Trademarking Air

Since I spend a lot of time over at the web site of the US Patent and Trademark Office, looking for patent information, sometimes I get questions from someone about the goings on over there.

Charlie Anzman noticed recently that both Apple and Adobe (warning – audio and video start playing on arrival) were touting new products with the name AIR in them. Charlie made a post at his blog asking if it were possible to Patent Air, and called upon me to see if I could give him an answer:

“Is it possible, one of these guys can get a patent on AIR?”

air flowing out of a machine, and circling around a man

Here’s the response I sent back to Charlie:

Hi Charlie,

I think that you may have been asking about people trademarking the word “Air” rather than patenting it – since a patent needs an actual process to go along with it, like air conditioning, or air filtering, or something like that.

I took a look at the US Patent and Trademark Office, and performed a trademark search on their Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

There are some limits to their search system. I received 13143 results while looking for “air,” but some of them were instances where “air” was part of some larger word, like “Crosstainer.”

But, there are also terms in there like:

Evolution in the Air,
Bionic Air,
Air Socks,
US Air Guitar,
Just Add Air, and
Fresh Squeezed Air.

It is possible for more than one business to own a trademark to be used in commerce, based upon the classification of use. Going through the first 1,000 or so results, I found 5 uses of “Air” by itself, as a trademark

1) The Compagne Des Arts del la Table trademarked “Air” for non electric cutlery (forks and knives).

2) Pepperl + Fuchs GbmH trademarked “Air” all kinds of electric lighting devices and software that works with them.

3) Inke Pte, LTD. trademarked “Air” for printing ink cartridges, and machines to refill those cartridges.

4) Concept Attractions of Wisconsin, Inc., trademarked “Air” for entertainment services involving amusement parks

5) American IronHorse Motorcycle Company, Inc., trademarked “Air” for motorcycle services, apparel, and print publications.

So, it appears that you can trademark “air”.

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9 thoughts on “Trademarking Air”

  1. That is crazy to think of all the random things you could trademark. Before you know it someone will trademark the sun or the moon.

  2. This is crazy! I could get into some serious stuff about the copyright debate here – about how ownership is important but that some things have to belong to everyone.

    Instead, though, I’m just laughing at the idea of trademarking the term “freshly squeezed air”…

  3. Hi Ravi,

    If you have the chance to look through the US Trademark database at some of the terms and phrases that have been trademarked, it’s amazing the things that you might see. It’s not copyright, and trademarks won’t stop you from using those terms when you write, but they might if you try to use the terms while offering services or goods similar to those covered under the trademarks.

  4. Hi Charlie,

    It’s good to see you.

    Slawski? That sounds like a good one. I’m surprised it was available.

    I hope everything is well with you, too.

  5. I really love reading your post’s. I enjoy the long, detailed and very unique article’s you take the time to prepare and publish. I have subscribed to your blog, and look forward to the update’s.

    thank’s

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