When entrepreneurs or tech startups and small businesses start thinking about branding, trademark protection, and best practices for brand expansion and registation in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it is sometimes useful to review other famous trademark portfolios and franchises which may illustrate how building a trademark portfolio for startups can benefit the company now, and into the future as the technology scales and the venture expands its trademark portfolio into other goods and services.
The Hello Kitty® franchise provides a good example of a robust trademark portfolio that spans various goods and services and international classifications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio Beginnings
Hello Kitty origins date back to 1974, and several of its trademark filings claim 1976 as its date of first use in commerce in the United States. Originally, Hello Kitty began as a fictional character, described as young female anthropomorphization of a Japanese Bobtail cat with a red bow and no mouth. According to her backstory, she is a perpetual 3rd-grade student who lives outside of London. This is illustrative to entrepreneurs, creators, and technology startups, because while fictional characters are not necessarily protected by trademark law, many creators of characters protect their intellectual property under trademark law, provided they meet the federal use in commerce requirements. The Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio demonstrates how legal trademark protection applies to a character that is use in connection with promotion of various goods and services.
Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio Details
The HELLO KITTY® brand, as a word, is trademark that is legally owned by Sanrio Company, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a famous publisher of various characters, media, and owns several merchandising lines. Sarino Company’s trademark portfolio includes the following federal U.S. Trademark Registrations in the USPTO: 35 Records.
The Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio expands to goods and services in a variety of classifications in the United States Patent and Trademark Office. For example, the HELLO KITTY® trademark, U.S. Registration No. 1215436, filed in 1982, covers:
C 003. US 001 004 006 050 051 052. G & S: COSMETICS-NAMELY, HAIR SHAMPOOS [, HAIR RINSES, ] [ COLOGNES ] AND PERFUMES [, AND CHILDREN’S COSMETIC VANITY CASES CONTAINING COSMETICS ]. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 008. US 023. G & S: Scissors and Chop Sticks. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
(CANCELLED) IC 014. US 002 027 028 050. G & S: [ Pendants ]. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: [ PAPER LUNCH BAGS, PAPER CLIP BOXES, ][ LETTER RACKS, ] SEALS AND STAMPS FOR DECORATIVE PURPOSES, COLORING BOOKS, NOTEBOOKS, STATIONERY, NAMELY, LETTER PAPER AND ENVELOPES, PENS, PENCILS, DIARIES, STAPLERS, ERASERS, [ AUTOGRAPH BOOKS, ] CLIP BOARDS, PENCIL SHARPENERS. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 018. US 001 002 003 022 041. G & S: COIN PURSES, CLOTH TOTE BAGS, BACKPACKS, CLOTH HANDBAGS, SHOULDER BAGS, PURSES, WALLETS, AND VINYL CASES FOR CARRYING IDENTIFICATION CARDS [, TIME SCHEDULES, PICTURES AND THE LIKE ]. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 021. US 002 013 023 029 030 033 040 050. G & S: PLASTIC [ FOOD TRAYS AND ] CUPS FOR DOMESTIC USE, LUNCH BOXES, [ TOWEL BARS, ] HAIR BRUSHES. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 024. US 042 050. G & S: [ Cloth Napkins, ] Cloth Handkerchiefs. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
IC 025. US 039. G & S: Aprons. FIRST USE: 19760101. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19760806
Also in the Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio, there is U.S. Registration No. 1391550 filed in connection with:
IC 016. US 038. G & S: DIARIES. FIRST USE: 19820400. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820400
IC 020. US 022. G & S: SLUMBER BAGS. FIRST USE: 19820400. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19820400
The list goes on and on and other registrations in the Hello Kitty® Trademark Portfolio cover goods such as blankets, saucers, mugs, bedding, towels, jewelry, jewelry boxes, and even wine in International Class 033. This is a great example of a character created and which reached commercial success first through publishing and entertainment services, then expaneded its trademark portfolio into a substnatil number of goods and services marketd in comerce in the United States.
When Entrepreneurs, technology startup and other small businesses are adopting, selecting, and filing for a trademark registration of a new brand name, logo design, or slogan, they are well advised to consult with an experienced trademark portfolio lawyer in Los Angeles that can advise them on their current and future looking branding objectives, and best practices for legal protection in the United States under the United States trademark law, Title 17 of the United States Code, the Lanham Act.