World Trademark Review published an investigation on Michael Gleissner and his numerous companies, trademarks and domain names.
Steeped in mystery, the operation spans at least 36 countries with an estimated cost of close to $750,000 for trademark filings alone. Due to the breadth of this ongoing activity, and with high-profile brands such as BMW, Western Digital and even US President Donald Trump currently challenging some of his marks, every rights holder should take notice.
Over the past couple of weeks, World Trademark Review – along with assistance from trademark watching platform CompuMark – has built up an extensive data set in an attempt to measure the scope of Gleissner’s global portfolio, all of which is based on publically available information. After collating it into a single document, The Gleissner Files (pdf with 69 pages), it reveals more than 1,100 registered company names, over 2,500 trademark applications and 5,300 domain names – the scope of which has been described by one expert as more “organised”, “professional” and “sophisticated” than anything they’ve seen before.
Gleissner now has 756 trademark applications at the USPTO. The most common legal representative for Gleissner-related filing at the firm is Jonathan Grant Morton, a former USPTO patent examiner who is listed on LinkedIn as a partner at Morton & Associates and also general counsel at Gleissner’s companies Bigfoot Entertainment and Fashion One.
The Gleissner Files: most used trademark jurisdictions
- United States – 756 trademark applications
- United Kingdom – 652
- Portugal – 394
- Benelux – 380
- Canada – 89
- Mexico – 67
- European Union – 55
- Turkey – 27
- Philippines – 21
- France – 17
With over 1,000 applications now registered (and a further 1,314 that could reach registration), Gleissner already has a sizeable trademark portfolio. A costly one too; in total, according to our estimate, the applications alone would have cost just under $750,000.
World Trademark Review in their latest analysis, they found at least 13 marks currently in opposition proceedings at the EUIPO, including the mark PEPPER being opposed by BMW, and distribution giant Connect Group opposing the mark CONNECT. In the UK, the mark TRUMP TV is currently being opposed by DTTM Operations LLC, the New York-based entity used to protect the intellectual property of US president Donald Trump. Furthermore, a number of registered marks are being sought for cancellation, including the UK mark PURPLE.COM which Western Digital is seeking to cancel. Apple has also been a previous foe in proceedings.
Over 82% of the trademark applications use one of the 1,161 UK company names that Gleissner has personally registered in the past two years – with the names spread out across trademark applications to make tracking nearly impossible.
The Gleissner Files: most used trademark owner name by applications
- Fashion International Limited – 69
- Knr Technologies Limited – 58
- Ebony International Limited – 50
- Kpp Design Limited – 44
- Fashion TV Broadcasting Limited – 35
- Ebb Development Limited – 34
- Truzzi Fashion Limited – 31
- Vico International Limited – 29
- Bnu Textiles Limited / China Capital Brands Limited / Ckl Citymedia Limited / Viva Technologies Limited – 28
- Rainmaker International Limited – 26
World Trademark Review has recorded at least 5,418 domains owned by the entrepreneur (data accessed at ViewDNS.info), with 267 identifying Gleissner as the owner and the rest his domain subsidiary NextEngine Ventures. At the time of going to press, more than 3,000 of the domains are not currently active. A majority of the domains that are active are used in two ways. The first is as a holding page promoting Gleissner’s Fashion One TV channel. The second use is, bafflingly, over 1,500 domains redirecting internet users to a video entitled “Counting Numbers for Kids with Lego Figures”, hosted on the YouTube channel Kiddo TV. The video is currently at 99,000 views, with most comments referencing the unintended redirect that led users to the page.
Some of the domains that Gleissner owns has, in the past, suggested a pattern of typosquatting (eg, ‘frienjdster.com’, ‘hotmaol.com’, ‘hotrmail.com’) and there are current examples of unusual use, such as the copycat website ‘tmview.com’ we wrote about in August. There’s also ‘ui.com’, which appears to be a website for a marketing company. However, the site closely mimics that of Texas-based marketing agency TM, including copying its work and staff pages (there’s no indication the two are related; we’ve contacted TM to confirm). Furthermore, in the past 18 months, Gleissner has lost numerous domains through UDRP actions, and hundreds of the trademark applications are for one-word terms followed by ‘.com’. Meanwhile, some of the marks – many of which are now registered – appear to match well-known brand names, including BAIDU, IPHONE, ITUNES, and TESLA, and due to most of Gleissner’s trademarks being for a single word, it is possible that clashes exist with other third party product or service names.
You can read more about Michael Gleissner here: