SCENARIO IN THE UNITED STATES REGARDING PROTECTION OF MOVIE TITLE
The interests of the American motion picture, television industries and home videos are safeguarded by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Since its inception in 1922, it has been playing an important part in protecting the commercial interest of the movie makers both in the US and internationally. Registering a film title with the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) is available with respect to movie titles; however, the protection granted is not absolute.
The fundamental requirement of the USPTO with regard to registration of titles as trademarks requires that the cinematographic work represented by the title is not a single film, television show, or book. It is to be noted that in US a used mark with respect to movie titles has a better protection than a proposed mark. Further, a portion of the title of any single creative work is registrable only if the applicant can show that the portion of the title meets the following criteria:
- Is used on a series of works;
- A separate commercial impression is created by the portion of the title; and
- That portion has been promoted as a mark for the series.
If we have a comparison between the law related to trademark protection of movie titles in India and the U.S., we can infer that even a single literary work is eligible to get trademark protection, however, the same may cause confusion in the mind of the consumer as it can result into overlapping. This issue is dealt strictly by USPTO though, which treats all single title works as inherently descriptive unless these have been widely promoted resulting into great recognition.