Monthly Archives: December 2012

Vulgar Trademarks Cannot Be Federally Registered

In a recent opinion, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s refusal to register a trademark because the mark was vulgar.   The law has long prohibited federal registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks.  The Court noted that scandalousness can be proven by establishing that a trademark is vulgar.  Although the Court noted that what is immoral or scandalous has evolved over time,  in the case before it (In re Marsha Fox),  the Court concluded that one of the meanings of the trademark was clearly vulgar  and, thus, while Fox was free to use her mark in commerce, she would not be allowed to federally register the mark.


Ramey & Browning continued its sponsorship of the BEAR program in 2012 by providing gifts for two children in foster homes. BEAR… BE A Resource for CPS Kids offers hope and help to abused and neglected children and the caseworkers who protect them.  BEAR is a 501(c)(3) public/private partnership that provides emergency goods and services directly to children under the care of Child Protective Services (CPS) in Harris County.

Samsung Expands Product List in Patent Infringement Suit with Apple

In the patent infringement between Apple and Samsung, District Court Judge Paul S. Grewal has granted Samsung’s motion to add the iPhone 5 to Samsung’s list of allegedly infringing Apple products.

Apple started the lawsuit with Samsung by alleging that Samsung infringed several Apple patents.  Samsung replied, in part, by counter-suing Apple for alleged infringement by Apple’s iPhone and iPad products.  Apple is also involved in patent infringement litigation against Google.

Intellectual Property Cooperation among Countries Grows

A coalition of the world’s five largest patent offices announced that the coalition will release a statistical report to help the public understand the operations and patent procedures among the offices.  The five patent offices, known as the IP5, are the patent offices for the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea and China.  The IP5’s press release can be found at

The continued work of the IP5 coalition reflects the trend of countries working together on intellectual property issues.  Last month, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced three “Patent Prosecution Highways” with the Czech Republic, Philippines and Portuguese patent offices that are designed to expedite the processing of patent claims for applications filed in multiple participating countries.  The U.S.P.T.O’s press release is at

Ramey & Browning Partner Provides IP Training to A&M Business Management Class

On November 12, William Ramey provided a seminar regarding intellectual property issues to Texas A&M’s “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” business management class.  Mr. Ramey, an A&M graduate (Whoop!), has been providing intellectual property training for several years at A&M.  His November 12 presentation explained principles of patents, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets to the A&M students.

On a side note, Ramey & Browning congratulates A&M for its well-deserved football victory over No. 1 ranked Alabama on November 17.   As an unidentified Aggie stated,  “Coach Sumlin’s congratulations to the seniors upon their return from beating the hell out of the Crimson Tide exemplifies the Aggie Spirit, as seen on YouTube.”