RV PRO

September '15

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76 • RV PRO • SEPTEMBER 2015 rv-pro.com origins while keeping the connection to the legacy name (see "Altering a Brand Carries Risk" on page 73). The How-To's of Name Registration The mechanics of registering for an abandoned name is relatively simple. Trade- marked brand names can be searched for on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website at www.USPTO.gov. Once a search discovers a name is abandoned, it is just a matter of applying for it. Still, not all abandoned names are necessarily available. The main reason is often that the com- pany continues to use the brand without renewing it with the USPTO. Initial non-refundable application fees with the USPTO range from $225 to $375, but can go higher. The government agency recommends hiring an attorney to help in applying for a trademark, but it is not required. EverGreen's Boessler went about his quest to use the Alfa name a little dif- ferently. He phoned Johnnie Crean, the founder of Alfa Leisure, and asked for per- mission to use the name. "Legally, the name was abandoned, but I wanted to pay respect to the one who cre- ated it," he says. "If he had said 'no,' we wouldn't have used it, even if it was legal to do so. But he said 'yes,' so we registered the name with the Trademark Office." The RV Factory and Pacific Coach- works did not contact former owners, but applied for the abandoned trademarks through the USPTO. Suzanne Willis, marketing director for Pacific Coach- works, says the process involves a certain amount of legwork. "The application process to acquire a name is similar to one that involves applying for a new name," she says. "I researched that the names were truly avail- able and not in use in any way. The U.S. Trademark Office recognizes that they are no longer active. "The cost is the same as (trademarking) a new name. If you involve a trademark attorney, that will cost you a lot more. Pacific Coachworks originally got an attorney involved, but now I do it. "The application can be made online," Willis adds. "The process includes an opportunity for a former owner or other organizations who believe the mark might get confused with their product name to comment or object to someone obtaining the trademark. If someone objects, it becomes helpful to have a trademark attorney involved to negotiate options." Legacy Brand Names: Pros & Perils Independent brand marketing pros say there can be plenty of positive reasons to revive a legacy brand. PACIFIC COACHWORKS PHOTO COURTESY OF PACIFIC COACHWORKS Pacific Coachworks has revived five defunct brand names – all from the former National RV, which went bankrupt in 2007. Pictured at top standing next to a Blaze'n toy hauler, one of the revived brands, is Product Manager Casey Torres. The photo above shows the kitchen area of the coach.

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