Museum Collection Trademark, We Hardly Knew You

Museum Collection Trademark, We Hardly Knew You

On November 11, 2011, Topps filed a trademark application for the mark MUSEUM COLLECTION to be used with trading cards. This application was filed, obviously, to protect the upcoming 2012 Topps Museum Collection product. Why is this interesting? Six days later Topps expressly abandoned the mark.

Legal translation - Immediately after Topps filed for the Museum Collection registration, it informed the United States Patent and Trademark Office that it no longer wanted it.

This filing is bizarre. Someone at Topps thought the mark was important enough to try to register, and then, less than a week later, someone at Topps decided it was imperative to immediately drop the application.

So this begs the question, what does Topps' filing mean, besides confusion at the corporate level?

What it doesn't mean is an easier question. This filing does not mean that Topps is going to cancel the 2012 product. It also does not mean that it's going to rename the 2012 Museum Collection product (Although it might. It already changed the name once from Marquee to Museum Collection. Why not change it back again?). Heck, Topps could continue to roll out Museum Collection for the next few years without repercussion. Really, the most we can definitively read into this filing (without future actions from Topps) is that the 2012 Museum Collection product just won't be in the best possible position it could be if someone infringed its trademark.

My guess as to what's going on behind the scenes – Museum Collection will either be a one and done product, or, there'll be a name change back to Marquee. Marquee had some traction, and rebranding a product always comes with risk, so, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

For those who think they can discern the future, below is the USPTO summary of Topps' abandoned mark.

Word Mark MUSEUM COLLECTION
Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: Trading cards
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 85470134
Filing Date November 11, 2011
Current Filing Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) The Topps Company, Inc. CORPORATION DELAWARE One Whitehall Street New York NEW YORK 10004
Attorney of Record Andrew Baum
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Abandonment Date November 17, 2011

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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