Bose Corp. insists it did nothing wrong. At worst, the company made a small, good faith error. That's not how the trademark office sees it.
The USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled in late 2007 that there was a problem with one of Bose's filings. When the company in 2001 renewed a registration for its famous "wave" mark, Bose's general counsel, Mark E. Sullivan, had sworn that the mark was being used on various electronic devices, including audio tape players.
Not only has the TTAB adopted a tough objective standard, but it also has applied this standard mercilessly.
"By and large, the TTAB has said you're expected to know the facts you're averring to," Masters says. "If you get it wrong, it is fraudulent."