News Trademarks

Microsoft to launch new publication? Company files trademark for Latinzine


It looks like Microsoft may have something in the works for a new publication, focusing perhaps on Latin America.

On January 24, 2012, Microsoft filed a trademark application (Serial Number: 85524272) with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “Latinzine”.

The goods and services listed in the application include “streaming of video material via the Internet and mobile networks” and “providing on-line magazines accessible via the Internet and mobile networks in the fields of lifestyle, news, entertainment and sports; On-line journals, namely, blogs featuring content in the fields of lifestyle, news, entertainment and sports“.

Microsoft has opened two major technology centers in Latin America in the past six months. 

In January, the company inaugurated a major technology center in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In October 2011, it inaugurated its first Latin America MTC in Mexico City.

At the time of this story, Microsoft has made no announcement about Latinzine.

Disputes News WIPO

Columbia Pictures files dispute over [UPDATED]

Fantasy Island

Last summer DotWeekly wrote about the domain name selling in a Go Daddy expired domain auction for $22,005 USD. 

The first comment made by a reader of the article was that the purchase was a waste of money.

“What a waste of money IMO.  That purchase makes no sense unless you own the rights to the show Fantasy Island. If not, what the hell can one do with it? A titty bar? “Boss boss, de UDRP, de UDRP,”” wrote Mike.

Well, now Columbia Pictures Industries, which has owned the Fantasy Island trademark since the early 1980s, has filed a domain dispute (Case Number: D2012-0043) over with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the current owner is going to have to think about what to do.

What makes this case interesting is that the current owner Howard Guessner, has owned the domain name dating back to 2004 all the way up through today, according to Whois historical records.  So it appears Guessner may have renewed the domain in time and never paid $22K to Go Daddy to purchase it in an expiring auction.  

I’ve reached out to Guessner via e-mail to learn more and will update this post if I hear back.

[Updated on February 29, 2012:. The name has been ordered transferred to Columbia Pictures Industries.  The decision was issued on February 19, 2012.  Full details of the decision can be read here.]

News Trademarks Video Games

Proof that Zynga has plans for Rewardville: Trademark application filed in Europe

Zynga Rewardville

Rumor over on Elliot’s Blog is that Zynga, the popular social game development company, purchased the domain name, possibly for a rewards program that was announced back in late November in a Zynga  Press Release.

Being a big fan of Zynga, I did a little digging on the name Rewardville. 

While the domain name, which recently sold through Sedo for $4,500, is privately registered and redirects to as Elliot Silver noted in his story, here’s what I did find out that no other technology site or blog has reported.

Zynga filed for Trademark in Europe for word: Rewardville

In mid-December, Zynga Inc. filed for a European trademark that went unnoticed. 

The trademark application can be found here, by typing the term “rewardville” in the trademark name search field.

Rewardville trademark by Zynga

Though Zynga’s ultimate plans for Rewardville are not known at this time, chances are it’ll end up being an online resource  and directory of rewards programs offered between Zynga and its partners.


POLITICO sends cease and desist letter to the owner of domain

The College Politico

The owner of (registered about a year ago) is certainly enjoying some traffic, after receving a “cease and desist” letter from POLITICO.  POLITICO which gets over 2 million visitors per month according to Compete, is an online Political News website.

As you can see from the screenshot above, the webmaster is posting stories about this, and getting lots of attention by bloggers. 

From The Washington Examiner:

The origins of the word, “politico,” date to 1630, and signify a person active in party politics, according to Princeton’s WordNet.

Politico via counsel has issued similar cease and desist letters. In December 2007, the company forced the hand of an electronic trade publication aimed at political marketing to Hispanics. In a letter to readers, publisher Arturo Villar said the publication “reluctantly” changed their name from La Política to CandidatoUSA. Capitol News also holds the rights to Campus Politico, Wall Street Politico, Hollywood Politico, Mobilepolitico, El Policito and Politico TV.

“From a legal standpoint, [Politico] probably has a reasonable claim,” said Robert Cox, president of Media Bloggers Association. “The issue is whether people are likely to be confused.”

“It’s not even a close call,” said Jerald Fritz, Politico’s general counsel. “Brand and names are essential for any venture…we’re aimed at protecting our mark.” Fritz referred to Ford Mustang, Apple Computers and Greyhound as trademarks supportive of Politico’s claim. “There are countless examples. You can go on and on,” he said.

Ron Coleman, a commercial litigator and trademark lawyer at New York and New Jersey’s Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP., has targeted weak points in Politico’s argument on his blog, Likelihood of Confusion. Notably, said Coleman, generic words do not enjoy trademark protection, while descriptive words may only become trademarks if they have acquired distinctiveness.

“Politico’s problem is that although it may indeed be able prove that ‘POLITICO’ has acquired distinctiveness for online journals, it is still a rather weak trademark because of its descriptiveness,” he said.