soccer ballWhile all soccer eyes are on Russia, a company in Reno, Nevada has filed two new applications for the trademarks WORLD CUP 2026 – FAN INFO and WORLD CUP 2026 – U.S. TICKETS, just one day after North America was announced as the host of the World Cup in 2026. Also interesting to note is FIFA’s pending application for the mark USA 2026 was filed almost one year before North America was publicly announced as the 2026 host. What does this teach us? A company can gather a lot of competitive intelligence about a competitor or an industry simply by monitoring the trademark records at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). And the beauty of it all is that searching the records of the USPTO is absolutely free here. One simple search would have told the Nevada company that FIFA already has a registration for the mark WORLD CUP, likely a significant impediment to the registration of these marks.

The public nature of the online records of the USPTO should also be a reminder to all companies to be sure to have all their ducks in a row on the domain name and design patent front before their trademark filings goes public. For example, if you intend to operate a domain name which mirrors your trademark, you would be well advised to register the domain name before your trademark filing goes public or it likely will be unavailable after the fact. In fact, it is believed that there are certain companies whose sole business is to digitally “comb” the online records of the USPTO on a continuous basis and immediately file domain name applications incorporating the trademarks of recent filings before the trademark owner has a chance to do so. Likewise, if your mark is for a product or packaging design (i.e., trade dress), any public disclosure can act as a statutory bar to seeking design patent protection for it, eliminating the “one two” trade dress/design patent punch often available to owners of such designs. So, if you don’t already have systems in place to not only periodically monitor the USPTO records, but to also prevent inadvertent disclosures that could jeopardize your ability to seek domain name and/or design patent protection corresponding to your trademark filings, you would be well advised to do so. Otherwise, as the saying goes, “You snooze, you lose!”

For additional information on trademark issues, please contact Caroline Chicoine.