Here on the Internet news circuit, the Occupy boom has more or less settled. Don't bite our heads off — we're not saying the movement itself is over, by any means — but it's nearing the end of its shelf life as a meme. (The young American hive mind has a severe case of ADD, and a story can only stay hot for a few months before everyone goes looking for the next trending topic to beat the life out of. Just look at Charlie Sheen.)
Unlike the national attention span, though, trademark law is still Paul Revering it through the 21st century. So these SoCal-based applications to trademark phrases like “Occupy,” “Occupy LA” and “Occupy Los Angeles” (discovered by trademark lawyer Sue Basko and posted to the official OLA blog), are still pending in court:
First, there's Jeffrey Pierce Henderson, the kook who's claiming to own a political organization known as “Occupy Los Angeles.”
Basko, the blogger/trademark lawyer, tells us she isn't too worried about that one. She rattles off a long list of things wrong with the application. (We won't print them here, seeing as that would be more a service to said kook that anybody else.)
Her only concern, at this point, is that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office “might believe he's trying to do this on behalf of the whole,” much like Occupy Wall Street protesters tried to do last fall, for the very purpose of preventing such kookery.
And there are a couple others she finds more troubling.
A Montecito resident named Aaron Hawke is trying to trademark the phrase “Occupy LA” for printing on hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts. Like a tourist shop, for the land of anti-corporate tree people! Basko says Hawke apparently wants to ensure that “he's only person making these T-shirts.”
Strangest of all is the third application that the lawyer dug up. It's filed by DBA Transmedia Agency, a company from Del Mar (one of a few bougie beach towns located in northern San Diego County), and seeks to trademark the word “Occupy” as a “standard character mark” for all types of media — including video games, audiobooks, computer programs and everything else you can think of.
This one confuses Basko a bit, because it's “so overreaching.”
She admits it's “hard to say exactly what a trademark examiner will say” in response to the application — although trademarking something with such a giant Internet legacy as “Occupy” would take some pretty clever lawyering.
The concept of a trademark was obviously borne in the exact opposite spirit of Occupy Wall Street. But that won't stop the nation's entrepreneurs — though kind of awful ones, in this case — from trying to ride the coattails of the 99 percent all the way to the bank. (Get it? Bank!) Here are our favorite Occupy-themed trademark applications of the last few months, as long as we're browsing the database:
- OCCUPY THE ALTAR
- OCCUPY YOUR TAX REFUND
- OCCUPY BLACKBERRY
- OCCUPY LIFE
- OCCUPY HIP HOP
Seriously, what is wrong with this country?