Last month, the Santa Clara Stadium Authority approved a naming rights deal between Levi Strauss and the San Francisco 49ers that will name the team's new stadium, Levi's Stadium. We had some discussion about potential nicknames, and it looks like Levi's is already getting down to business:
Levi Strauss has applied for trademarks on "Win one for the Zipper" and "Field of Jeans," possible nicknames to 49ers' Levi's Stadium— Mike Rosenberg (@RosenbergMerc) May 31, 2013
I'm not a big fan of puns, so these are tough to stomach. I'd likely just go with Levi's Stadium in my references, although I suppose that could change as I get used to things.
Levi Strauss submitted applications for the two marks on May 15. . I realize most of you might not care about the process of applying for a trademark, but if you ever want random information for a cocktail party, here is a quick rundown of the US Patent & Trademark Office's process after an application has been submitted:
1. Assuming minimum filing requirements (paperwork, fees, etc) have been met, the application is forwarded to an examining attorney. The wait for this step can be up to three months.
2. If the examining attorney decides a mark should not be registered, the attorney will issue a letter explaining the issue. If such a letter is sent, the applicant has six months to respond or the application will be declared abandoned. If objections are not overcome, a final refusal is issued. The applicant may appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
3. If the examining attorney has no objections to the mark, or objections are overcome, the mark will be approved for publication in the Official Gazette, a weekly publication of the USPTO. After publication, any party who believes it may be damaged by registration of the mark has 30 days to file an opposition or file an extension request for more time to oppose. The opposition is held before the TTAB and operates in a similar fashion to a court proceeding.
4. If no opposition is filed, or the opposition fails before the TTAB, the application enters the next stage. The USPTO will issue a "notice of allowance" approximately eight weeks after the date the mark was published. If there was opposition, that can obviously take longer.
5. For the purposes of Levi's Stadium, Levi Strauss then has six months from the date of the notice of allowance to either use the mark in commerce and submit a "statement of use", or request a six-month extension of time to file a statement of use. If "Field of Jeans" or "Win one for the zipper" are not being used in that first six months, Levi Strauss has to file extensions every six months until they start using the mark. If they do not file for an extension every six months, they could lose the mark to abandonment, and have to start all over.
6. After the "statement of use" has been submitted, the USPTO will review it. If all is well with the statement of us, the USPTO will issue a registration for the trademark. To maintain the registration, Levi Strauss will need to file maintenance documents.
You can review the status of any trademark ever submitted at the USPTO website. On the top menu bar, scroll over trademarks and click on "Trademark Search". At the next page, click on "Basic Word Mark Search" and then just type in the search term and hit enter. Once you click on a mark, you'll see all sorts of information. If you click on the blue box that says "TSDR", you'll get access to even more random information.