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Category Archives: False Advertising

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The World’s Healthiest Trademark Puffery

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, False Advertising, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Above the Law recently published a Techdirt story reporting that the USPTO denied Whole Foods‘ attempt to federally-register the laudatory trademark: “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store“. The Techdirt story incorrectly seems to suggest that the global nature of the phrase is what caused the application to be refused, since Whole Foods has not yet achieved a… Continue Reading

Another Pom Case

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, Food

No, this one isn’t about uniforms. The Supreme Court has refused to hear POM Wonderful’s appeal of FTC findings that claims in POM’s advertising were misleading. POM’s ads claimed that its juice could help prevent heart disease, prostate cancer, and erectile dysfunction. Unsurprisingly, the FTC thought that POM should have some proof of those claims… Continue Reading

Fictitious Versus Fake Branding

Posted in Advertising, Branding, False Advertising, Food, Guest Bloggers, International, Marketing, Taste

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Creating fictitious names for products is standard practice in many industries. Creating a brand that evokes a certain image or feeling is so commonplace that most of us don’t think twice about it. Consider Genova Tonno. In the Italian language, Genova is the city of Genoa, and Tonno is tuna…. Continue Reading

When Can You Show Real Fruit on a Package?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, False Advertising, Food, Marketing, Product Packaging

The short answer is, when it’s not false or misleading about the product inside the package. This past weekend, my daughter and I found ourselves in Costco, picking up some provisions, and this bag of non-provision somehow happened to land in our shopping cart: Almost protesting, based on a prior experience with Hershy’s Brookside dark… Continue Reading

LARPing with Patent Trolls

Posted in Counterfeits, Dilution, Fair Use, False Advertising, First Amendment, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology, Trademark Bullying

Live Action Role Playing (LARP or LARPing) usually involves Renaissance Festival worthy costumes, foam medieval weapons, and an intense dedication to not breaking character.  I can’t say I’ve ever had the privilege of participating in a LARP event, but I also can’t say I’d turn down the opportunity. A different kind of battle—the intellectual property… Continue Reading

Nominative Fair Use, as Illustrated by Colorful Balls

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, False Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks

If you watch any amount of T.V. or happened to catch either of the AFC or NFC Championship games last weekend, you’ve probably seen one of the recent cell phone carrier ball commercials. Initially, Verizon created this commercial, wherein a series of colorful balls rolling down a ramp are used to describe Verizon’s apparently superior… 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

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

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

Top Ten Questions About Rapala Minnocchio

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

In typical DuetsBlog tradition, here is Rapala’s 2015 billboard for the fishing opener, albeit a few weeks late: I’ll have to admit, I like the telescoped Minnocchio word, and the consistent graphic display from past years, but my head is feeling pretty wooden at the moment, so I need your help, because I’m totally stumped… 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

Is Tiffany Generic?

Posted in Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, Genericide, Law Suits, Sight, Trademarks

Genericide kills trademark rights.  It has been alleged that “Tiffany setting,” encompassing the famous TIFFANY mark owned by Tiffany and Company (“Tiffany”), is merely a generic term for a type of engagement ring. You may recall my DuetsBlog post regarding the lawsuit that Tiffany filed on Valentine’s Day against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) to protect… Continue Reading

Millions of False TM Notices to Remove?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, False Advertising, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

                A hot dog is a type of sandwich, and “footlong” denotes a type, category, or class of sandwiches (those measuring about a foot in length), making “footlong” a generic term and part of the public domain — incapable of serving as a trademark for any kind of sandwich. This is true despite Subway’s claimed… Continue Reading

Costco In Hot Water Again

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Sight, Trademarks

– Anjali Shankar, Attorney – Costco is in some hot water after being sued by Michael Kors. Michael Kors is alleging that Costco unlawfully used pictures of its luxury handbags to lure in customers when Costco did not have the authorization to actually sell the bags. The ad included an image of bags containing Michael Kors’… Continue Reading

My Namesake Sues To Protect Its Famous Mark

Posted in Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Sight, Trademarks

Coincidentally (or perhaps by design), Tiffany and Company (“Tiffany”) filed suit on Valentine’s Day against Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) to protect its trademark with respect to engagement rings.  We know from our prior post regarding Tiffany’s amicus brief filed in support of Christian Louboutin that Tiffany actively protects its brand. If you are like me,… Continue Reading

The Best DuetsBlog Post Ever

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, USPTO

–Susan Perera, Attorney You see it quite often, phrases like “The Best Car in America” or “America’s Favorite Restaurant” used in advertising.  The Trademark Office does not consider the truth of these statements when considering an application for such a trademark  (which could possibly run afoul with false advertising); instead it focuses on the laudatory… Continue Reading

FTC’s New Rules for Advertising Mobile Apps

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, False Advertising, International, Technology

The Federal Trade Commission has published guidelines for advertising mobile applications. In general, the guidelines incorporate the FTC’s policies on truthful advertising and data privacy. On the advertising side, if you make objective claims about your app, then you will need proof to support your claims. The proof necessary to support objective clams is competent… Continue Reading

Malarkey: Political Storytelling

Posted in Advertising, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts

Vice President Joe Biden recently revived popular use of the word “malarkey” or “malarky” — a word that essentially means “nonsense.” Our DuetsBlog friend Nancy Friedman, author of the award-winning Fritinancy Blog, covered “Malarkey” as the “Word of the Week” earlier this month. So, imagine my surprise to pass by a restaurant called Malarkys in Grand Rapids, Michigan this past weekend;… Continue Reading

Cosmeceuticals – When Advertising Catches the FDA’s Eye

Posted in Advertising, False Advertising, Marketing

–Susan Perera, Attorney Last week on Marketplace on NPR, there was an interesting story regarding a FDA crackdown on the beauty industry, particularly on cosmetic companies who have begun to market their cosmetic products using drug-like claims.  (Marketplace audio provided below.) The FDA appears to be concerned about these “cosmeceuticals” which do more than just… Continue Reading

Marketing 101: Knowing Your Audience

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Copyrights, False Advertising, International, Marketing, Patents, Trademarks

Blake Shelton is a brilliant marketer. Whether or not country music speaks to you, for anyone who attended his concert at the Minnesota State Fair this past weekend, it would be hard to deny the chemistry he perfected with his audience. I’ve never witnessed a better concert from the perspective of the storytelling used to lure and charm the audience, while at the… Continue Reading