See UPDATE after the page break.
I really have not found it necessary to explain this entire trademark war with you guys in intimate detail, but I keep seeing all sorts of definitive statements in comments that are completely untrue. So I am going to do all the way into the boring minutiae maybe so everyone will understand that I know what I am talking about, for the most part.
Bethenny Frankel owner of an LLC named SG Marks, LLC. SG Marks is a shell corp that Bethenny uses specifically for trademark applications, trademark infringements, trademark disputes… I could get even more Forest Gump about it, but you get the idea. This corporation has its own vigilant team of lawyers specifically to protect her brand from encroachers. So I could just end this blog right here with GAME OVER! There has been more than one attempt by wayward fools to attempt to file trademarks for Skinny Girl (the one word or two thing is important in this post) diet supplements and those attempts were abandoned by the applicant. Because, it’s simply not going to happen, I can assure you that Bethenny’s trademark lawyers are better than yours. Don’t waste your time. She has money and can play this game all day, every day and not be in the slightest bit aware it is happening, let alone bothered. You will lose. But let’s continue to spell it out in excruciating detail, shall we?
Peter Guimaraes Real Housewives of New York hanger-on. It’s amazing to me the similarities this guy has with Peter Thomas on RHOA. Both have a smattering of closed restaurants in their wake, both of them are thirstier than a lone, lost Berber child in the Sahara, both have questionable relationships with women shown on the show, and both claim to be incredibly successful in the restaurant and bar industry despite evidence to the contrary. Oh and neither are very good at coherent verbal or written communication. Peter’s latest enterprise is a bar called Tipsy Girl. I don’t think it is an accident that Bethenny is filming scenes at Tipsy Parson this season. It’s a subtle way to point out the lack of originality in the bar name Peter chose. Perhaps. Allegedly in my opinion. Peter filed for his trademarks personally, not under any business name.
Sonja Morgan Real Housewife for Hire. Look, I get it, Sonja needs an income stream badly. Imagine being on a reality show at age 50 after just going through a bankruptcy and having that check be your primary source of income. RHONY is not going to be around forever. Even Heather (allegedly) got at $25,000 thank you for sewing someone’s bling on her jeans. Though in Heather’s case it was probably for her charity that she was supporting with the jeans. Then there is Ramona who did the exact same thing Sonja is doing with the exact same guy, Peter. They never made it to the “Prosecco” stage of the racket. The main point you need to understand here is that SONJA HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS PROSECCO other than agreeing to pretend that she does in order to get paid by Peter. Allegedly. In my opinion. According to anyone with a functioning brain. What Sonja needs to do is ask Ramona if Peter ever made good on their arrangement. Because, unlikely. But Sonja never does due diligence on anything. She has nothing to do with the trademark war because she has nothing to do with the business. Somebody needed a storyline and she decided to make Bethenny hers.
UPDATED: Because I checked on Sonja’s trademarks. She has tried to get at least four. One was allowed to become a dead application, two have filed for extension and one is being opposed. The two that have been extended need to prove that there has been “actual commerce” under the label, which may be problematic. Also, see here for How Sonja lost $7 million dollars by not listening to her husband at the time.
Piermario Del Rosso is the beleaguered “partner” of Peter who is way too busy actually running the Tipsy Girl bar to be bothered with all of this. It seems that he might have been the owner of some of the now shuttered restaurants Peter was also involved with. I’m not sure if Peter was actually an owner in some of those other businesses as some claim. On the last episode of RHONY Bethenny said that Peter was the manager of the Sports Bar Ramona pretended to be involved with, not the owner. Peter having a new restaurant in NYC in two seasons seems a bit odd to me. For the purposes of this post, Piermario has nothing to do with the trademark war either because Peter applied for the trademarks personally.
The Trademark Filings
April 15, 2015
Peter files a trademark for Tipsy Girl as the name of a bar. Trademarks are an extremely complicated area of law. There are 45 classes and under each class there are several options of “goods and services.” For the purposes of this tutorial, we are only interested in three of the 45 classes. This trademark is class 43, Food Services. It is for the bar, and only the bar. The trademark if granted would keep me from opening a bar in Atlanta called Tipsy Girl. Bethenny has no problem with this trademark. She is not in the bar or restaurant industry.
Status: The application review has been completed, and there do not appear to be any obstacles to this trademark being registered. The review process was not completed until May 19, 2016, more than a year later. The major point here is that he is free to register the trademark for Tipsy Girl for the bar now. I forget how long he has to do it but, that trademark is there if he wants it. This is why some people wrongly claim that Peter has the trademark on the Prosecco. He does not. He doesn’t even technically have it on the bar yet, but he likely will have it for the bar soon.
November, 24, 2015
SG Marks LLC filed two trademark requests. Both were under Class 33 (Alcoholic Beverages Except Beers). I should point out here that applying for a trademark in this class is more complicated than saying “Hey, I wanna market some merlot called Tamara Tattles. Give me a trademark!” You have to submit your branded labels and have your brand ready to go. Now Bethenny has brand labels so all she has to do is slap one together that says TipsyGirl and she is good to go. She doesn’t care, she is never going to use the trademark anyway.
Goods and Services
Within each class there are a number of goods and services one must chose from for each trademark registration request. There is some confusion here because there are national and international trademarks and the goods and services options are slightly different depending on what type of trademark you are applying for. I’d rather not get into a deep discussion over that even though it seems to me that Bethenny is using international terms at times here.
SG Marks Applied for a trademark for “Alcoholic beverages except beers; Alcoholic cocktail mixes; Alcoholic energy drinks; Blended spirits; Distilled Spirits; Spirits; Wine-based drinks; Wines and liqueurs ”
And for ” Prepared alcoholic cocktail” This is Bethenny’s wheelhouse. She probably requested this simply to make her application stronger as she has a strong market presence in prepared alcoholic cocktails. TL
Those are two trademarks for TipsyGirl. THESE ARE THE FIRST TWO TRADEMARK REQUESTS BY ANYONE FOR ALCOHOLIC DRINKS related to the name, TipsyGirl.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These trademarks were filed on November 24, 2015. It takes the attorneys a minute, even if they are on constant standby like the ones at SG Marks to get the paperwork together to file a trademark. Sonja’s birthday is November 25th (though who knows when the party was filmed) and the Page Six article came out on November 27th. So It’s clear Bethenny filed the trademarks before the Page Six story even came out.
December 8, 2015
Peter gets word of Bethenny’s filing and files two trademark requests of his own for his non-existent product. Only one of the trademarks he files is under the correct class, Class 33.
Goods and Services
Alcoholic beverages except beers; Wines; Prosecco; Sparkling wines.
Again, I believe that the reason that Bethenny’s goods and services in her first trademark are different is because she is using the international list of goods and services. This is essentially the trademark goods and services as Bethenny’s first filing. If for some unknown reason she wants an international trademark on this label that will never be used, it makes filing easier. So this one is head to head with Bethenny’s first trademark request on the wine (Prosecco). However, it was filed AFTER BETHENNY already beat him to the punch.
The second trademark Peter filed was under Class 32 which covers beers, and most other non-alcoholic beverages. WTF? His goods and services choice was “beers; soft drinks.” Is he going to be a microbrewer now as well? It is uncommon (thought not unheard of) for a company ( Peter is not a company) to produce and market both beer and wine. I have no explanation for this trademark request. It makes absolutely no sense.
Peter can have his trademark for the bar Tipsy Girl. Bethenny made the trademark requests for the beverages first, and she likely did it prior to the birthday party and definitely did it before the Page Six story. Peter filed his trademark requests for beverages after Bethenny.
Currently all of the beverage application are on hold pending further review. Both of Bethenny’s are under the category of wine and spirit products, for no apparent reason, only one of Peter’s is under that category and his second one was filed under beer.
I read a comment from someone who suggested that Peter may be looking for a settlement check to drop the name from whatever swill he wants to put out there. That is not a possible outcome for him. Bethenny is not going to buy the Tipsy Girl name from Peter. She is fine with letting this sit in dispute until the end of time. The USPTO will move at a glacial pace to resolve this issue and Peter will be unable to move forward with his product (that was never going to be anyway) until the matter is resolved. I believe with Bethenny’s strength of existing brand, the facts surrounding Peter coming on to a show where the SkinnyGirl brand is monotonously advertised, is more than enough for her attorneys to prove trademark infringement.
I hope I have made it clear that I have a full grasp on this issue and you can all stop telling me what you read somewhere else. Oh, that reminds me, some sites are claiming that one party or another’s requested has been “Suspended” and have no idea what that means and are assuming it means denied. It does not. Suspended means, ” temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect.” It is suspended while the USPTO investigates to make a decision. You’re welcome.
And now, unleash the real lawyers in comments to tell me I have it all wrong. In 5…4…3…