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Category Archives: Advertising

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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

Still Smashing Trademark Rights?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Why does Smashburger continue down this road of smashing its trademark rights? Especially, despite our previous cautions: Another Marketing Pitfall: How to Crush a Smashing Brand Name & Trademark Can Anyone Smash a Burger? Crushing a Perfectly Good Brand Name? In the meantime, we’ll keep watching out for marketing pitfalls and unnecessary marketing copy that… Continue Reading

Beme, or BeHBO / BeShowtime / BePayPerView?

Posted in Advertising, Audio, Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking

It has been a tumultuous year for copyright owners. The old cliche is “if you love something, set it free,” but it seems plenty of third parties are happy to take on that task when it comes to copyrighted content. Now that mainstream smartphones allow anyone to capture high definition video, mobile apps in particular have been fertile ground… Continue Reading

Will Starbucks Be a Closer at the USPTO?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

We’ll soon see whether coffee truly goes hand in hand with closers, at least in one famous brand owner’s quest for registration of a non-verbal, non-traditional color trademark at the USPTO. I’ve been noticing Starbucks focus on green straws lately, with the door signage shown below, offering a pretty creative use of “look-for advertising” without… Continue Reading

At The Corner of Trademarks and Confusion

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

Even in the age of the Internet, the geographic use of a trademark is an important consideration in determining whether your mark is likely to confuse consumers as to the source of your goods or services. Geographic considerations are particularly important for bars, restaurants, breweries, wineries, and distilleries – especially as they enter new markets…. Continue Reading

Trademark Grammar, Concerns, and Cliches?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is currently running this advertisement from a local law firm highlighting its “Total Partnership” program (BTW, love the website video, linked here):Although the use of the term “trademarked” will make more than a few trademark types cringe, NLJ we know what you mean, so no worries, especially with these gems… Continue Reading

A Smörgåsbord of Standard Characters

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

Strolling around the Mall of America last weekend, I was surprised not only by the rather low weekend crowds (everyone must have retreated to their respective lake cabin) but also the brand-new store for Swedish outdoor brand Fjällräven. What with my highly-attenuated Swedish ancestry, I couldn’t help but stop in. The company’s perhaps best known for its… Continue Reading

Absolut Apologies, Comparisons, Truncations

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, False Advertising, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, Truncation

It has been a while since a billboard campaign has caught my interest and attention, but the currently running Absolut Goes Dark ads are an exception worth noting: Isn’t it interesting — at least in this context — how the simple references to Jack, Johnnie, and Jim, draw an obvious comparison to the distilled spirits… Continue Reading

Will Your Brand Celebrate American Independence?

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

By Debbie Laskey, MBA In the United States, July is the month when we celebrate Independence, specifically on the Fourth of July. While many retail stores promote “Independence Day” sales that last more than just one day, we can all recall automobile sales advertised on TV and radio called “Independence Day Sales” but start in… Continue Reading

Counterclaims for Cancellation Are Like Yoga Pants for Your Infringement Defense

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use, Fashion, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademarks, USPTO

Here’s one piece of advice you’ll hear from just about any trademark attorney: apply to federally register your marks as soon as financially possible. It is a very important step to take in order to protect your brand. A federal registration provides nationwide rights over any third-party that begins use of a confusingly similar mark… Continue Reading