Given the current legal issues regarding the rights to publicity and the rights to privacy and the ability for these rights to continue after death (in certain states and circumstances), it would be extremely helpful for those of us who are charged with protecting the names and images of deceased natural persons, if the miscellaneous statement section was amended to include dead persons as well.
This would not require any change in the examination procedure but would make it much easier to find potential infringers. This is even more critical when the mark is for an image only. See application number 85077133. Those of you of a certain age would instantly recognize this figure as Jacques Cousteau. Assume that this mark was filed by someone other than Jacques Cousteau’s rights holders. How would the rights holders have found it? What if the examiners in the design search code department didn’t recognize it and didn’t assign design code 02.01.05? Even with the code it is extremely difficult to find. The only statement in the record is "The name(s), portrait(s), and/or signature(s) shown in the mark does not identify a particular living individual."
Changing the statement to "The name(s), portrait(s), and/or signature(s) shown in the mark does not identify a particular individual, living or dead" would go a long way towards solving this problem.
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