View Full Version : Does anyone know who "owns" the defunct tradenames of........

Steven Tribe
28-Sep-2015, 01:37
Ross, Dallmeyer, Swift, Grubb and many others?

We all know about the fate of Ilford and Cooke (T,T & H), but what happened to the others? Someone must have the rights to these names but perhaps the path is difficult to trace with mergers, sales, going out of business or entering into business areas?

15-Oct-2015, 12:50
INAL, but apparently, in the US, if a trademark is not being actively used and the owner has no plans to use it, someone else can take it over. For example, see the following story about Hydrox cookies: http://www.npr.org/2015/09/23/442761531/one-mans-mission-to-bring-back-hydrox-cookies.

Ben Syverson
19-Oct-2015, 17:51
IANAL… but…

A trademark is only valid as long as it's actively used—unlike a copyright, which has its own lifespan. So no one really "owns" the right to a defunct trademark, even if there are heirs who plan to revive it. In fact, even a trademark in active use can be canceled if the owner doesn't protect it well enough. It happened to Bayer twice: with Aspirin and Heroin.

One of the grounds for trademark rejection is if the term is "primarily merely a surname" (i.e., it would be hard to trademark Smith®). So Ross® and Grubb® might be tough. Dallmeyer® is rare enough that it's probably fair game. And yes, you can trademark the surname of a famous (dead) person, even if it used to be a trademark (see: Tesla®). My guess is that Swift® is already registered in some form in the photo industry. In short, it really depends.

Your trademark can also be canceled if you're attempting to deceive the public. The US Trademark office says they don't examine this during the application process, because it's too difficult to prove intent. But that doesn't mean they can't cancel it later on those grounds. For example, you can probably sell brass lenses bearing the Dallmeyer logo—but I would go out of my way to make it clear that these new lenses have nothing to do with the old ones.

BTW, a good trademark attorney will help you with all of this as part of your registration!

19-Oct-2015, 23:45
My guess is that Swift® is already registered in some form in the photo industry.


Steven Tribe
20-Oct-2015, 05:13
"Ross of London" is attached to many, rather nasty, telescopes in the "Harbourmaster/Pirate" league.

Dallmeyer (or Dallmeyr) is not an uncommon Germanic surname.