Calvin Broadus v. Snoop International Ltd. (U.K. Opposition No. 408342) (Decision No. 0-424-18)
On behalf of superstar rapper Snoop Dogg (whose real name is Calvin Broadus), we were successful in overseeing a trademark opposition against an entity related to Michael Gleissner, a serial trademark filer. Several brands including Apple, BMW, and Donald Trump have challenged Gleissner marks, but success has been elusive in a number of these oppositions. In fact, in the same week that Snoop Dog prevailed in his opposition, international retailer Mango’s challenge to a Gleissner mark was dismissed. In the Snoop Dogg matter, the U.K. Intellectual Property Office found in favor of Snoop Dogg’s opposition against a SNOOP trademark, determining that Gleissner’s entity’s application, which was filed in Class 14 (jewelry) and Class 26 (lace and embroidery) was filed in bad faith, and awarding Snoop Dogg £1,300. This decision was due in large measure to the extensive evidence of Snoop Dogg’s international fame and reputation submitted in support of the opposition—including an affidavit by Fross Zelnick’s Senior Counsel Stephen Bigger which was favorably cited at several points in the final decision.
Evidence submitted included confirmation that the sole director of the applicant company Snoop International Limited was none other than Michael Gleissner. Evidence was also submitted from an earlier U.K. Registry decision pointing out that Mr. Gleissner had a “track record of trading in domain names” and that one of his associates had admitted that his job entailed “reverse domain name high jacking.” The tribunal noted it was clear from previous U.K. decisions involving Mr. Gleissner that he had established multiple shelf companies in the names of which he had sought to register a large number of trademarks as part of a “blocking strategy” and there was no actual intention to use the marks in any real commercial way. Accordingly, the tribunal found that the trademark opposition had succeeded in full.