The Independent Media Institute has initiated a cancellation procedure for Trademark Registration Number 2,213,427, Fox News Channel’s trademark on the phrase “fair and balanced.” IMI alleges that the mark is (1) merely descriptive with no secondary meaning; (2) generic; and (3) deceptively misdescriptive.
Even if this goes nowhere (which is likely — the Patent and Trademark Office is, after all, part of the Executive Branch), it could force Fox News to make some embarrassing admissions, especially as to descriptiveness. To rebut this charge, they’ll have to show that, with regard to Fox News coverage, “fair and balanced” means something other than the everyday meaning of the words. In other words, they’ll have to show that “fair and balanced” means something different from “balanced and fair”, which could put them in a bit of a spot.
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