Rap Coalition

A HOW-TO RESOURCE FOR RAP ARTISTS, PRODUCERS, & DJs. Since knowledge is power, here is your best defense to succeed in the urban music industry...

Friday, July 27, 2007

A quick lesson in trademarks, thanks to BlackPress.com:

Fight for "Buckwild" trademark rages on

(BlackPressMagazine.com) - Most African Americans know the word, "Buckwild" from the popular song by the go-go group, Experience Unlimited a.k.a "EU." They also were famous for another song called, "Doing the Butt."

Who owns the trademark for the word, "Buckwild"?

According to the an application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Playboy, Inc., which listed their company as a Delaware corporation with a business address of 680 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago IL 60611, made the last application for the mark for the purposes of "Entertainment services in the nature of on-going reality television programs; production of reality television programs; and providing an on-line computer database in the field of entertainment via a global computer network," according to the application filed with the USPTO.

Playboy created the application related to its adult video program with the same name that set out to target the urban adult entertainment market. Playboy filed the application on August 27, 2003 and first used the mark in public and in commerce on January 9, 2004, according to USPTO application number 78292810. The mark was published for opposition on April 12, 2005 before being abandoned on December 6, 2005.

So, can VH1 reality TV star Becky "Buckwild" Johnston legally use the name to sell music, blogs, podcasts and apparel?

Maybe not.

There is a "LIVE" application for the Buckwild trademark owned by Lamontz Jackson of Detroit, MI. With the help of his trademark attorney, John R. Benefiel, Jackson smartly trademarked the name for musical and sound recordings on November 1, 2004. The service mark was published for opposition on December 20, 2005 under application number 78508969.

That pretty much takes care of the selling of music and podcasts under the name "Buckwild."

In today’s world of fast media through mediums like YouTube, blogging and other areas, does trademark really matter?

You bet your bottom dollar it does.

Jackson could effectively use the trademark to shut down any website, entity or company that is infringing on his lucrative trademark. In addition, he could, and likely will, seek compensation for use of the name for any musical or audio recordings.

Since the United States Supreme Court has ruled that every download is a publication, that could mean that every time a listener has downloaded the Buckwild podcast, Jackson could see big profits.

So why hasn’t Jackson sought to compensation, yet?

Most trademark owners sit back and wait for the most financially lucrative time to reap their rewards, after all obtaining a trademark is incredibly expensive. Plus, every time someone uses the trademark it becomes “watered down” and less effective.

For example, if you like inline skating but use the word “Rollerblading,” you’ve infringed on a trademark. If you reach for a “Kleenex” instead of a tissue you, you’re infringing. And if you want to photocopy a document and use the word “Xeroxing,” you’re also in trouble.

In today’s society, it would be a good idea to swing by the USPTO website when in doubt about who owns a trademark before you find your side getting in deep like Buckwild.


Blogger Shurani Lee said...

I love your blogs. They are enlightening, is to put it mildly. Since I'm no expert in giving rappers in Mississippi advice of the business kind.

Please continue to educate us all in the business of rap, hip-hop that includes the Dirty South, too.

1:07 PM  

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