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  • Writer's pictureJason

Twilight Zone Pinball Advances in the Trademark Process

I watch trademark applications for anything related to pinball like a hawk. When looking at that sort of data one usually goes for long stretches, months even, without a single interesting trademark filing. So I was absolutely stunned back in February of this year when I saw that CBS Broadcasting had filed a VERY specific trademark for the use of the Twilight Zone in "Pinball games; pinball-type games; pinball machines." That's it. Most trademarks for intellectual property like this are blanket statements with the word pinball buried in amongst a million other things like lunchboxes, underwear, kites, etc. This trademark filing had one very specific purpose, to approve Twilight Zone for use in a pinball machine.

Yesterday the trademark process advanced for this filing when the U.S. Trademark Office filed Twilight Zone pinball for opposition. I have included a description of what that means below, but in short it's one more step in the process of trademarking something. This part of the process can take several months.

I've seen a number of people pushing back against the idea that Twilight Zone pinball is happening lately. I completely get it. There's a lot of Twilight Zones were made and there's a number of used ones out there for sale. It's a widebody and you don't see too many of those manufactured these days. And the Bill of Materials for this game would be crazy high in today's world. Still, If any of those folks want to bet me a beer on the subject, I'm game :). To me a specific filing like this means it is very likely that we will see Twilight Zone pinball at some point in the future. Could the development of a remake of this iconic 1993 Bally game run into roadblocks? Absolutely. Still, there's so much smoke here and elsewhere that I personally would be very surprised if a Twilight Zone remake didn't happen. We'll see. In the meantime, it's super fun to talk and speculate about.

"Approval for publication

After your trademark is approved for publication, your trademark is published in our weekly online Trademark Official Gazette. Your trademark hasn’t yet registered. Publication begins a 30-day period during which any member of the public who thinks they’ll be harmed by the registration of your trademark may oppose it. They may file a Notice of Opposition, which starts a legal proceeding with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) about your trademark.

If no one opposes your trademark during the publication period, your application proceeds to the next stage of the registration process. It still hasn’t registered. It can take three to four months from the time your trademark publishes to when you receive official notification that your trademark has either registered or moved to the next stage.

If your application is based on use in commerce, then your trademark will register.

If your application is based on an intent to use the trademark in commerce, your trademark will not register yet. Instead, we will issue you a Notice of Allowance, which means you must submit a Statement of Use (SOU) by the deadline. An SOU must include a specimen showing how you use your trademark in commerce. Once you submit an acceptable SOU, your trademark will register. Learn more about filing a SOU and extension requests."

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