James Bond's Gun Is 'Distinctive,' Says U.S. Trademark Office
It's time to consider whether the gun belonging to James Bond is a celebrity in its own right.
At first, the United States Patent & Trademark Office had doubts. When the makers of the PPK handgun first tried to register the the sleek and elegant design of "James Bond's weapon of choice," complete with various film posters and media references, the trademark examiner didn't buy the applicant's argument that the gun had a "definite aura" and "mystique" surrounding it.
So the applicant got creative, commissioning a blind, online survey of individuals over 18 years old who own a handgun or had plans to buy one.
Approximately 54% of the participants in the survey were able to identify the PPK pistol, with several mentioning "James Bond" as the reason why were able to successfully do so.
Fifty-four percent?! We're mighty impressed and wouldn't take any bets about the Q score of the pistol compared to the cast of Glee.
The survey also scored a direct hit at the trademark and trial board of the USPTO, which despite a bias against product configuration marks, reversed the original examiner's decision and awarded a trademark last week because the gun design has acquired "distinctiveness."
You may wonder why gun manufacturers need any more protection than the guns themselves, but when one is talking about a celebrity of James Bond's gun's caliber, it's prudent to be on guard. The USPTO's decision notes that the firearm is sought after and licensed and that "it stands to reason that a party would only attempt to replicate another party's trade dress or product configuration, under license or not, if that trade dress or product configuration is perceived by the consumers as distinctive."
So now that the gun belonging to 007 has slain the "Dr. No" at the Trademark office, how about that star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?