Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Lawsuit against Apple has confusing trademark paper trail

Financial motives typically motivate companies in New Jersey to defend their intellectual property. The trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and Social Technologies LLC illustrates the high stakes that prompt companies to establish their trademarks and patents. The companies are contesting ownership of the trademark for Memoji, but a strange paper trail from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office confuses the matter.

Social Technologies sought registration of a trademark for Memoji with a filing dated April 1, 2018, and marked with serial number 86961925. Apple also filed a trademark application for Memoji that was given the serial number 87397135. On June 5 and June 26, the USPTO mailed suspension letters to Apple stating that One Monkey LLC had already requested trademark registration and Apple did not qualify.

The connection between One Monkey and Social Technologies remains unclear. The USPTO indicated that One Monkey applied for the Memoji trademark but granted registration to Social Technologies.

In response to the lawsuit, Apple representatives informed Social Technologies that Apple possessed a priority date for the trademark. No records appear to back up this claim. Apple has yet to show that it responded to the two suspension letters from the USPTO. The lawsuit awaits assignment to a judge.

A person or organization that needs to register a patent or trademark, defend one from infringement or license intellectual property might want insights from an attorney. After examining the case, an attorney may recommend how to advance the person's goals with trademark law. An attorney may manage filings to the government or, in cases of infringement, file a lawsuit and calculate the damages.

Source: Patently Apple, "Apple sued over the 'Memoji' Trademark that was granted to another Company last week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office", Sept. 28, 2018

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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