School isn’t much different from IP law: there are people that play nice, and there are bullies.
Trademark bullies (or ‘trademark trolls’) are companies that have trademark rights and bully other companies that register similar trademarks. The bullies are not there to enforce their rights or to use their trademark for goods or services. They have registered their trademarks for the sole purpose of bullying others and earning money from settlements.
You can easily recognize a ‘trademark bully’: normally the owner doesn’t have a website, there is no use of the trademark to be found, invoked trademarks are always younger than 5 years old (and therefore not subject to any use requirements). Also, in negotiations, trademark bullies are particularly stubborn and willing to settle only for large sums of money.
MarkMatters.com has encountered many of these trademark bullies in the past. Always very annoying for both IP attorney as well as client. These trademark bullies should be stopped.
Luckily, there is a new initiative: www.trademarkbullying.org. The website is designed to be a national resource. An information clearinghouse designed to provide news, research, data and relevant case studies to help victims of illegitimate trademark attacks defend themselves and continue to build their businesses.
The site is new and therefore does not contain much information yet. But this can be a great resource for IP attorneys. Sometimes you don’t know (for sure) you are being bullied.
Hoorah for new initiatives! Let’s pick on the annoying party’s that make our client lives misarable!