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Top Trademark Trends of 2010

FALLS CHURCH, VA -- A new report detailing the "Top Trademark Trends of 2010" has been released by Erik Pelton, a trademark attorney and former examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The report shows that 2010 was a very active year in the world of trademarks, and many major developments paralleled stories involving major newsmakers, such as Apple, BP, Facebook, and reality TV stars. Other trends in the report include the total failure of The Gap's new logo and an explosion in trademark applications filed by Tea Party enthusiasts.

One common theme among this year's trademark trends was the increasing role that social media plays in branding efforts. For example, The Gap's efforts to launch a new logo were quickly reversed within hours after a backlash from Facebook, Twitter, and the web. Facebook itself filed to protect words including "Like" and "Face" and became involved in several disputes over website names.

Mr. Pelton's report also includes evidence of steady growth in the economy over the past year. The number of U.S. trademark applications filed in 2010 grew approximately 4% over the prior year, another indicator that the U.S. economy is growing, but at a slower pace than pre-recession. "While businesses are still cautious about new investments, many of the leading brands filed dozens of trademark applications in 2010, in part because they are aware of the value their trademarks provide for interactions with consumers and for their bottom line," said Mr. Pelton. "I believe 2011 will be just as active as the economy continues to grow."

According to Mr. Pelton, a Congressionally mandated USPTO study of the effect overreaching trademark enforcement efforts have on small businesses will be an important issue to watch in 2011. "Many large corporations have grown exceedingly aggressive in attempting to enforce their trademarks," he said. "This study may be the first step in a series of reforms that will help level the playing field for small businesses that are forced to defend themselves against expensive and baseless trademark claims."

Erik Pelton is the founder of Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC, a boutique trademark law firm in Falls Church, Virginia. Established in 1999, the firm has registered more than 1,400 U.S. trademarks for clients, represented dozens of parties in Trademark Trial and Appeal Board disputes, and practiced before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Erik's blog about trademark and social media issues, IPeltonĀ®, can be found at

Published December 24, 2010


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