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Category Archives: Genericide

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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

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

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

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

Tonight We Tanqueray a Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Genericide, International, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

                  Diageo, the Tanqueray brand owner is currently running billboard ads in the Twin Cities as part of its “Tonight We Tanqueray” ad campaign. A couple of years back when the campaign first was announced, Diageo explained it this way: “One of the world’s most awarded gins, Tanqueray London Dry… 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

The IP in Twitter’s IPO

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Genericide, Marketing, Patents, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademarks

Barring any unforeseen setbacks, Wall Street is aflutter as Thursday marks the latest in social media IPOs – Twitter…and we all remember how well Facebook’s IPO went. Pricing for IPOs involves an assessment of the company’s assets (including its intellectual property portfolio), liabilities, and current and potential revenue.  As many of you savvy marketing folks… Continue Reading

The 140-Character Trademark Lesson

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Guest Bloggers, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademarks

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC When I think of Twitter, I think of — it’s really hard to define because we’re still coming up with the vocabulary — but I think it’s defined a new behavior that’s very different than what we’ve seen before. — Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-Founder in 2009 My, how… 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

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

Jell-O Revival From What?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Earlier this month E.J. Schultz of AdAge wrote about Kraft’s plan to revive Jell-O: “For Kraft Foods Group, J-E-L-L-O has spelled disappointment of late. The brand — once known for fun advertising starring the likes of Jack Benny and Bill Cosby — has struggled to find its identity in recent years, while marketing reductions have… Continue Reading

Anatomy of a Trademark Warning Ad

Posted in Advertising, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

For those attending the HOW Design Live Conference in San Fransisco, you may have noticed the inside cover of HOW’s Special Issue on Interactive Design and Typography, most likely penned by a nervous trademark type:                       Nervous, I say, because these types of advertisements frequently are designed to help… Continue Reading

Tie Goes to the Brand or Generic Name?

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

Boys baseball occupied a fair portion of my evenings last week and this past weekend, a game where almost everyone has at least heard: The tie goes to the runner (when it comes to running the bases anyway – because when it comes to the final score the game continues until someone wins, even if it takes twenty… Continue Reading

Putt-Putt Has No Miniature Trademark Rights

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademarks

With all the golf coverage of the Masters Tournament and the coveted Green Jacket, this past weekend, it seemed particularly appropriate to report on a recent trademark case involving the miniature variety of golf: Putt-Putt, LLC v. 416 Constant Friendship, LLC (April 5, 2013 D. Md.). So, I learned two things this weekend, Adam Scott… Continue Reading

Crushing a Perfectly Good Brand Name?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Remember how important it is to stay on the right side of the suggestive/descriptive line when it comes to making proper use of a brand name? We have cautioned about the danger of “taking a suggestive name, mark, or tag-line, and using it descriptively in a sentence on labels, packaging, ad copy, or the Internet,” because… Continue Reading

BAND-AID, TM Death by a Thousand Cuts?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, Truncation

If you were a Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage, and you were cut, would you protect yourself? Brent, sorry I couldn’t help myself, I’m still enjoying your Louis Vuitton waffle-maker post. With that intro, let’s turn another page to the Genericide Watch category, here at DuetsBlog: In focusing attention on the first item in the list shown above, to the… Continue Reading

The Not-So-Happy Place of Genericness

Posted in Articles, Food, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

Restaurant trade dress is possible to own when the claimed trade dress is distinctive and non-functional, think Taco Cabana. Restaurant trade dress can be so unique in the marketplace that distinctiveness is presumed with a finding of inherent distinctiveness. When not so obviously unique, distinctiveness also can be established with the more difficult proof of secondary meaning. Remember 1992? The… Continue Reading

The Soft Underbelly of Turtles Candy: Is the U.S. Trademark at Risk of Genericide?

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

It has been a while since we’ve added another page to the Genericide Watch, so a little trip to Candyland, the Twin Cities’ local iconic and old fashioned candy shop, didn’t disappoint: I suppose that Candyland’s ”Mock Turtles” sign is meant to communicate that it isn’t actually selling authentic Turtles brand pecan/caramel/chocolate candy from DeMet’s Candy Company. But, what does that imply about the Cashew Turtles, Pecan… Continue Reading

A Trademark Spinning Out of Control?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

With the upcoming 2012 presidential election, this is the time during our American political cycle where spinning is almost a sport — at least an expected activity. Puns intended, as you’ll see. Over the last several years, I’ve heard my wife speak about “spinning classes” at a local health club (mind you, not at the local political party caucuses) – so, a… Continue Reading

When is a ballpark frank a ball park BRAND frank?

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

Do you suppose the author of this article knows that Ball Park is a federally-registered brand name and trademark, not an unprotectable generic term synonymous with hot dogs and frankfurters? The growing prevalence of lower-case brand styles and visual identity has complicated the answer to this question a bit, I suspect. Nevertheless, we should probably chalk up another example for… Continue Reading