Who even is Cardillo? Is he into retro gaming/collecting and also out to make a quick buck? Or does he have no interest in video games, and just wants to make a quick buck?
How did Cardillo acquire the Coleco brand?
You should really read over US Registration No. 78338364 at the US Patent and Trademark Office to check out River West Brand’s original application for the ColecoVision mark, filed December 9, 2003.
After receiving an application, the US Trade Mark and Patent office then performs a search to determine if there are existing uses of the requested mark. In the case of Coleco, all active uses of the mark expired in the years following the bankruptcy of Coleco Limited Inc. A company must renew their claim to the mark every 10 years, or else the mark lapses.
River West Brands’ application was approved and they were granted a “Notice of Allowance” on January 3, 2006. Once this is issued, the applicant has a maximum of 36 months (3 years) to file a “Statement of Use” (SOU) which demonstrates commercial/business use of the mark in the applicable product category - in this case, International Class 009: Video game software; video game machines for use with televisions. The applicant must apply for extensions every 6 months if they fail to submit an SOU in a timely fashion. Failure to file a statement after 36 months results in the forfeiture of your claim to the mark - for RWB, that dreaded date would be January 3, 2009. At that point, anyone else is entitled to apply for the mark.
Over the next two years, RWB applied for no less than four SOU extensions. The beginning of 2008 saw them use their second to last extension. Things were not looking good.
Then, with only 6 months left on the clock, they submitted a Statement of Use on July 1, 2008. The application stated “the trademark [is] displayed on the product itself.” I wonder what cool product they finally marketed to demonstrate their active use of the mark in a commercial setting?
Hey, way cool! A ColecoVision hand-held video game system! Where can I buy one?
Wait a minute…isn’t that Ben Heck’s hack of an original ColecoVision console modded to be a portable that he created back in 2005?
Allegedly, RWB kindly contacted Ben to let him know that, *ahem*, they owned the ColecoVision trademark, but they would be good sports about it and would authorize use of the mark retroactively to 2005. Ben was asked to sign a document, and he also shared his vector files of the ColecoVision logo since there was nothing usable on the web for his handheld project. What RWB neglected to say was that their mark technically wasn't enforceable - it was pending, and that RWB's application would lapse just three days into the New Year if they didn't submit proof of commercial use - pronto.
Roughly two weeks later on July 15, 2008, the Trademark office accepted RWB’s Statement of Use featuring Ben’s console. Whew! Close call.
Thanks to that photo of Ben’s handheld and his vector files, RWB could finally execute their brand monetization plan years later by licensing the ColecoVision name to ATGames, who released the ColecoVision Flashback.
As a footnote, apparently there were two other entities interested in claiming marks related to Coleco, although both coordinated with RWB in the end. Perhaps it was RWB all along, I can’t tell from the existing documents. My favourite “above board” application came from a California-based company called (get this) Caesar Collazo, Inc. D.B.A. Collazo Entertainment Company Of Vision A.K.A. ColecoVision, who applied in October 2003.
In the end, this application was abandoned in coordination with RWB, but I think Mr. Collazo had the stronger application. I mean, look at the company name - ColecoVision fits hand in glove! And Mr. Collazo included a Statement of Use in his application years before RWB did - who could ever forget the mind-blowing experience of playing ColecoVision’s masterpiece The Healing Runes Online Game?
Edited by The Evener, Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:34 PM.