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Category Archives: Advertising

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TRENDING: Minnesota’s Midwestern “Identity Crisis”

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

The usual suspects did it again Tuesday.  My Minnesota friends who, like me, tend to indulge in a bit too much Minnesota-centric navel gazing took high interest to a Minneapolis Star Tribune column that posed an interesting question: “Does Minnesota’s region have an identity crisis?”  My Facebook feed lit up with links to Kim Ode’s… Continue Reading

Does the United States Patent and Trademark Office Perpetuate Sexism in Branding?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, First Amendment, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Now the dilemma…what to name the place. Simple. What else brings a gleam to men’s eyes everywhere besides beer, chicken wings and an occasional winning football season? Hence the name Hooters. Supposedly they were into owls. Strange. — Hooters  This NFL season, civil rights advocates continue to make… Continue Reading

Photoshopping: One Lingerie Company is Bucking the Trend while Making a Buck

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fashion, Goodwill, Marketing

It’s no secret that the advertising industry relies heavily on physical appearance to sell products, especially for clothing, accessories, and even cheeseburgers. About a year ago, Brent (Lorentz, of the fellow Duets Blogger fame) discussed the prevalence of unrealistic expectations of beauty in advertising. As Brent mentioned, while ethical standards are applied to all sorts of industries,… Continue Reading

Mayhem: Ahem, Metaphorically Speaking

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Metaphors are a good choice for trademarks. A metaphor typically requires some thought, imagination or perception to understand the connection between the mark and what’s for sale. Remember what a floating feather might suggest metaphorically? Yes, a good night’s sleep. So, the symbol works well as a distinctive non-verbal trademark for a pharmaceutical sleep aid…. Continue Reading

How would a corporation run a country?

Posted in Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Search Engines, Technology

- Aaron Keller, Managing Principal, Capsule In a recent meeting, someone dropped a forecast on the table stating that Google was on track, in five years, to become the world’s first trillion dollar company (currently they are $382 B). This is built on a virtual monopoly in the area of online advertising and now growing… Continue Reading

Bottega Veneta Unties a Trademark Knot

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, International, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

It is easy for some to get all tied up in knots at the USPTO when facing challenging grounds for refusal against federal registration of a claimed non-traditional trademark. Not Bottega Veneta. Last week the Swiss-owned fashion house and luxury brand was able to persuade the USPTO to approve for publication the three dimensional knot… Continue Reading

Star Wars: Redefining Trademark and Copyright Law Since A Long Time Ago

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Social Media, Sound, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

The Star Wars series is truly an exceptional franchise, having broken box office records, creating legions of fans, and bringing the idea of collateral merchandise licensing to an unprecedented level. Also, how many other films are top hits at the box office in three different decades, even when all you’ve done is add a few… Continue Reading

HOW To Support a Lawsuit in 140 Characters or Less

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

It’s not too often that we see a trademark dispute that affects the marketing and advertising community directly (rather than just their clients), but the facts on this one read like answers to the Five W’s: Who? Popular Greek yogurt manufacturer Chobani, its ad agency Droga5, and corporate leadership guru Dov Seidman. What? A trademark… Continue Reading

When it Feels Like “Look For” Advertising, How About a Little Follow-through?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

As we head into the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with a Culver’s ad that feels like “look for” advertising: We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the topic of how “look for” advertising greatly enhances a brand owner’s ability to federally register non-traditional trademarks. Now, if Culver’s would only follow-through and seek… Continue Reading

Silicon Valley x Fashion District = Blurred Lines

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Branding, Copyrights, Fashion, Infringement, Marketing, Patents, Product Configurations, Technology, Trademarks

Growing up in the 80s, it’s amazing how both fashion and technology have evolved since Scrunchies and Commodore 64s – although a quite separate evolution. I can’t recall a fashionable pager (really, go try to find one), or a chic mp3 player (I had an Archos Jukebox, look at that brick). That all changed once Apple… Continue Reading

Don’t Litter, Eh?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Trademarks

The Toronto Globe and Mail recently reported on a clever anti-littering campaign that was launched and quickly aborted in Toronto due to trademark concerns.  The premise for the campaign was to take wrappers and packaging from some well-known brands and position it to create words describing litterers–words like dipstick, dumb, lazy, lowlife, pig, etc.  While… Continue Reading

I’m Gumby Dammit — A Flexible Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

The Minnesota History Center is currently promoting its Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit — my favorite promotional billboard is the one captured above, featuring none other than Gumby. I can still remember my Gumby toy and watching the Gumby Show as a young child along with the Davey & Goliath television series, both… Continue Reading

Colors, Words, and Colours: Pink with Envy

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Trademarks

It has been nearly a year since we posed the age-old question: Does this Pink Clash with My Pink? Okay, so it’s not that old of a question. In fact, most of you (readers) may not have ever considered the inquiry. I guess I should clarify, by “clash with” I mean “infringe.” By “Pink” I… Continue Reading

Pepsi Gets Grip on MLB All-Star Extravaganza

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

How cool is it to have the MLB All-Star Game and related events, right here in Minneapolis? Very. As the advertisement shows, Pepsi is playing a large role in the event, as the “Official Soft Drink” of the MLB All-Star Game. As attractive as the ad is, sadly, I suspect that only trademark types and… Continue Reading

ED Ads: Humor From Across the Pond

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television

On this last day of the month, we are shedding almost all seriousness to stand at attention while examining some recent London taxi cab humor — from the perspective of Lloyds Pharmacy – about treating the affliction of erectile dysfunction (ED) with six pound pills and a healthy dose of laughs: One of the things I learned… Continue Reading

Brewing Brewery Brawl: Busch Not Happy with NATTY

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

You know that beer that you would drink in a basement, but now that you acknowledge that you are actually an adult, you would not be caught dead buying in a liquor store or requesting at a bar or restaurant?  We’ve all got one.  Having spent my college drinking days in “the good land”, my… Continue Reading

Jesus Christ (World Cup) Superstar?

Posted in Advertising, Copyrights, Marketing, Television

- Derek Allen, Attorney – The World Cup is in full bloom and like anything that involves lots of money and national pride, it’s going to generate its share of lawsuits (or threatened lawsuits). My favorite so far finds the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro threatening a copyright suit against Italian broadcaster Rai Italia for daring to put an Italy… Continue Reading

Do You Love Paris Too, New York?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Shopping with my daughter this past weekend on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, on the way to the Arc de triomphe, we spotted this shop selling  “I ♥ Paris” merchandise: What do you make of this one, Tim, does it look familiar? I’m thinking Mike Masnick of Techdirt, given his trademark bullying perspective on the… Continue Reading

Legal Marijuana: New Branding Opportunities, Same Old Infringement

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Whether driven by new laws or technology, companies and individuals always push the limits of the law during the industry’s formative years. Obvious examples like Napster come to mind, as well as the more dated example of the VCR. Out in Washington and Colorado, the new booming business of legal marijuana is no different. According… Continue Reading

Owning a New Look Through Advertisements

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

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the importance of “look for” advertising when a brand owner wants to legally own a non-traditional trademark like a single color, or perhaps the shape of a product, or even product packaging or containers, among other potential non-traditional marks. So, when I discovered three billboard ads within… Continue Reading

Can We Sue The Dew?

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, Marketing, SoapBox

Be forewarned.  What you are about to read could very easily be characterized as a rant. Earlier this week, I was driving home from work when I heard a radio commercial for Mountain Dew Kickstart.  Similar to the above visual advertisement, the radio spot touted the perfect combination of “dew, juice, and electrolytes.”  And, with a substantially… Continue Reading

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions: Is there any doubt that the automobile depicted in the Costco advertisement is a Corvette Stingray? If so, HiConsumption should resolve any lingering questions. How did… Continue Reading