Tuesday, June 27, 2006


It's always wonderful to receive letters. If you have any comments or questions, do not hesitate to write to averna@anthonyverna.com.

If the persona Mean Gene was created by Titan Sports or by Gene Okerlund while employed or to get employed by Titan Sports, I would think Titan Sports owns the mark, registered or not. Gene Okerlund's complaint against Hot Stuff Foods is then moot. Titan Sports would have the only valid complaint. And since Titan Sports declined to pursue registration of "Mean Gene", Hot Stuff Foods seems to be in the clear.

-Mark Hagenau (Derry, NH)

Mark, I can understand why you'd want to think this. What is tricky about trademarks, however, is that they live and die. Trademarks can also come back to life - you can think of it as resurrection or reincarnation. That is, a trademark can come back in the same exact form as it was. "MENE GENE" as a wrestling personality, involved in professional wrestling telecasts and appearances vs. "MENE GENE" in some other form. Of course, the other form relates back to the original - "MENE GENE" in the wrestling industry. Titan Sports may have dropped the application, but the ultimate lesson here is that the mark could come back in some form if Okerlund isn't a part of Titan Sports and the WWE and, therefore, Titan Sports no longer uses it. If Okerlund himself only uses it to sell himself, then the argument can easily be made that the mark, although not registered, belongs to him.

(On a side note, when a trademark is unregistered, it is referred to as a "common law" trademark. I'll use the proper terminology from now on, but wanted to introduce everyone to the concepts first.)

...[T]he economics are clear, namely, that big pharma can only develop new drugs like this, and give away drugs to third world nations, if it continues to milk the middle class of America for all it is worth.
But the purpose of anti-trust laws are to protect the consumers and smaller companies. Anti-trust laws keep big companies from controlling markets to the loss of consumers and smaller companies that would make the market more competitive. This is what Slate seems to be pointing to.
But Anthony, how do we protect stock values and markets and make drugs affordable?

-Brian Sipe (Philadelphia, PA - www.attorneysipe.com)

No letter from a fellow attorney is complete without a plug to his firm's website.

As you can read, this e-mail was much longer, but needed to be cut else this entry would be too long.

Part of what's missing in the Slate article referred to on Schering-Plough, the FTC, and the DOJ is the relationship between all intellectual property laws and and anti-trust laws like the Sherman Act. Intellectual property laws allow the owners to have a monopoly. It effectively carves out a monopoly on what is owned. A trademark allows the owner to use those words or that logo for that product in that industry. A copyright allows the owner to make that piece of art (usually) alone. A patent allows an inventor to make that invention alone. So this is the tug-of-war that is going on here. The monopoly is carved out and if someone else wants to make a generic version of a drug, then all the patents must be expired.

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