NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The City Council is hiring a firm that specializes in intellectual properties to help trademark its new logo.
The council voted at Wednesday night's meeting to adopt a resolution to authorize a service agreement with Gibson & Dernier for an amount not to exceed $7,500.
With offices in Morristown and Red Bank, Gibson & Dernier refer to itself as a "boutique intellectual property firm concentrating on patent, trademark and copyright procurement, litigation, opinion work and licensing."
According to the firm's website, it represents clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to universities to mid-sized companies to independent inventors.
The city rolled out a new logo about the same time it launched a new website this past spring. The angled NB logo is accompanied by the slogan: City of New Brunswick/The Heart of New Jersey.
"With respect to that particular mark, there are certain rights we would like to claim to it so others don't try to advance those same rights to it," said Council attorney T.K. Shamy. "So, this firm specializes in intellectual property matters. We're hiring them to file for us a U.S. patent trademark office those particular marks and that particular description so we can use it without interference going forward. We've used it for a little bit now and now we're going to go ahead and formalize it."
One resident called the move "unusual" because the city is a public entity and he believed the logo would then be considered public property. Therefore, he said he doesn't see the need to hire a patent attorney.
In 2013, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied the City of Houston's bid to obtain a federal trademark registration of its official insignia. In the same ruling, it denied the District of Columbia's bid for the same.
Closer to home, Union County officials took legal steps to stop journalist Tina Renna from using the county seal during broadcasts of her public access news program. During the legal battle, the county's application to register the seal with the United States Patent and Trademark Office was rejected.
Perhaps the most iconic city-used tourism logo, "I Love New York," is owned by the New York State Department of Economic Development and it has secured several federal trademark registrations to protect it.