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?




Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    My Wish

    But I do wonder, are there penalties for trying to mislead the USPTO in a trademark filing?

    In a just universe, someone would flog them publicly for being obnoxious assholes. But in this universe? The USPTO will probably grant it.

     

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  2.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

    Re: My Wish

    Not only that, but they'll throw in the patent for exploding sheep, to boot.

     

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  3.  
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    Overcast (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Not only would I be happy to never, ever use that stupid phrase - but I'd almost pay to never hear it again...

     

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  4.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    What phrase? "Bitcoin"?

     

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  5.  
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    Mike V, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 4:50pm

    the first use applies to when the trademark applicant first utilized the name being trademarked. my sister has worked on a k street law firm for years.

     

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  6.  
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    Michael S. Pascazi, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:32pm

    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.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

    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.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    A lawyer who is a scumbag... not very original, a lawyer with an original idea... now that would be something.

     

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  9.  
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    John William Nelson (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

    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.

     

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  10.  
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    Chris, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 8:04pm

    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.

     

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  11.  
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    cold spitteler, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 9:49pm

    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.

     

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  12.  
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    Michael S. Pascazi, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    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.

     

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  13.  
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    dwg, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    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.

     

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  14.  
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    dwg, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    No offense, but fucking blow me if you don't have something more enlightening to say than that. Some of us lawyers actually have original ideas and work to see them put into practice. Ever hear of the EFF or the ACLU, asshole?

     

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  15.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    You're part of that 99% of lawyers that give the other 1% a bad name, aren't you?

     

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  16.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:11pm

    are there penalties for trying to mislead the USPTO in a trademark filing?

    Good point. There should be.
    So far as I know, only disallowing the Trademark, but there should be more.
    At a minimum the lawyer should be sanctioned.

     

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  17.  
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    dwg, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    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.

     

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  18.  
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    dwg, Jul 8th, 2011 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    "It is often best to look at the whole world picture in these sorts of matters..." when you're thinking of how many people you can shake down.

    There, asshole: FTFY.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 6:38am

    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.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    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.

     

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  21.  
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    Bill, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    Well According to the New York State Bar Michael S. Pascazi was only admitted in 2006. So we're not talking about anyone with lots of experience either way.

    https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/attorney/AttorneyDetails?attorneyId=5661076

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 8:58am

    Pascazi is 50 years old. How old is Nelson? 27? How old is Fulmer? 29? Will we ever know the ages of the sages? Place your bets.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Michael S. Pascazi, Jul 9th, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    I'm a Scammer

    I'm a BIG SCAMMER!

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    Sometimes Hacking Just Doesn't Work As Planned

    Minnesota Wi-Fi Hacker Gets 18 Years in Prison for Terrorizing Neighbors

    http://news.yahoo.com/minnesota-wi-fi-hacker-gets-18-years-prison-032803295.html

    Wha t a scum bag! Hope he enjoys his all expenses paid stay courtesy of the US Bureau of Prisons. He messed with the wrong guy I guess. Shit Does Happen.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:03pm

    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.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2011 @ 8:39pm

    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.

     

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  27.  
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    Christopher Weigel, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 12:34pm

    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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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    What kind of lawyer trolls comments and gets into arguments online? Grow up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Duncan, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    "Technical reasons"being that you signed an affidavit with the USPTO that you were not aware of anyone's prior use of the term "bitcoin"in connection with the goods and services? And that to continue on with such application would like constitute fraud??

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 19th, 2011 @ 6:56pm

    Re:

    Age != wisdom. And you are you to do such ad hominem attacks. No good lawyer would fall for such logic fallacies.

     

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  31.  
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    Mike Boyd, Jul 20th, 2011 @ 7:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    Hey Michael S. Pascazi, do you really think you have some legitimate right to the bitcoin trademark - in *any* country? Or are you really comfortable with trying to make a dime on someone else's work?

    Why don't you try working for a living.

     

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  32.  
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    Johnny Shade (profile), Jul 20th, 2011 @ 9:12pm

    Re: Bitcoin Trademark in Civil Law Countries

    As Bugs would say "What a marooooon". I wonder if you will ever be censured for barratry

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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