Personal style blogger, Leandra Medine, the brains and overalls behind the popular site, The Man Repeller, has a bit of a legal smarts, as well. Along with the rise of her site, Medine coined a few terms, namely: Man Repeller (which she defines as "outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive mode that may result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls, shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs") and Arm Party (which refers to the the stacks and stacks of bracelets she regularly dons and in her own words, "is most usually composed of a combination of DANNIJO, LeivanKash, Shashi, sometimes sprinkled over a little Hermes, Kara Ackerman and the token Love Bracelet engraved with best words ever: 'We’re so proud, love Mom and Dad.'"). Medine then did what a smart blogger does and applied to trademark her terms of art. She filed to federally register her Man Repeller mark in 2010 (which was registered in 2013) and according to multiple sources, including an interview with Fashionologie in 2011, Medine she has a trademark pending for the frequently used term "Arm Party." However, a quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's records reveals that she may not have acted quickly enough in filing to protect the term.
According to the USPTO, the only registration for the term is one held by Fantasia Accessories for costume jewelry. So, either Medine is registering her term through the self-proclaimed "fast fashion" NYC-based company (which owns the licenses to various brands, including Sanrio and Disney) as of June 2012 or the company has secured the rights to Medine's otherwise unregistered trademark. While it sounds bad, chances are, this won't be a deal breaker for Medine, who is a creative genius with many more catchy trademarks up her sleeve. In addition, she could always claim common law trademark rights over the term, "arm party," especially because Fantasia is an NYC-based company and has filed its application on a 1B basis, which means it has not yet used the term in commerce. Medine, on the other hand, has been using the term on her site (aka in commerce) since at least 2011.
So, take note bloggers. Got a term or brand name that you don't want someone else to steal (and potentially prevent you from using it)? Consider applying to federally register it as a trademark.