On Friday, we told you about the New York couple who filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to register a trademark for the phrase “Occupy Wall St.,” but since then word has leaked out about two other applications to protect the same phrase.
One such application was filed on October 24 by Pete Dutro and Victoria Sobel, who have been organizing the Occupy Wall St. protest and also keeping track of the group’s finances. Their close involvement with the movement appears to be quite tangible, so they should have a fairly easy time of showing a “connection to the mark and that they believe they are the owner of that mark and believe they have the exclusive right to use it.” This is a requirement to register a trademark according to Cynthia Lynch, administrator for trademark policy and procedure for the USPTO in an interview with Time’s NewsFeed. On the other hand, the connection with the mark that is often required is based on who uses the mark in commerce first, so time will tell which version of “connection” the USPTO will favor here.
The third OWS application, though, may actually come from some of “the 1%.” According to Seth Dennis of the American University Washington College of Law blog, also on October 24, Fer-Eng Investments, LCC, filed an application to register the trademark for Occupy Wall St:
Fer-Eng Investments appears to be a shell corporation with the only officer named as ‘The Ferraro-Eng Family Trust.’ The names provided on the address refer to Vincent Ferraro and Wee Nah Eng. Interestingly enough, Ferraro, a Stanford Business School grad, is the former Vice-President of Worldwide Marketing for Hewlett-Packard, where he met his wife Wee Nah Eng. Ferraro now serves as the Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Global Marketing for Eastman Kodak, and also appears to hold several consulting positions.
Dennis goes on to guess that “based on [Ferraro’s] title, position, and impressive (publicly accessible) Linkedin resume, I would be willing to give anyone 10:1 odds that the Ferraro-Eng household is bringing in enough to meet the $380K a year threshold for the ‘top 1%.’”
At this point, as noted by Dennis, we don’t know the motivations of Fer-Eng Investments for applying for the trademark of Occupy Wall St., but this will certainly be an interesting trademark competition to keep an eye on.