Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A wordmark with many different USPTO registered trademarks: "Front Page"


Here’s another good example of a wordmark that can be used by different lines of business without confusion: Front Page.

The Front Page Restaurants
is a trendy franchise of brunch restaurants (a bit like TGIF) with a décor based on newspaper front pages in murals around the restaurants. There are other chains with this theme, such as the Times (on the East Bank in Minneapolis). I noticed this when I had Mother's Day brunch at a Front Page restaurant.

The other well known use of this workmark is, of course, Microsoft’s web publishing product, which it is now replacing with Expression Web.

But a quick check with uspto.gov for “Front Page” shows a large variety of registered marks in different businesses, ranging from printing to securities trading to advertising.

The concept, of course, is that a “Front Page” is the first page that a customer sees, regardless of the business, and most naturally refers to a newspaper.

USPTO allows registration of the same work mark in different businesses. However, sometimes litigation has accepted the idea that dilution may occur across lines of business, even in areas where common sense says it should not. The concept of “brand” seems to run counter to the idea that a consumer should become educated.

I recall a battle in the 1990s between amazon.com and a bookstore in Minneapolis called “Amazon.”

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