A short history is in order. By 2007, Charles Johnson was already preparing for his infamous hairpin turn to the left, and the signs were there. Some spotted the clues, others didn’t. For those who did and mentioned it, Johnson threatened his LGF members/critics with the phrase:
“If you don’t like it, start your own website.”
Many in the gated community called Little Green Footballs recognized what was coming down and decided to take the suggestion. LGF 2.0 made its debut in 2007.
Current and former “lizards” showed up at this experimental site, and it became popular for those who would rather post and discuss current events without Johnson’s ban stick hanging over their heads, without interference and dogpile tactics, his threats of censorship, and without his manipulation/editing of commenters’ posts.
Johnsons’ reaction was typical. He referred to this new website as “The Stalkers” and often claimed that the site was infested with viruses (with no evidence at all – it was a WordPress site) in order to discourage his followers from reading criticism. LGF 2.0 operated in similar fashion to LGF, but without the squelch, and posters enjoyed mocking Charles Johnson from beyond his reach. This inflamed the vindictive blogger, and Johnson made a move that was noticed by LGF 2.0: he filed for trademark protection with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, presumably to protect his “brand” and to shut down his critics on LGF 2.0.
During the process, Johnson probably learned that you can’t trademark initials, but several hundred dollars and approximately eight months later, he was granted a trademark for the name “Little Green Footballs.”
Meanwhile, he’d flashed his cards enough times that LGF 2.0 morphed into The Blogmocracy.
So what’s the point of all this? Aside from the USPTO, two people knew about this. One was Charles Johnson. The other? Internet Septic Tank Engineer, aka BRC Engineer No. 1.
On 21 October 2016, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office declared Little Green Footballs DEAD.
Here’s a blow up of the screen cap with little red boxes added for emphasis.
What’s coming next? I don’t know, Babs, but I do know this. Charles Johnson needs to pony up some more clams before someone in Pyongyang scoops up Little Green Footballs and starts charging him royalty fees.
Or he can wait and see…
Registering a trademark in the US can be a time consuming, hoops-jumping, and somewhat expensive exercise. Steps in the process include (but are not limited to):
- Choose between standard or stylized format (like a phrase vs. a logo; can’t be both)
- Clearly identify which goods or services the mark will apply to.
- Make sure that someone isn’t already submitting the same
- Specify a “basis” for submission (already being used in commerce, or intending to use)
- Got all that? Then submit your mark using the online form.
Because of all the legalese and bureaucracy involved, most applicants consult an attorney before submission, especially because you won’t get your $325 back if you screw something up and it ultimately gets turned down. Once submitted, it is reviewed several times over while the applicant fills out a few more legal documents (to keep it “live”) over the course of a few months. Then, finally, if you’ve done everything right and the Fed gives you the stamp of approval, you get something like this:
LGF trademark (pdf)
Internet news aggregator? I wonder if those lizards penning the LGF Pages and submitting links know that they’re working for Johnson…for free (’cause the original CJ content has been a little thin for a long time). “Entertainment website” would have been a better description of the service, quite frankly.