When new companies come to Indianapolis promising tech jobs, particularly as part of a joint announcement with the Governor and Mayor, I like to check our their trademark portfolio and make sure all is in order. Apparently in the excitement of watching Michael Jordan highlights on top of semis or receiving multi-million dollar tax abatements, LiTEBOX has added the federal trademark registration notice, ®, to their Facebook page despite not owning a valid trademark registration. This could cause LiTEBOX trademark problems now (fraud) or later (inability to protect their mark based on this earlier fraud).
“Improper use of the federal registration symbol, ®, that is deliberate and intends to deceive or mislead the public or the USPTO is fraud.” Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure 906.04
In addition, LiTEBOX at some point is going to have to reconcile their use of the trademark with the owners of this trademark application:
Trademark considerations may seem small given all of the other questions that have been raised about LiTEBOX, but let’s hope they find good IP counsel soon to get their trademark situation sorted before it results in a big headache.
To everyone else, this is a good reminder to scan your marketing materials and online platforms for improper use of a trademark notice.