Lawrence Siskind was twice cited on Page 1 of the Marketplace section of the April 19, 2012 issue of The Wall Street Journal commenting on the risks of adopting “zombie” trademarks—that is, trademarks abandoned by their original owners which retain popular appeal.
Siskind’s comments in “Old Brands Get a Second Shot,” as well as its accompanying sidebar, in the Journal elucidate an increasingly occurring practice in which entrepreneurs create new businesses based on old brands, in many cases prompted by a difficult economy “to try to revive old brands from the dead—or the near dead,” according to the article. Citing Siskind, the Journal’s reporters explain: “If a trademarked brand hasn’t been used for three or more consecutive years, the law presumes it has been abandoned and it becomes available for others to register and use.” However, potential legal trouble arises when a new business uses a mark which is not-quite dead, according to Siskind.
In an article he wrote for The Recorder earlier this year, Siskind considered these questions when commenting on Macy’s Inc. v. Strategic Marks, a case also mentioned in the Journal piece. Siskind writes, “There is a great deal of case law on the definition of abandonment. But the lawsuit raises profound questions of trademark mortality that transcend these conventional issues,” concluding that “any attempt to extend trademark rights to the afterlife is a delicate task.”
Lawrence Siskind is a founding partner at Harvey Siskind LLP. To reach him for comment, please email email@example.com.