A Bold Dispute over Detroit Coffee Trademark Spills into Federal Court - A Day Late = A Trademark Short
A simple error, like providing the wrong name of the trademark owner on the registration application, cannot be corrected. Such may be the case for Detroit Coffee Company, LLC, who has sued Detroit Bold Coffee Co in United States District Court Southern District of New York for multiple claims under the Trademark Act. The dispute is also before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).
As of this posting, Detroit Bold has yet to file an answer to the lawsuit, however, it has filed an answer and counterclaim in the case before the TTAB, which will likely be relevant in the federal suit as well. They claim that the two trademark applications in question were filed in the name of Detroit Coffee Company, LLC on March 5, 2012 and the Michigan limited liability company was incorporated on March 6, 2012. A search of both the Trademark Office and Michigan corporate records match the details alleged by Detroit Bold.
While technology has made almost everything about filing for a trademark registration easier, the application rules and requirements are still just as unforgiving. One wrong answer can result in a costly mistake that cannot be corrected. Even worse, some errors which cannot be corrected, are not discovered until a trademark is opposed years later resulting in the entire application being void ab intio. This means that the application is void from the beginning and the registration is cancelled.
Detroit Bold is demanding the cancellation of both registrations for the trademark Detroit Coffee on the basis that under the trademark law, the ownership stated on the application cannot be corrected, and the application should be void ab initio. Detroit Bold contends that Detroit Coffee Company, LLC could not have had a bona fide intention to use the trademark on March 5, 2012, because they did not exist until March 6, 2012.
While multiple legal actions by both sides are still pending, the details of the case show that each step of the trademark registration process requires precision. Failure to ensure accuracy on core elements of the trademark application is like building on top of a foundation made of quicksand.
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