Market Overview

Hammer-Schlagen® Stump Registers As Trademark


Current Owner Operating For 20 Years Under Extremely Rare Trademark
Type Insured For $1.5 Million

Just as consumers recognize Coca-Cola by its three-dimensional bottle,
the German-themed Hammer-Schlagen® nail driving competition is
recognized by its three-dimensional stump. This three-dimensional
configuration of shapes and designs, known as "trade dress," is
protected as a trademark under federal law. In a public notice issued
yesterday, the United States government registered WRB, Inc. of
Minnesota as the only entity allowed to use the Hammer-Schlagen® stump.
Hammer-Schlagen® originated in 1957 near Stillwater, Minnesota.

"We encourage competition," says Jim Martin, the CEO of WRB who oversees
the operation of Hammer-Schlagen® at hundreds of events nationwide,
"There's nearly unlimited combinations of objects to use to hold similar
competitions. Go to the Steele County Fair in Minnesota, the Apple
Popcorn Festival in Indiana, and the Berlin Fair in Connecticut." Of the
nearly 2.4 million active and registered trademarks on the principal
register, the Hammer-Schlagen® stump is one of only 30 trade dresses for
service. "Trade dress is not well understood," says Martin, "and that's
a huge problem. If someone uses our stump to offer an inferior service,
the perception of those engaging under the counterfeit is irreversibly
damaged, even if the Hammer-Schlagen® name or logo is never used. And,
if someone gets hurt, we get blamed even though we've never had an
insurable injury." A registered trademark owner victimized by willful
infringement can recover up to $2 million per incident.

"Lawsuits are expensive," says Martin. In 2015, the United States Patent
& Trademark Office prosecuted the trade dress for over 2 years before
acknowledging the Hammer-Schlagen® stump was a valid trademark eligible
for registration. In 2016, Vision Marketing, LLC, of Washington was
accused (in part) of counterfeiting the stump which ended in settlement
earlier this year. This was followed by a court dismissing a 2017 case
filed by Eichenfeld, LLC of New York for Eichenfeld's failure to produce
any evidence the Hammer-Schlagen® stump was not a valid trademark or
that WRB did not own it. In June, the Intellectual Property Insurance
Services Corporation of Kentucky insured the famous Hammer-Schlagen®
brand. In the event WRB is forced to take further litigation against
Hammer-Schlagen® infringers, IPISC will pay for the legal costs up to
$1.5 million.

Further details at <>.

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