Perhaps this would be a better question for a lawyer than a wrestling message board, but what the heck. I picked this up from a press release:
Among the SmackDown Superstars scheduled to appear are World Heavyweight Champion BATISTA™, REY MYSTERIO®, JBL™, CHRIS BENOIT® and RANDY ORTON™.
Five wrestler names, three trademarks and two registered trademarks. What's the difference? I've noticed this many times before, but I never bothered to ask anybody's opinion. I used to think maybe real name vs. gimmick name was the difference, but Chris Benoit and Randy Orton are trademarked differently despite being the exact same thing. Here's the only explanation I can come up with from the above evidence: It's a registered trademark if the wrestler has used the name for another wrestling company before using it in WWE. But that's purely a guess; it works out here, but it could just be a coincidence.
When can I use the trademark symbols TM, SM and ®?
Any time you claim rights in a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim, regardless of whether you have filed an application with the USPTO. However, you may use the federal registration symbol "®" only after the USPTO actually registers a mark, and not while an application is pending.
So they are saying that they claim Batista, JBL, and Randy Orton as trademarks, but they haven't yet been aproved. Chris Benoit has been a registered trademark of WWE since December 16, 2003, and Rey Mysterio since July 19, 2005.
The only thing that confuses me is I've found a registered trademark for Randy Orton, so I think his name should have had the ® as well.
(edited by Mr. Boffo on 12.12.05 1507) In the real world, WWE believes that no matter what our race, religious creed or ethnic background in America, we all share the common bond of being Americans. American-Arabs are a part of the fabric of America, and they should be embraced by all of us.
I'm a little confused (big shock), but how can they have a registered trademark on a real name? I mean, does that mean is Chris Benoit left and went to TNA, he can't use his name because WWE trademarked it? Sorry if this is a dumb question.....
By the way, Storm's gimmick includes 1.) telling the audience to shut up, and 2.) occasionally making everyone stand for the Canadian national anthem. You know they don't know what to do with a wrestler when he's making fans stand for a national anthem. It's like waving a white flag and saying, "This guy has no personality -- we give up."
It's his real name, so he'd probably be okay with it, unless there's some weird rule I don't know about (merchandising might be affected). Steve Austin COULD have used Steve Williams when he started out, but the main reason not to was to avoid confusion (and pissing off fans who thought Dr. Death would be there, but then got a 'nobody' rookie instead).
What it does is prevent TNA from just naming some guy "Christopher Benoit" or something similiar to that. Mainly for Indy's, I'd imagine. There are more WWE rip-off characters there than you can shake a stick at.
I have no idea why they just used the TM for Randy Orton since a check at http://www.uspto.gov shows that WWE registered Randy Orton (and owns the Chris Benoit trademark under license from Benoit as well). A stereo equipment company in California already registered JBL, but it's not a problem for two different companies to use it since this isn't England and nobody is going to think that wrestler JBL makes stereo equipment.