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March 14, 2008

Tribute or Threat? Shoetube Prompts Trademarking Questions

There are now dozens, if not hundreds, of video-sharing sites, but none so famous as YouTube. Now the clever spotters over at Springwise have discovered a niche video whose name is a tribute to that popularity.
Shoetube caters exclusively to shoe-lovers. If you’re an Imelda Marcos wannabe (oh, I am dating myself here), this site is for you.

I love the name. It’s clever, funny, and tells you exactly what you’re going to find on the site. But I do wonder about the fate of the intent-to-use trademark application that the owner of Powderhouse Productions has filed. It’s possible that even if Google doesn’t choose to file a cease-and-desist on behalf of the name YouTube, the examining attorney at the US Patent and Trademark Office will still reject the application.

There are other registered trademarks that end in “–tube,” but the rhyme makes it tricky, and the USPTO doesn’t look favorably on attempts to cash in on a competitor’s more famous name.
Of course, Google may face its own challenges (its TM for “YouTube” hasn’t made it all the way through the registration process yet), thanks to an abandoned mark for “YouTube” in the same class filed by a Belgian manufacturer of scientific equipment.

Let’s hope Shoetube makes it, but also that “-tube” doesn’t become the “i-” of 2008, with dozens of copycat names to follow.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 14, 2008 1:11 PM
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