The clock is ticking down toward the start of the annual Oscar broadcast on Sunday when we’ll find out who the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) chose to win the coveted film awards.
AMPAS owns many trademarks related to the annual event, including Oscar, Oscars, Academy Award, Academy Awards, Oscar Night, AMPAS, and the Oscar design mark, and it rigorously protects them. The organization publishes legal regulations regarding use of the marks on its website and they cover everything from prohibiting use of the word “Oscar” to describe any other awards, to size guidelines for miniature replicas of the Oscar statuette.
We wondered what other trademark activity may be happening around the event. There aren’t any registered trademarks directly related to the titles of any of the Best Picture nominees, even though we did find several Birdman and Whiplash trademarks. Most of the Birdman trademarks registered in the United States belong to Chris “Birdman” Andersen of the National Basketball Association’s Miami Heat. Whiplash is the name of a wine made by Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, the same vineyard you may remember we wrote about last year when it was involved in a trademark dispute over its brand name with the makers of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Mattel, Inc. owns trademarks for Whiplash in the toy category. Back in the 1980s the company made action figures of the Masters of the Universe reptilian character named Whiplash who uses his tail as a weapon.
Moving on to the Best Song nominees, a writer of “Everything is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie” has registered a trademark for the song’s title. Shawn Michael Patterson, credited as a nominee for the song along with Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, and The Lonely Island, registered the trademark in the categories of apparel and entertainment services in December 2014.
And in other Oscar-related news, The Hollywood Reporter has an update on the long-running cybersquatting lawsuit brought by AMPAS against GoDaddy that could go to trial soon. The Academy alleges that customers of GoDaddy were allowed to buy domains like 2011oscars.com and betacademyawards.com and then collect revenue from GoDaddy advertising partners on a pay-per-click basis.