Friday, 8 February 2008

Sci-Fi Channel - UFO Hunters Special

I wrote about Mufon and the, “UFO Hunters” trademark link back on the 20th January 2008 but it was more about the motivations & implications that James Carrion (International Mufon Directory) may have had more on his mind than just obtaining information regarding the Drones and the recent PowerPoint release of a primer in these sightings, images and documentation. The foray into a public UFO Forum was always ill-advised in my humble opinion and one that (on the face of it) appeared a wholly fruitless pursuit. The original Blog post I made garnered quite a few comments and one of the people who commented (Manuel) researched the trademarks thoroughly, posting his subsequent findings and inquiring as to the point I was attempting to make.

I wasn’t attempting to make a point as such, but rather pointing out that a little further down the road there would inevitably be a dispute regarding the term, “UFO Hunters” this was compounded by the fact that Mufon already have a UFO Hunters logo on their home page which links directly to their, “How to become a field investigator” section.

Little did I realise when posting the recent filing for the trademark, “UFOHunters” by Mufon it was just a small part of the unfolding trademark story. James Carrion even referenced the History Channel show while at the forum, after being directly asked about it:

“Can I ask- have you / MUFON been asked to contribute to the History channel's 'UFO Hunters' regarding the 'Drones' / CARET, in any way?”

James replied saying :

“Funny you should ask about the History Channel - their film crew was here on Thursday filming their reverse engineering episode of UFO Hunters and the PowerPoint presentation we have posted on the Internet was created expressly for briefing the stars of the show on what MUFON knew about DRONES/CARET. That also explains why there are fewer details/notes in the presentation as we had to keep it concise to fit their shooting timeframe. Our follow up MUFON Journal article will contain the details of our investigation.

John Schuessler, former MUFON International Director was also interviewed on camera talking about earlier claims of reverse engineering (Corso, Lazar, etc.)”

Trademark Envy

I was more interested then (as I am now) about whether the History Channel show, “The UFO Hunters” were aware of this trademark application when conducting interviews with (and essentially promoting) Mufon. I should point out I’m not claiming foul play or pre-meditated deceit but rather highlighting what I found unusual at the time. In fact far from reflecting badly on Mufon it shows them in a favourable light as they apparently anticipated this and shrewdly registered the UFO Hunters trademark two months previous and had purchased the domain name, “UFOHUNTERS.ORG” as early as April 2007.

It got even more interesting when it was realised that the SCI-FI channel and the History Channel have not only both filed for a UFO Hunters trademark but both of them moved their respective programmes forward in a direct head-to-head battle. It has been mentioned that this is more than likely so neither could claim having showed the programme first and so neither would have the upper hand when being considered for the trademark, which would indeed seem the likeliest scenario.

But it’s still not quite as easy as that as it has also previously been reported that The History Channel & The Sci-Fi Channel are inextricably linked via their corporate ownership, namely NBC Universal. As NBC Universal not only owns the Sci-Fi channel but is also involved in the production company that is producing the show for the History Channel, i.e. “A&E Television Networks” which is a joint venture between The Hearst Corporation, ABC Inc., and NBC Universal.

The Sci-Fi Channel has already had success with their programme, “Ghost Hunters” and UFO Hunters appears to be a similar format as this so it’s a little strange why nobody thought to file for the trademark until after the History Channel did.

Also, the History Channel has already produced a programme named UFO Hunters, but this was the name of an episode in their popular, “UFO Files” series back in 2005 (rather than the name of the actual series) however this hasn’t stopped them claiming, “Previous use” of the trademark when filing (whereas Sci-Fi had to claim “Intent to use.”) But due to the tenuous claim of this previous use it remains to be seen who will be successful in their trademark applications.

The History Channel is running its UFO Hunters series weekly whereas it would appear that the Sci-Fi channels programme is still in development and billed it’s first programme as a, “Special” and has not confirmed any further dates as of yet.

Sci-Fi Channel - UFO Hunters Special

The timeline of the applications regarding UFO Hunters:

  1. Domain Name:UFOHUNTERS.ORG
    Created On:18-Apr-2007
    Registrant Name:James Carrion
    Registrant Organization:MUFON, Inc.
  2. UFOHUNTERS trademark
    Filed on August 30, 2007
    (APPLICANT) Mutual UFO Network, Inc.
  3. Word Mark UFO HUNTERS
    Filing Date August 30, 2007
    Owner (APPLICANT) Mutual UFO Network, Inc.
  4. Standard Characters Claimed
    Filing Date October 31, 2007
    Owner (APPLICANT) A&E Television Networks
  5. Word Mark NY-SPI: UFO HUNTERS
    Filing Date November 5, 2007
    Owner (APPLICANT) Pilgrim Films and Television, Inc.
  6. Word Mark UFOHUNTERS
    Filing Date November 5, 2007
    Owner (APPLICANT) Pilgrim Films and Television, Inc


Lesley said...

It is my understanding that if MUFON received a TM for an organization called UFO Hunters, there still could be a TM awarded for a Television series of that name because those are different categories of TMs.
Just like there is Apple music and Apple computers. Apple music could not sue apple computers until they started getting into music with I-pod and both held the TM of Apple, but for different purposes.

M.N. said...

realised that and I agree completely, this post was more an attempt to clear up the intentions about my original post as I still receive emails and comments about it.

(This post was supposed to be more of a commentary.)

Thanks for your comment Lesley.