1. News & Issues
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Patent Office Suffers 'Shock and Awe' Attack

From Yo-Yos to Crib Toys, It's Just Shocking, says PTO


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has reported being suddenly besieged by at least 29 applications for trademarks using the term "Shock and Awe" in their names.

The term slammed its way into the American lexicon seven months ago, when the Pentagon boldly bragged that a war against Iraq could be won in just 48 hours, after opening U.S. attacks with high tech weapons resulted in "shock and awe" among Iraqi troops. (See: Iraq War Could Be Won in 48 Hours: Report)

Now, the Patent Office says it has gotten filings from marketers to trademark "Shock and Awe" in names and advertising for such diverse products as golf clubs, pesticides, dietary supplements, video games, salsa, energy drinks, yo-yos, lingerie, Bloody Mary mix and -- believe it or not -- "infant action crib toys."

In a Reuters news story, Brigid Quinn, spokeswoman for the Patent Office, is quoted as telling reporters, "The last thing I can remember like this was for using the terms Millennium or Y2K."

According to Quinn, none of the "Shock and Awe" applications have been approved yet, including any of the five for a brand of fireworks.

"Each will be reviewed one by one on their own merit," Quinn told Reuters.

A registered trademark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.

Trademarks differ from patents and copyrights in that a copyright protects the creators' rights to an original artistic or literary work; a patent protects inventors' rights to inventions.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.