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Category Archives: Food

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Why “Hours of Energy Now”?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Tim, after shopping at Costco over the weekend, the reason why the 5-Hour Energy folks seem so interested in owning “Hours of Energy Now” became more apparent: Does Costco’s Kirkland brand energy drink packaging specimen demonstrate trademark use of the phrase “Hours of Energy Now!” better than those provided by the 5-Hour Energy folks?  

Hours of Energy, But No Trademark Registration

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

The energy drink businesses is big, big business. From Red Bull and Monster to that strange 35 ounce purple can that you saw in a gas station once, consumers love energy drinks. Along with Red Bull and Monster, 5-Hour Energy is one of the most successful and recognizable brands. Innovation Ventures, LLC, the owner of the… Continue Reading

Ola Crapola!

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

Crapola sounds like something worth saying on the way to Chicago, after discovering the size of your PowerPoint file is too large to get through the recipient’s firewall, and then realizing the USB flash drive containing your inspiring presentation to FUSE conference attendees remains on your desk back in Minneapolis. Perhaps an even stronger word might be appropriate, if… Continue Reading

Anticipation . . . But, Heinz is Not Keeping Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup Waiting

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Last month Heinz, a brand “synonymous with ketchup throughout the world,” and a seller of “650 million bottles of Heinz ketchup each year,” brought a federal trademark infringement and dilution lawsuit in Texas to enforce exclusive rights in the “famous” Heinz bottle design against Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup brand. Here is the Complaint and Exhibits A, B, C,… Continue Reading

Trying Something New

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

- Susan Hopp, Partner, 45 Degrees/Minneapolis I recently stopped at Shuang Hur Oriental Market (my go-to store for Vietnamese coffee) on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, and came away with an interesting branding experience. As I passed the fresh meat counter with pork hooves and other un-named animal parts, I was reminded that I’m not their… Continue Reading

Packaging that Kills (a Trademark)

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB

Killer packaging is a good thing. It can increase sales and establish a stronger emotional bond between the consumer and the product brand. The current packaging of Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps pretzel crackers might qualify as killer, but a long-anticipated and important trademark decision issued last Friday relied on an earlier version of the product packaging… Continue Reading

Inventing a Generic Category Name

Posted in Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

MillerCoors is currently running this Lite Beer ad, promoting the limited edition original can, and taking credit for inventing the light beer category, way back in 1973. It is a great reminder that despite Miller’s determined and long-protracted litigation over its attempt to own the word LITE as a trademark for beer, in the end, it was… Continue Reading

Bungle in the Beer Tapper Jungle?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Counterfeits, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

The Sports Bar in the Mirage Resort & Casino, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, is currently sporting a pretty interesting collection of tap beers, from left to right: Bud Light, Goose Island Honker’s Ale, Stella Artois, Heineken, Dos Equis, Pacifico, Shock Top, Newcastle, Samuel Adams, Budweiser, Goose Island Indian Pale Ale, and Michelob Ultra. What really caught… Continue Reading

Crisps = Chips = Crackers?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Seeing these on the store shelf this weekend reminded me that we are still anxiously awaiting the USPTO’s decision from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) as to whether the words “pretzel crisps” will be found generic for “pretzel crackers” –basically, a public domain category or class of goods term, in the same way that “footlong”… Continue Reading

Coffee is for Closers, Not for Brewers

Posted in Famous Marks, Food, Genericide, Infringement, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

When life gives you a cease and desist letter, make lemonade. Or, depending on your profession, maybe some beer. That’s what Jeff Britton, owner of the Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Cottleville, Missouri chose to do after receiving a cease and desist letter on behalf of Starbucks. The owner penned a humorous response that… Continue Reading

Handcrafted Intellectual Property in 2014

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks

What best describes your work? Inexpensive? Cost effective? Robotic? Low budget? High volume? Or, do you deliver excellence — unique, distinctive, valuable, sculpted, tailored, and handmade  solutions with your wealth of professional skill and expertise? If your main focus is on delivering the lowest possible cost, you best be selling a commodity. Creating and protecting valuable intellectual property… Continue Reading

Nuts About Nuts?

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Trademarks

- Brent Carlson-Lee I’m a huge supporter of the growing food entrepreneur community in Minnesota, and am amazed by the number of the great products that are now on shelves in grocery stores and co-ops across the country. Bee Free Honee, an all-natural, plant-based honey substitute. Seven Sundays, an all-natural gourmet muesli. Philia Foods, a… Continue Reading

iPhooey?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

Apparently iPho by Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is quite good. The logo design is eye-popping, and dare I say clever, but does it cross one of the many legal intellectual property lines? We can all agree as to the source of the “inspiration” for this visual identity, right? Our little friend… Continue Reading

Had Your Charbucks This Morning?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

- Anjali Shankar, Attorney – Annie Clark and her husband, Jim, own a mom-and-pop shop called Black Bear Micro Roastery in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire.  Black Bear introduced its Charbucks blend in 1997, which is a dark roast coffee.  In 2001, Black Bear was sued in federal district court in New York by Starbucks. Starbucks argued… Continue Reading

The Champagne of Trademark Disputes

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, International, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Wine connoisseurs have been pairing food with their wines for  centuries (okay, I’m guessing here, but it is probably a long time), paying close attention to all of the subtleties of the flavor, hints of oak, acidity, and other features. With the explosion of craft beers in the United States, we can now do the… Continue Reading

Breaking Bad News for Breaking Bad Fans

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television, Trademarks

When I was eight I had a perfect plan to create a multi-million dollar business: a company that sold pet turtle kits that came with miniature nunchucks, swords, and ninja costumes. Back then though it was more difficult to tap into Angel networks and, although great friends, my core group of investors unfortunately turned out to… Continue Reading

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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

We continue to anxiously await the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in Frito-Lay North America, Inc. v. Princeton Vanguard, LLC, especially given the Board’s recent genericness ruling in Sheetz of Delaware, Inc. v. Doctor’s Associates, Inc., finding FOOTLONG generic for “sandwiches, excluding hot dogs.” The question at issue in Frito-Lay’s trademark challenge to registration by… Continue Reading

Greekwashing

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

- Brent Carlson-Lee You may be familiar with the term greenwashing, a form of spin in which claims are made (perhaps deceptively) to promote the perception that an organization’s products or services are environmentally friendly. You may be less familiar with the term Greekwashing. Perhaps because I just made it up (or so I believe)…. Continue Reading

Is Your Brand All About What It’s Not?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Good homemade mac-n-cheese dishes are a real weakness for me, so this past weekend I couldn’t resist capturing this image from a local restaurant menu: Although our daughter wasn’t with us for this particular experience, I couldn’t help being amused by the “not kraft mac n cheese” menu item, as she has been probing a wide variety of waitstaff for years about… 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

If You Want to Go Fast, You Don’t Have Time for Trademark Law.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

If you’re not first, you’re last. Rick’s Cabaret was the first to open a restaurant with the name Ricky Bobby – but will Sony Pictures have the last laugh? Let’s get the background first. In the movie Talladega Nights, Will Ferrell played Ricky Bobby, a successful race car driver who just “wants to go fast.”… Continue Reading