Do you remember ‘Left Shark’, the slightly out of time dancer who was ‘dancing’ beside Katy Perry during her Super Bowl half time show back in February. After designer Fernando Sosa made a 3D printed figurine called Left Shark available online – Perry’s team quickly began investigating how she could take ownership of intellectual property in the name, the image and the concept of Left Shark.
The US Trademark Office has now had its say. Examiner.David Collier wasn’t impressed with an application to register the image of Left Shark. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Collier wrote that the design “identifies only a particular character; it does not function as a service mark to identify and distinguish applicant’s services from those of others and to indicate the source of applicant’s services”. The Examiner also noted that there were inconsistencies between a photo of actual Left Shark and a drawing of Left Shark with the Examiner saying:
“Specifically, the [photo] displays the mark as a stylised depiction of a forward leaning shark in nearly a front profile with a portion of a dorsal fin, two pectoral fins and two legs and feet substituted for the caudal fin on the tail”, he wrote. “The shark has five gills, a full mouth with teeth and round eyes with eyelids. However, the drawing displays the mark as a stylised depiction of an upright shark in full front profile with no dorsal fin, two full pectoral fins and two legs and feet; the shark has three gills and the sharks mouth appears without teeth; the shark also has oval eyes without eyelids”.
However, Collier did say he needed clarification as to what products could now be created under the brand. Perry’s copyright action against Sosa remains unclear although CMU Daily reminded us of the very amusing quote from Sosa’s lawyer, CJ Sprigman, who said “I’m obliged to admit that, unlike any shark I’ve seen, the Left Shark costume has legs, but that doesn’t make the Left Shark costume copyrightable. The Left Shark costume has legs because the person inside it has legs”.