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Category Archives: Advertising

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3D Scanning Jesus in Brazil

Posted in Advertising, Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

– Derek Mathers, Business Development Manager, Worrell Last week, in the 3D printing class I teach at the University of Minnesota, we discussed the legal and ethical issues surrounding the replication of physical goods and intellectual property. Typically, this conversation involves issues like the increasing availability of 3D printable gun files, replicating secret objects from… Continue Reading

Technology and Trademark Tantrums

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Things that can potentially upset people can also really benefit a lot of people. —Aktarer Zaman, Founder of Skiplagged Last week, Tim wrote a great post about a recent lawsuit filed by In-N-Out Burger against DoorDash, a food delivery startup. DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service that allows… Continue Reading

What’s in Your Tagline, a Strong Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last year, in my post entitled What’s in Your Wallet, a Cafe?, I had this to say about the iconic Capital One tagline: “Since 2000, Capital One Financial — the nation’s largest direct bank — has been promoting its credit card services by asking What’s in Your Wallet? Three years later it began promoting banking and other financial… Continue Reading

Orwellian Enforcement of Orwellian Copyright?

Posted in Advertising, Copyrights, False Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology

George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 would describe this situation as “doubleplusungood.” Josh Hadley, an internet radio host and a self-described “harsh film critic with no sense of subtlety or tact,” recently met the ire of Orwell’s estate when he used CafePress to create a t-shirt design with the text “1984 Is Already Here” emblazoned over tattered movie posters…. Continue Reading

Will Purple Reign, as a Color Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, FDA Approval, International, Law Suits, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Today, we’re not talking about that Purple Rain, that Color Purple, or those Purple People Eaters, and we’re especially not talking today about Purple Gloves, Purple Bags, Purple Jackets, Purple Candy Wrappers, or Purple Tags, no today, we’re talking about “The Purple Pill,” a/k/a Today’s Purple Pill — AstraZeneca’s blockbuster Nexium brand acid reflux medication…. Continue Reading


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

You might be familiar with the popular mid-90s commercials suggested by the title of this post.  However, the intention of this post is about the use of trademarks on beer to refuse trademark protection for wineries and vice versa, which is an increasing problem for the growing craft alcohol industry. Recently an Austrailian company, Innvopak… Continue Reading

Ads Touting Function Shoot Down Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about brand owners who shoot themselves in the foot with their advertising. And, I’m sure it won’t be the last. As we’ve discussed before, touting the function of a product design feature can kill any hope of owning non-traditional trademark protection in that feature. The latest example from… Continue Reading

When Brands Get Personal, Do They Lose Their Identity?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Marketing has always been an exercise in getting consumers to make a connection with a brand.  As our friend Seth Godin once said “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the story that you tell.”   With the widespread use of social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, those stories are… Continue Reading

Fallout for the “Made in Germany” Brand

Posted in Advertising, Branding, International, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts

The “Made in Germany” brand has undoubtedly taken a hit in the past few weeks. The brand, along with the phrases “German engineering”, “German engineered”, etc. have made their way into just about every advertisement for goods coming from German companies. Volkswagen made the theme part of its advertising campaign, perhaps more than any other… Continue Reading

Apple and The World’s Most Public Privacy Policy

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Contracts, Marketing, Search Engines, Technology, Trademarks

It bears mentioning when one of the world’s most famous brands releases one of the world’s most prominent and readable privacy policies. That’s just what Apple did this week, and the message to other brands is clear – privacy policies can be a massive marketing opportunity, not just an obscure legal nuisance. Every business that… Continue Reading

Game, Stripes, Match…No Love Between Skechers & Adidas

Posted in Advertising, Fashion, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademarks

Maybe I haven’t quite accepted the fact that the US Open and New York Fashion Week are over and September almost is too, but stories on tennis and fashion always get my attention, especially when they include a little intellectual property infringement flair. The Stan Smith shoe is a legendary shoe design from Adidas named… Continue Reading

“Feel the Bern” and Other Questionable Campaign Slogans

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

– Laurel Sutton, Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development As Americans are all aware, the presidential campaigns are in full swing, more than a year before the actual election. (There are also holiday decorations for sale in Costco, months before the holiday season. We just can’t wait for some things, I guess.)… Continue Reading

A BrandVerb Uber Alles?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Uber, the popular brand that helps people arrange prompt ground transportation, is now also being called a verb. The Star Tribune recently reported that the founder of iHail, a recent competitor of Uber in the Twin Cities market, would like to achieve the same anointed status: “I want iHail to become a verb, just like… Continue Reading

RECOVERY from a Surprise Genericness Refusal?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Trademarks, USPTO

Reliant Beverage Co., makers of “Recovery Water,” has an endorsement from Russell Wilson and heaps of buzz surrounding the purported benefits of its products and “nanobubbles,” but thanks to some errors from both Reliant and the PTO, a federal trademark may be out of reach. Reliant applied for the RECOVERY WATER mark back in March, and soon… Continue Reading

Cheap Flights for Flying Blind

Posted in Advertising, Branding, International, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts

European discount airline Germanwings has a practice it calls “Blind Booking”. The concept is straightforward. Essentially you don’t know your destination city until after you have booked the flight. But for €33 (approximately $37) each way you get pretty cheap tickets in exchange for a bit a flexibility. This is basically the airline version of… Continue Reading

Observations of a Bumper Stickler

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Guest Bloggers

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications As surely as locusts mark the seventh year and swallows announce the return of Spring to Capistrano, bumper stickers herald campaign season. Whether they support announced candidates, urge the unannounced to run, or express views on issues, bumper stickers all have one thing in common: they are brand ambassadors. Consider… Continue Reading

It’s DangeRuss, So DangeRuss

Posted in Advertising

Russell Wilson (whose twitter handle is @DangeRussWilson) recently courted controversy with some comments made in an August 26 Rolling Stone article: Another venture is slightly less altruistic. Wilson is an investor in Reliant Recovery Water, a $3-per-bottle concoction with nanobubbles and electrolytes that purportedly helps people recover quickly from workouts and, according to Wilson, injury…. Continue Reading

Tastes Like Chicken, Not a Copyright

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, False Advertising, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Taste, Trademarks, USPTO

A common refrain: “There must be a way to protect this idea, either by trademark or copyright.” Regrettably, in many instances, the answer is “none of the above.” Take, for example, the humble chicken sandwich. Late last week, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit upheld a granted motion to dismiss with a holding… Continue Reading

Will Marketing Pitfall Lead to Sand Pounding?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Trademarks

Preparing to send off to college my two oldest sons, led us to Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar & Grill’s rooftop patio on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall last week, and we found an interesting menu item. Under the Sandwiches category: “Smashed Burger,” is treated generically as a type of sandwich burger, along with “Kobe Beef” and… Continue Reading

The Great Presidential (logo) Debate

Posted in Advertising, Branding, SoapBox, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, Truncation

The day has finally arrived – the beginning of 2016 presidential debate season!  The best reality TV showdown around!  Democrat or Republican, I don’t discriminate, political debates are probably the only fighting “sport” in a ring that I enjoy watching.  Fox finalized its debate card for the first debate of the season and, with the… Continue Reading