Law of Cards: Upper Deck Files For Impel Trademark

Law of Cards: Upper Deck Files For Impel Trademark

1990 Impel Marvel Universe 48 Storm

Upper Deck's busy year at the Trademark Office continues with its latest trademark filing: IMPEL.

For those who don't remember, Impel was a trading card company best known for its early-1990s Marvel and Star Trek sets.

Impel then evolved into SkyBox, which bought by Fleer before finally ending up at Upper Deck.

Legal translation: Is it just me, or does everything in this industry somehow always end up being owned by Upper Deck, Panini or Topps?

The details of Upper Deck's IMPEL filing is below:

Word Mark IMPEL
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: trading cards
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 26.03.17 - Concentric ovals; Concentric ovals and ovals within ovals; Ovals within ovals; Ovals, concentric
26.03.21 - Ovals that are completely or partially shaded
26.17.12 - Angles (geometric); Chevrons
Serial Number 85841697
Filing Date February 5, 2013
Current Basis 1B
Original Filing Basis 1B
Owner (APPLICANT) The Upper Deck Company CORPORATION CALIFORNIA 2251 Rutherford Road Carlsbad CALIFORNIA 92008
Attorney of Record Pollie Gautsch, Esq.
Description of Mark Color is not claimed as a feature of the mark. The mark consists of A stylized "I".
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE

Notably, the filing is an intent-to-use application, so it's a potential/future product. Considering Upper Deck has a relationship with Marvel, it's likely a throw-back to the 1990s Marvel sets.

The trademark application is also for a specific design of the IMPEL mark (below), and not just for the word "impel."

I suspect, however, that if this product re-launch succeeds, there will be a more expansive IMPEL filing in the future.

To me, the most interesting aspect of this filing has nothing to do with the mark IMPEL, it's the fact that it's Upper Deck's eleventh trademark filing of 2013. In contrast, it only filed one trademark in 2012.

Legal musing: There's definitely a philosophical change at Upper Deck when it comes to intellectual property: less lawsuits, but more filings.

But don't fear, more filings mean more opportunity for lawsuits. And more opportunity for lawsuits eventually means more lawsuits.

Also, trademarks are intellectual property. Property is worth money. The more property you have, the more money you are allegedly worth. So, if you have a lot of trademark registrations, you are allegedly a more valuable company. Upper Deck's increase in filings this year might just be a simple business strategy: let's make Upper Deck more valuable.

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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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