DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Martha Engel

View my professional biography

Although my interest in gadgetry and my aptitude for math eventually led me to become an engineer, my ad executive father and artistically gifted mother fostered an appreciation for the creative from a young age. Through trips to the art museum and many afternoons spent at the ad agency, I developed an interest in design and an understanding of the value of a strong brand. But, for reasons even I am still trying to understand, I always wanted to be a lawyer, an aspiration first realized the Halloween I insisted on wearing a blazer and carrying a briefcase full of contracts and legal pads in one hand and a plastic pumpkin for candy in the other. Whatever the reason, I feel incredibly fortunate that my job allows me to be an engineer, a creative, and a lawyer simultaneously.

When I'm not in the office, I spend time enjoying the outdoors, playing board games with my family, reading books and car magazines, and tackling new recipes.

Posts by Martha Engel

A Charlie Brown Red-Nosed Reindeer

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television

If you celebrate Christmas, and even if you don’t, you probably have a favorite Christmas-themed movie.  Elf?  A Christmas Story?  Miracle on 34th Street?  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Although not feature films like those, my favorite Christmas-themed masterpiece is the 1964 classic short Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, followed very closely by A Charlie Brown Christmas… Continue Reading

Oh What A Tangled WEB We Weave When First We…Try To Show Use

Posted in Almost Advice, Trademarks, USPTO

In order to get a trademark registered or maintain a registration, an example of use of the trademark (referred to by trademark nerds as a “specimen”) must be submitted to the US Trademark Office.  Often trademark attorneys rely on the most readily available specimen that they can find:  their client’s website.  But if the website… Continue Reading

Giving Thanks

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

As “Black Friday” store openings creep earlier and earlier into Thursday, I’m growing concerned that my favorite holiday Thanksgiving is losing its luster.  We eat pumpkin pie rather than carve pumpkins like Halloween, and Thanksgiving doesn’t carry the festiveness or allure of a stocking hung by the chimney with care.  We gorge on tryptophan, watch… Continue Reading

I’m a Patent Attorney – Isn’t that Scary Enough?

Posted in Patents, Product Configurations, Squirrelly Thoughts

A Hoppy Halloween from all of us ghoulish folks here at DuetsBlog! Spending for Halloween this year is likely to hit $11 billion dollars, possibly more than is spent decorating for Christmas.  This fact is easily witnessed in many neighborhoods around town, especially this one where just about every house has some sort of Halloween… 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

The House That Solitude Built

Posted in Agreements, Trademarks

Ever tried to search for directions on your so-called “smart” phone by the name of your intended destination?   What if it directed you to the museum you searched, but unwittingly not the museum you intended to visit…in the same area?  As if there were not enough things to be afraid of in New Jersey like… 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

Hey Commish, Can You Trademark The (Fantasy Football) League?

Posted in Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

All around America, men will soon gather in front of their computers feverishly conducting research, generally wasting time, and participating in one of the manliest things they likely will do for quite some time:  their fantasy football league’s draft. Fantasy football is an $11 billion dollar industry (to put that into perspective, the NFL had… Continue Reading

The C-word and IP Rights

Posted in Almost Advice, Copyrights, Counterfeits, International, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Trademarks

No, not that c-word. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights involves a plethora of c-words:  copying, counterfeit, copyright, cease-and-desist, CIPO (the Canadian IP Office).   But the one I am referring to today is China. As the world becomes more interconnected and the global economic impact of China has significantly increased, intellectual property… Continue Reading

Airing a new logo: Airbnb

Posted in Branding, Trademarks

For those of you who are into traveling, you are probably very familiar with the trendy Airbnb, a travel site that lets you book a stay at someone’s home instead of a hotel.  They are part of a growing trend of websites making the user’s travel booking experience easier, more exotic, and more economical.  EatWith… Continue Reading

It’s ‘MERICA Weekend

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Trademarks, USPTO

July 4th weekend usually makes me think of three things:  the cabin, my favorite random historical facts about Presidents (did you know this?), and the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, I always encourage people on July 4th to read the Declaration of Independence, which includes one of the first usages of one of the most… 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

Karl the Infringer: Parody of New Balance Sneaks Up on Lagerfeld

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Patents, Product Configurations, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

A sense of humor and a little lack of respect:  that’s what you need to make a legend survive. -Karl Lagerfeld on his “winning formula” Sometimes there is a news story that neatly weaves a bunch of DuetsBlog posts together like a Bottega Veneta shoe fabric design.  Sometimes that story comes from hard-hitting news authority… Continue Reading

SKEE THE PEOPLE: Bar games, brewskies, and trademark disputes

Posted in Genericide, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

In addition of course to good beer and good friends, a good bar for me is defined by a good game: photo hunt (the NSFW version) and foosball at Murphy’s, bar olympics at Steny’s (where I dominated at the tricycle races), volleyball at Fat Daddy’s, bocce ball in the basement of Half Time Rec, lawn… Continue Reading

New v. Old: Was Tesla’s Model E Blocked by the Model T?

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Famous Marks, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s a rare phenomenon in the 21st century when a US start-up car company can make commercially viable vehicles essentially from scratch, let alone one using new technology and bucking the dealership model.  Tesla’s been in the news a lot recently – fires, new lithium battery factories in the US (curiously the largest lithium deposits… Continue Reading

What A Daughter Learned From Her Dad About Working in a “Mad Men” World

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

Today is Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which I thought was a lost day but apparently has been re-branded to the more gender-neutral “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”  Upon discovering that I happened to select this day for one of my blogposts during the year my dad retires, this post seemed… Continue Reading