Trademark lawsuit affects Pretzel Day worldwide
Pretzel Day, although not a famous day like the Fourth of July, is also a special day for the special group of Pretzel lovers that are distributed worldwide. However, these Pretzel lovers might need to take some extra caution next year as their precious Pretzel Day to celebrate their favorite food might receive some negative impacts due to a trademark lawsuit.
National Pretzel Day on April 26th recognizes one of America’s favorite snacks. A bag of nice crunchy, salty pretzels or a big, warm, soft, cinnamon pretzel is the question of the day. Either one is an excellent choice.
It is also somewhat coincident that this day is also the annually Intellectual Property Day. So, can Pretzel Day be saved by its fellow neighbor, IP day?
Pretzel Day lawsuit
Not just the rest of the world but most people in the United States only recognize this day as it is shown in the hit “The Office” starring famous actors such as Steve Carell, John Krasinski, B. J. Novak, etc. back in 2005.
In fact, if you google the word “Pretzel Day”, results about The Office movie came first.
Despite its popularity, laws must abide. 15 years later, on July 1st, 2022, a lawsuit for the company name in the hit show was filed by NBCUniversal (NBCU) — the owner of the hit show The Office against a company that owned the trademark registration for “Dunder Mifflin” for about 6 years over.
Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc. is a fictional paper and office supply sales company featured in the American television series The Office.
In 2020, after stating that The Office has claimed the position of one of the most streamed shows on Netflix with more than 57 billion hours viewed yearly, NBCUniversal has sought to register a trademark for the fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin.
However, the application was quickly denied as the trademark for the Dunder Mifflin name has already been registered in 2016 by Jay Kennette Media Group, LLC for apparel marketing.
NBCUniversal argued that they first use the name back in 2005 when The Office show aired. Therefore, they have the right over the mark. They are currently appealing the rejection of its trademark application and have also filed a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement.
In the lawsuit, NBCUniversal stated that Jay Kennette Media Group registered “Dunder Mifflin” as a form of trademark squatting, meaning they have no intention to use the mark but only for selling them back at a high price to the buyers or just to hinder the action of the rightful owner, NBCUniversal.
In addition, NBCUniversal also indicated that Jay Kennette Media Group gain profit by creating a likelihood of confusion among consumers, in order to sell merchandise with the name that isn’t theirs.
When looking at the trademarks owned by Jay Kennette Media Group, it appears that NBCU has a strong case since Jay Kennette has registered trademarks for a number of fictional works in which it has no ownership. These include Dragon Ball Z, Blade Runner, and many of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories.
This is clear evidence of trademark squatting and therefore, Jay Kennette Media Group’s trademark claims may be jeopardized.
After NBCUniversal files a lawsuit in federal court, Jay Kennette Media Group will have three weeks to respond after the complaint is served. They have the option of filing an answer, a motion to dismiss, or another type of response, or not answering at all and the case will result in a default judgment.
If NBCUniversal wins, they might get the name and the Pretzel’s Day back for all Pretzels lovers in the world as they have demanded that any remaining merchandise branded with the Dunder Mifflin name be destroyed. They’re also seeking unspecified damages along with any profits Jay Kennette has earned from selling infringing branded merchandise featuring the fictional paper company’s name.
However, the process might take a while, and therefore, in the next Pretzel’s Day – IP Day, Pretzel lovers will have something else to discuss besides the traditional tastes of the Pretzels.
– You could check Required documents of filing trademark in USA here.
– You could see What needs to be done after registering a trademark in US? here.
– You could visit here to see What is use in commerce of filing trademark in USA.
– You could also check here to see Procedure of Trademark in USA.
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