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 Announces New Location and New Hire

Firm is Well Positioned to Address Growing Client Needs in 2013

Ramey & Browning, PLLC is pleased to announce its new location at 5020 Montrose Blvd., Suite 750, Houston, Texas 77006. The firm is also excited to announce the addition of Harry Laxton Jr. as Of Counsel to the firm.

“This move to offices near the Courts and Medical Center strategically places us in a better position to serve our clients” said William Ramey, managing partner.  “While we are now closer to the central business district, we have chosen to remain just outside downtown in order to maintain a lower overhead model than many of our competitors.”

Harry is a registered patent attorney and a certified mediator who received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. Harry has prosecuted patents in various technologies, including electronics, computer systems, transportation logistics and cryptography. He has tried more than 40 lawsuits to verdict.

“Harry is an excellent addition to our experienced patent litigation team at Ramey & Browning,” said William Ramey, managing partner. “His experience and background in electrical engineering will allow us to expand the services we offer our clients.”

Ramey & Browning attorneys all have advanced degrees in chemistry, engineering, biomedical sciences, biology or biochemistry. The firm’s education and background allows them to serve as innovators in the fields of biotechnology, energy, agriculture, business methods, chemistry, computers, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, signal processing, and software, among many other technologies.

“We strive to provide superior client service by properly anticipating our clients’ needs, and accurately identifying the scope of work and the necessary resources to meet the client’s goals,” Ramey said. “This move and attorney addition puts us in an excellent position to meet growing client needs.”

Ramey & Browning PLLC is a full-service intellectual property boutique law firm serving a national client base from our Houston, Texas offices. Our sophisticated, technical backgrounds allow us to speak the language of engineers, lawyers, doctors, professors, scientists and inventors. We offer the skills and experience available from the large downtown firms without the associated high fees.


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.”