Couple Trying To Trademark Bitcoin Via Dubious Claims

from the any-penalties-for-such-filings? dept

Via Slashdot we learn that someone has filed for a trademark on the word Bitcoin.

The Slashdot report claims that it’s the lawyer, Michael S. Pascazi, filing for the trademark, but it’s at least a little more complicated. It looks like Pascazi is acting as counsel for Magellan Capital Advisors. However, it does appear that Pascazi may have some further direct connection to Magellan, as the example of “first use” in commerce sent with the trademark filing is a letter from Magellan to some guy (Michel Mouchon) offering to sell “Bitcoin”… and the letter is signed by Celine M. Pascazi, which the Slashdot report says is Michael’s wife. Furthermore, Pascazi’s law firm has put up a pdf file touting the benefits of Bitcoin, and noting that Bitcoin is pending trademark to Magellan. On top of that, the pdf lists Celine Mouchon Pascazi as working for the Pascazi Law Offices.

Mouchon? Oh wait. Michel Mouchon is the person the original offer was made to… I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, right?

Yeah, it’s not hard to put two and two together here. I mean, just the fact that they’re claiming the first use in commerce was June 22nd of this year should lead to the application not passing the laugh test. But I do wonder, are there penalties for trying to mislead the USPTO in a trademark filing?



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Companies: magellan capital advisors, pascazi law

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Comments on “Couple Trying To Trademark Bitcoin Via Dubious Claims”

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31 Comments
dwg says:

Re: Re:

Wait, I don’t understand: are you claiming that you’re the first person to utilize the phrase “My sister has worked on [sic] a K Street law firm for years”? First of all, I totally have senior rights to all phrases about your sister. And second, dude, it’s first used IN COMMERCE that gets you usage rights, and first use IN INTERSTATE COMMERCE that gets you registered.

Maybe you should talk to your sister a little more before mis-educating the public. Or maybe I should.

Michael S. Pascazi (user link) says:

Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

Please be advised that, for strategic reasons, Magellan Capital’s trademark (serial number 85353491)”Bitcoin” filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office has been Expressly Abandoned, pursuant to statute, as of July 7, 2011 at 13:15 EDT.

Simultaneously therewith, trademark applications have begun in those civil law countries, wherein, “first to use” status is not recognized as a defense to trademark registration. These civil law countries, which account for most of the world’s population, and land mass, only recognize a “first to file” basis for trademark registration. The penalties for infringing trademarks in those civil law “first to file” countries are as severe as the common law jurisdictions, such as the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, etc., which utilize a “first to use” basis.

Therefore, jumping up and down exhorting that “Bitcoin” has been in use in the USA, or another common law country, since the dark ages is no defense, repeat no defense, to a claim of infringement of a properly registered mark in a “first to file” jurisdiction.

It is often best to look at the whole world picture in these sorts of matters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

So inferior cultures have inferior laws that poorly protect the rights of citizens and their free expression. What’s your point? Why are you touting this as some kind of great thing?

And it hasn’t been used in the USA, it’s been used on The Internets?. It’s a global term.

John William Nelson (profile) says:

Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

Mr. Pascazi does not really understand trademark law, it appears. While he is correct that many civil law countries have a first-to-file process, that does not mean they have no ability to challenge the issuance of the mark.

A trademark must be a source identifier. In other words, Mr. Pascazi’s ‘client’ must be recognized as the source of a product by consumers if the mark Bitcoin is used.

As for enforcing international marks in the U.S., this is not as easily done as Mr. Pascazi would hope. Especially if he is able to obtain a registration abroad on such shaky grounds. It could still be subject to the same cancellation process as a U.S. mark.

The question is whether Mr. Pascazi will truly try and enforce a foreign mark on foreign soil. Paying international lawyers is not cheap.

And will he continue to maintain the mark and defend it against attacks?

Mr. Pascazi’s client is over-reaching. I recommend Mr. Pascazi or his lawyer consult real trademark attorneys about this. They might receive more thorough advice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

According to the State Bar of Georgia Mr. Nelson has been admitted to practice for about 2 years 7 months now. Long time. And according to his CV has been at his current job for about 9 months. Another very long time. It is questionable if any court worth it’s salt would even swear him in as an expert, on any area of law. In fact, some courts would not even admit an attorney with that little experience to practice before them. Quite the sage. What a joke.

cold spitteler says:

Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

even in first to file countries, the first use in commerce may not be more then one year prior to filling for the mark. but your a lawyer (albeit not a good one) you probably knew that. the community will see to it that you do not succeed.

Michael S. Pascazi (user link) says:

Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

Thanks for the generality concerning the law of about 100+ different countries. They must all be the same right? Why, because you say so? They all must have a one year look back period right? Put down the clicker, get off the couch, and actually consult with a lawyer in the various countries that you lump together like so much coal. You will be amazed at how different they all are. But I have no real belief that you will actually ever do that. It is much easier to make stuff up, and call it the law. Did you know that in Japan it is not enough to identify your mark classification solely by the Nice number and descriptive terms? Did you know that they want more of a description than let’s say France does? Did you know that Japan has a two step payment process, unlike lets say South Africa? I suspect not. Did you ever consider that perhaps there are other crypto-currency algorithms out there, or under development, that differ from the one you are most familiar with in your “community”. Did you know that it is not fraudulent for the owner of such an algorithm to attempt to secure the mark Bitcoin for himself/herself, as relates his/her algorithm, in light of the fact that nobody else has ever registered the mark Bitcoin, as far as I can see? And, who exactly in, let’s say Italy, is going to stand up before a tribunal and prove that when you hear Bitcoin you think of them, such that the mark is a truly notorious one, even though they (I suspect there will never be a they) never filed for a mark in Italy? And who exactly is going to pay for this opposition? You? Are you aware that facts actually matter, and that you have no clue as to what facts are germane to myself and/or my clients. Food for thought. If you care to think.

dwg says:

Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

Come on, Chris. You can do better than that. How about going after this dude for his own bad-meaning-bad badness, rather than after lawyers as a profession. I have no general love for lawyers, nor any particular hatred–there are good ones and shite ones. I’m a lawyer, and people can choose which bucket I go in, but please don’t tar me with that same brush as this one. I know, I know: you held out that 1%, but still, that’s not fair.

Chris (user link) says:

Just somebody trying to make a name for himself

His website indicates basically general practice. Any lawyer who spends most of his time practicing in the areas of civil, criminal, traffic, family, immigration, and probate law just doesn’t have time to understand TRADEMARK law very well. (Evidence the now-abandoned US registration and his mistaken belief, above, that Australia is a first-to-use country.)

In any case, threatening to fraudulently register trademarks for the purpose of suing current users of the mark is not looked on kindly by most nations, first-to-file or not. Seems a stupid game to try to play.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Just somebody trying to make a name for himself

According to the State Bar of North Carolina, Mr. Chris Fulmer has been admitted to practice for about 4 years 11 months. Given this short period of time, there are some courts that would not even admit Mr. Fulmer to practice before them. I note that there is zero indication that Mr. Fulmer has ever practiced law in any civil law country or beyond NC for that matter. Another sage among us.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please be advised that trying to register a trademark that has clearly been in common use by thousands for a long time is indisputably a “scummy” activity, regardless of legality. However, the goal of this endeavor was probably to get attention. Regrettably, it has been vastly successful. I got Slashdotted once, and I got 30,000 downloads. I wonder what it does for a law firm? Bad publicity is better than no publicity.

Anonymous Coward says:

If the other side hates him; that's the right lawyer

I agree, all of the hoopla has probably made the phone ring off the hook at the lawyer’s office. Everyone wants the lawyer that the other side
hates. What good is a lawyer that makes everyone happy? When it’s your lawyer, a little over the top isn’t so bad. The bitcoin community keeps pumping this guy up. Why? Poorly thought out IMHO.

Christopher Weigel says:

Re: If the other side hates him; that's the right lawyer

Anyone else notice how the little tags next to all the asshole posts in this thread have the same image?

And that the one by Mikey Pascasi (no, I don’t give a fuck if I spelled his name right) has the same little image?

Gee, I wonder if maybe in his copious free-time, he decided to engage in a little trolling…

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