We’ve all seen the news feeds documenting the Occupy Wall Street movement, people sitting in the blistering cold of the New York City winter entrenched as much in their camp as their beliefs. These people have a message: that corporate greed has run rampant in this country long enough, and that society as a whole needs to take back the political system that has been corrupted by skyscraper capitalists. Of course, this wouldn’t be the United States of America if there wasn’t some individual or group trying to capitalize on a message of anti-capitalism; the sad irony of a country in recession.
To date, there have been over ten new trademark applications filed with the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office that correspond directly to the OWS movement, most notably “Occupy Wall Street” by Fer-Eng Investments, LLC, a company based in Rancho Santa Fe, California and “Occupy Wall Street” by Occupy Wall Street from New York City, New York. Both of these applications were filed no more than one month ago and both have filed under classifications for leather goods and clothing. Other notable trademark applications pertaining to OWS would be “Occupy D.C. 2012”, “Occupy LA”, “I’m Occupied” and “Occupy Together”. Another trademark application, “Occupy Wall St.” by Diane Maresca from West Islip, New York was expressly abandoned after being filed.
The remarkable thing about all of these applications is the disregard for the actual ideals of the movement that these applications portray. Case in point, these applications are strictly for products or entertainment services; is there really anything political or serious about leather goods and clothing? If the individuals/organizations attempting to register these trademarks actually believed that what they were doing was a true social movement, I would suggest they apply for “personal and social services rendered by others to meet the needs of individuals.” For now it seems like it’s a race to see who can own the rights to the name to make a quick buck from tourists snapping pictures in the New York financial district.
In the end, the joke will ultimately be on these people, who paid god knows how much for their applications as each classification chosen is typically a multiplication of the fee required. The typical trademark can expect to receive registration only after it has been approved by the examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and has been published for opposition, a time frame of approximately seven months only if the examining attorney doesn’t issue any requests for revision of the application upon review. Regardless of whether this movement is a fad or something more that does change the political and economic landscape of this country, one thing is for sure: by the time these trademarks are registered, there will be no commercial value to them because the social climate changes faster than you can say, “Occupy what?”