DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Wes Anderson

View my professional biography

As far back as I can remember, I've been fascinated with graphic design, visuals, and branding. I like to trace this back to my seventh birthday, when I was presented with a copy of Marc Okkonen’s Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century. The book is a series of photographs cataloging the uniform history of every team in Major League Baseball. It’s considered the definitive history of baseball uniforms -- if you’re into that kind of thing.

I pored over that book throughout my childhood, memorizing the minute year-to-year uniform and logo tweaks of my beloved Chicago Cubs. For a seven-year-old kid, there may be no stronger brand than a favorite baseball team. After all, fans root for laundry -- it’s the logo on the cap and jersey that lives on long after a favorite player retires or gets traded out of town. I certainly didn’t decide to pursue trademark law at that point (I was too busy planning my career as the next Mark Grace), but in hindsight it has been a natural fit.

Many years later, as an intern at an IP boutique firm, I worked on a trade dress infringement case between two giants of the toilet paper industry. There are few better opportunities to receive a crash course in the world of toilet paper: from market research, to branding, to production. I quickly learned that trademarks are everywhere, even (or perhaps especially) in the bathroom. It was three-ply excitement from start to finish, and I was hooked.

When I’m not working, you’ll probably find me on the golf course, messing with gadgets, or basking in the frivolity of Chicago sports.

Posts by Wes Anderson

A Kind Demand Letter? Stranger Things Have Happened (Apologies)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Infringement, Marketing

Chicago pop-up bar “The Upside Down” rode a wave of popularity program all the way to Netflix’s legal department. And that’s where things took an unexpected turn! Okay, that lede could probably be less obviously playful. You might say the same thing about Netflix’s cease-and-desist letter to the operators of “The Upside Down.” Featuring replicas of the Stranger… Continue Reading

PSL® Season Is Upon Us

Posted in Advertising, Branding

Exult, lovers of autumn and decorative gourds – the air is crisp and the leaves are changing. And, in the treasured annual tradition, this week marked the release of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte – or PSL® as they may prefer to call it. In the spirit of the season, I sought to see if any zealous… Continue Reading

A Bold Victory for Copyright Fair Use

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use

Get your webcams ready: the reaction video genre got a huge shot in the arm from the Southern District of New York this week. h3h3 Productions, a popular YouTube channel with well over four million subscribers, has been embroiled in a fair use lawsuit for for a couple of years now. The channel’s proprietors and… Continue Reading

Titleist Trademark Tarnishment?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, First Amendment, Squirrelly Thoughts

During today’s first round of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, many a golf ball bearing the famous TITLEIST cursive script will be lofted into the heavens – meanwhile, back on the ground, the brand’s owner is attempting to stamp out a lewd parody of its trademark. An online golf apparel company, I Made Bogey,… Continue Reading

The Dilution Delusion?

Posted in Dilution

I hesitate to add to the fallout from Matal v. Tam, the Supreme Court’s decision last week invalidating the disparagement clause of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act. That said, here I go. Many trademark practitioners, separate and apart from their reaction to the decision itself, now ask “where do we go from here?” The next… Continue Reading

The Missing Apple Trademarks

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Trademarks

Far be it from me to criticize a company hoarding over $250 billion in cash reserves – but, hey Apple, why aren’t you filing trademark applications? Perhaps no company’s IP portfolio is of greater interest to the general public than Apple, Inc.’s colossus. (If you disagree, find me another website dedicated solely to one company’s… Continue Reading

HAVANA CLUB: The Rum’s Back on Ice

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Counterfeits, Famous Marks, Food, Law Suits, TTAB, USPTO

Last year, I blogged about the decades-long dispute for the HAVANA CLUB trademark in the United States. Nearly ten months later, well, its spirit lives on. To briefly recap: in one corner, Empresa Cubana Exportadora, an arm of the Cuban government, owns a registration for the HAVANA CLUB trademark. In the other corner, Bacardi claims rights… Continue Reading

Don’t Get TRUMPed By a First-Filer

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Trademarks

Reading over this story on Donald Trump’s decades of headaches (and conveniently-timed successes) with the TRUMP trademark and the Chinese Trademark Office, I was reminded, as I always am, of the importance of filing federal trademark applications. The examination process for Trump’s marks in China, and the Chinese trademark enforcement regime generally, is rather opaque… Continue Reading

Likelihood of Confusion at Its Most Blatant

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Squirrelly Thoughts

Imagine my surprise and amusement to find a recent shipment of wine included a very interesting red blend. The bottle featured a name that would make any trademark lawyer do a double-take: That’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION wine, 2015 vintage (a good year for consumer confusion). Of course, the wine itself invites confusion, as indicated on the… Continue Reading

Checking in on Sony’s “Lens-Style Camera” Application

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

Way back in 2015, I blogged about an interesting non-traditional configuration mark application from Sony for its QX100 “Smartphone Attachable Lens-Style Camera” with the PTO. Here we are nearly two years later, and Sony’s battle continues. As expected, the USPTO has refused registration of Sony’s mark on two main fronts: the functionality of the “cylinder” configuration… Continue Reading

Initial Interest Confusion: Initially Interesting, Ultimately Harmless?

Posted in Advertising, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Squirrelly Thoughts

In the market for sunglasses, I recently went to Amazon.com and searched for “Holbrook sunglasses.” HOLBROOK is, of course, a trademark of Oakley, Inc. – but I had no intention of purchasing Oakleys. Instead, I wanted a far cheaper pair of sunglasses based on that style, so I could more easily justify inevitably losing them. Was… Continue Reading

ORAL B Wireless Floss?

Posted in Advertising, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks

I recently purchased a post-holiday present (for myself) – Apple’s AirPods, wireless headphones designed to integrate with Apple’s various products, including the iPhone 7 (which, helpfully, discarded the headphone jack in the name of “courage.” The earbuds themselves are quite tiny, and likely quite easy to lose, so they come in a case with a… Continue Reading

JORDAN v. QIAODAN: The Lessons of Trademark Enforcement in China

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, Famous Marks, Infringement, International, Law Suits

Whether or not you agree Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, he is certainly well-known. And after an over four-year battle, China’s trademark courts have agreed. Michael Jordan and his JORDAN brand have been a staple of Nike’s shoe and apparel business for over thirty years. Nike so values the “Jumpman”… Continue Reading

Sorry, Apple, Assignment of ITU Applications Isn’t MAGIC

Posted in Advertising, Branding, International

Another installment of Apple surveillance: it appears the tech giant has enlisted a shell company to file trademark applications for its newest products. Problem is, they might be stuck there. On October 27, Apple will hold a press event at its Cupertino, California headquarters, presumably to introduce new Macintosh computers. One rumored feature of the new… Continue Reading

Nihilist Arby’s: We Have The Tweets

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Marketing, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

I recently came across this new piece of merchandise available for sale online: Look familiar? Those familiar with the restaurant chain Arby’s likely think so. The shirt is a product of the parody Twitter account @nihilist_arbys, created by a former writer for The Daily Show. With occasional references to current events, Nihilist Arby’s darkly comedic tweets… Continue Reading

For Wrigley Field Street Vendors, It’s Win or Go Home

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Counterfeits, Fair Use, Fashion, Marketing, Trademarks

The Chicago Cubs are rolling into the playoffs, putting the finishing touches on a historically dominant regular season with over 100 wins. Cubs fans (like me) even dare to dream that the century-plus long championship drought may finally come to an end this fall, if the team can carry its impressive form into the postseason…. Continue Reading

NEIL LANE: Branding in Paradise

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fashion, Product Configurations

I’ll admit it: if there’s a frivolous TV franchise I watch, it’s probably The Bachelor in one of its many iterations. Each series fits the same template: caricatures of eligible men and women stoke the flames of tear-stained conflict for a few weeks, before the show tries to narrow its focus to a true romantic connection (or, at least,… Continue Reading

The Olympic Branding Blackout

Posted in Advertising, Branding

Has there been a more constant presence at the Rio Olympics than #brands? I saw it everywhere, from the Polo-branded opening ceremony garb (met with the requisite outrage) to Michael Phelps’ “MP” branded swimwear (of questionable durability). So it came as a huge surprise to learn the Olympics has a very specific rule regarding branding – “Rule… Continue Reading