Two Brinks attorneys discuss trademarks at WCBA event

Briana Emerson and shareholder Michael N. Spink, intellectual property attorneys in the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione presented at the March 18 meeting of the Washtenaw County Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section.

Presenting the topic, “A Spirited Spin on Non-Traditional Trademarks,” Spink and Emerson noted how traditional trademarks of words, drawings and images have expanded to include sound, scent, texture, motion and color.

The attorneys paid special attention in their presentation to the quickly evolving world of trademarks in college sports, with universities aggressively seeking trademark protection for not only helmets, athletic attire and clothing color combinations, but hand gestures, hog call “cheers” and other school spirit traditions used at athletic contests.

Emerson and Spink, who blogs and tweets about unusual trademarks @funkymarks, have been writing about university trademarks for a few years.

Their co-written article, “We’ve Got Spirit – And it’s Trademarked,” appeared in Law 360 in March 2015.

Emerson earned her undergrad degree in Mechanical Engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of Detroit Mercy, and her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School.

Spink earned his undergrad degree in Mechanical Engineering, cum laude, from the University of Michigan, and his  J.D., cum laude, from The John Marshall Law School.