is the final issue for this application.

The second application, for entertainment like movies, has been suspended pending the approval of an earlier application for "The Rom" by a company called Curious Sense, Inc. That application is for an "online community website featuring educational and entertainment related digital music content, video gaming, online shopping and social networking features". Curious Sense has less than a month remaining to either show they're using the mark in commerce or ask for an extension. We'll have to stay tuned for that one.

The third application, for paper and office goods, and fourth, for just about every game and toy you can think of, have both been accepted and will be published in the USPTO's Official Gazette on October 20, 2009. Barring, of course, objections by any other parties. The last one, of course, is the most important if Hasbro wants to actually bring the toy back.

So that's where everything stand now. Out of eight applications, four appear to have been abandoned, two are approved, one is awaiting clarification, and another is held up pending the approval of a similar but earlier application. But even those two approvals aren't the end for those applications. Hasbro will have to actually start selling something related to Rom to secure them! So, consider this just another step in what's becoming an unending saga.

[Next trademark update]