The Office Trademark Squatting

Trademark Dunder Mifflin? Why didn’t I think of that? I’m Amy E. Feldman. 

When Michael Scott, a character in The Office, was asked whether he’d rather be feared or loved, he replied, “easy, both. I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.” Which is apropos to a lawsuit filed by NBC Universal against a company which both loves and now fears them because six years ago, the company registered the trademark Dunder Mifflin, the name of the fictional paper company where characters in The Office work.

When NBC Universal tried to register the trademark in 2020, their application was rejected ‘cause the defendant beat them to the punch, so it sued, claiming trademark squatting. That’s when someone registers a trademark in bad faith, either to try to impersonate the brand or to sell the trademark back to the rightful owner at a high price. It seems likely that NBC Universal will win the case, but businesses are best served to think ahead and register a trademark before they have to go to court because litigation is long and messy. That’s what she said.

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