Trademarks Of Terror

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Trademarks Of Terror

In the days after the September 11 terrorist bombings, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received several applications to trademark terms somehow affiliated with the attacks. For example, one guy wants a TM for an "Osama Pinata," while a California man wants to slap "Osama, Yo' MAMA!" on t-shirts.

But a review of USPTO records shows that only one application was actually submitted on the day of the attack itself, a bid to trademark the term "World Trade Center" for a future TV or movie production.

New Jersey's Michael Heiden, a restaurateur who is "trying hard to break into the film business," filed for the TM at 2:40 that afternoon (eight minutes later, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani first hinted at the enormity of the WTC death toll, saying the number might be "more than any of us can bear").

Heiden, who told TSG that he was not trying to capitalize on the tragedy, noted that film producers trademarked the term "Pearl Harbor" in advance of making the recent movie of the same name. "If they ever do a movie, I'd like to get involved," said Heiden, who promised that he would donate a portion of future earnings connected with the trademark (were it to be approved, of course).

Along with the World Trade Center application at left, Heiden has another pending film-related TM. He's filed for "Dog Cinema," a proposed "funny, entertaining, light" film about canines and their owners. (3 pages)