Katy Perry has had two trademark applications denied by the USPTO for her “Left Shark” whom was made famous during Super Bowl XLIX’s half-time performance. The applied for design marks were found by the examiner to only identify a particular character and the mark did not “function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others.” Perry is still awaiting the USPTO’s decisions on her applications for “Basking shark”, “Left shark”, “Right shark”, and “Drunk shark”. These applications were soon filed after Perry’s debacle with Fernando Sosa, who sold 3D printed models of the left shark on Shapeways, an online marketplace.
Flotek Industries Inc., a Texas producer of hydraulic-fracturing fluids used to extract oil and gas from rocks, seeks to trademark their scent used for their products. Virginia Trademark Officials received vials of clear liquid smelling of oranges from Flotek in hopes to demonstrate that customers have come to associate the orange scent with its fracking chemicals. Currently, there are only three scents listed on the TMO’s principal register and in order to be successful, applicants have to show that a fragrance serves no important practical function other than to help identify and distinguish a brand. This may be a growing tool for companies to use and promote a product since the sense of smell has been proven to be very influential in memory and decision making.