News, Views and Muse

What is the value of a trademark when the owner is prohibited from collecting associated revenues?

Johnny Manziel, quarterback of Texas A&M, and winner of the 2012 Heisman trophy awarded to the nation’s best collegiate footballer, has a corporation (JMAN2 Enterprises) that owns the trademark rights (application to USPTO dated Feb.2, 2013) to Johnny Football … at least that’s part of what is being litigated.

In a lawsuit filed in Texas earlier this month against Eric Vaughan, a man who was selling T-shirts that read, "Keep Calm and Johnny Football," JMAN2 Enterprises claims Vaughan infringed on those trademark rights.

The lawsuit is pretty straight forward, but proving damages would be complicated. Manziel is an amateur, prohibited from collecting on any revenues resulting from the trademark. However, the NCAA says that prohibition does not apply to financial earnings as a result of a legal action.

Historians reveal first e-reader was patented in Spain in 1949

According to the Daily Mail, Ángela Ruiz Robles invented what she called the Mechanical Encyclopedia in 1949 to reduce the weight of books in students' school bags. The device allowed readers to add different content spools.

Ruiz Robles’ patent application said:

It has some coils where you place the books that you want to learn in whatever language…By a movement of the same [the coils] it passes over all the topics, making it stop where you would like it to.

Reportedly the device also had a zoom function enabling readers to focus in on a particular area of the text.

It’s official:  the Yankees are the “Evil Empire”

Earlier this month a panel of trademark judges listened to Yankee arguments that they were, indeed, the “Evil Empire” and denied a 2008 trademark application from Evil Enterprises. The judges wrote:

In short, the record shows that there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees.