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Category Archives: Mixed Bag of Nuts

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Dubious Patent Trolls and a Crowdfunded Infringement Defense

Posted in Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents

We’ve spent time discussing the patent troll phenomenon in the past.  Patent trolls are less pejoratively referred to as non-practicing entities, because they do not make or use the inventions covered by their patents.  Instead, these non-practicing entities operate by purchasing patents on various technologies, accusing companies of infringing those patents, and demanding the companies… Continue Reading

Change Your Name Already!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Domain Names, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, SoapBox

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development I sometimes get asked by prospective clients if they should change their name, and I help them evaluate if a change is necessary. But sometimes there are stubborn companies who persist in marketing a name that is not right. Overstock.com is a prime example of this behavior. In early… Continue Reading

Trademark Butter Battle: Kerrygold v. Irishgold

Posted in Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

You’ve probably heard of and/or eaten Kerrygold® Pure Irish Butter, a deliciously popular (but higher-priced) butter imported from Ireland, made with milk from grass-fed cows. It’s available in most stores across the United States…except for Wisconsin. Sorry to all my Wisconsin friends, you’re missing out. However, the butter is so popular that there have been… Continue Reading

The 50% Solution

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Squirrelly Thoughts

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Years ago, I was washing my hands in the office men’s room. Next to me was a wheelchair-bound guy washing his at the appropriately lower sink. I was thinking that the lower sink was a good idea when I noticed that the paper towel dispensers were all at “regular” height…. Continue Reading

Mars – Helping You Work, Rest & Play (and improve blood circulation?)

Posted in Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

While browsing my daily trademark news and digesting some recent chocolate-related trademark litigation, to be discussed below, I happened upon some interesting discussions and histories of slogans for candy, including in particular, the MARS® chocolate bar. Back in 1960, Mars Inc. debuted its slogan for the MARS® chocolate bar: “A Mars a Day, Helps You Work,… Continue Reading

April Thanksgiving for Ron’s March Accolades

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

Imagine my surprise as I was scanning some recent posts from some of the leading IP blogs — multitasking while watching the Zags beat South Carolina on Saturday evening — to find my brand name in the title of Ron Coleman’s recent post on his famous Likelihood of Confusion blog: “Steve Baird makes trademark blogging… Continue Reading

Celebrity Trademark Battle: “The Kitchen”

Posted in Genericide, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

World-famous chef Wolfgang Puck recently became embroiled in a trademark battle with Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal Musk, a venture capitalist and entrepreneur who owns The Kitchen Cafe, a family of restaurants in Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver, Glendale, and Chicago. Puck has opened new restaurants with the names “The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck” and “The Kitchen Counter… Continue Reading

Patriots Granted Registrations for “Perfect Season” That Never Was

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Regardless of which team you were rooting for, this year’s Super Bowl (a/k/a the Big Game) was an exciting one to watch, with the Patriots making a surprising comeback in the second half, racking up 31 consecutive points to overcome the Falcons 28-3 lead. A number of records were made this year, including the first overtime… Continue Reading

A Tipping Point For Super Bowl Advertisements?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Social Media, Television

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development I was largely unimpressed with the crop of Super Bowl ads this year. It seemed to me that advertisers have chased “form over function” and have forgotten that when you spend $5 million for a 30-second ad you should probably sell some product to offset that cost. There were… Continue Reading

Fictional restaurant wins trademark battle: The Krusty Krab

Posted in Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? If you know the answer to that theme-song question, you’ve probably seen, or at least heard of, the popular cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. It is one of the highest-rated and most-watched animated series to air on television. Many of us, myself included, grew up watching it on Nickelodeon since the early 2000s (or… Continue Reading

Boldly Going Where no Fanfic has Gone Before

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Fanfiction refers to the art of creating fiction using another author’s characters or universe.  I was first introduced to the concept in high school, when a friend began writing Harry Potter fanfiction.  (Side note: this is not one of those situations where the “friend” is actually me.)  My friend used the same well-known characters—Harry, Hermione,… Continue Reading

When Less is More

Posted in Advertising, AlphaWatch, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, Truncation

Love the simplicity and honesty of this sign, captured on vacation, in a cozy crepe spot (had to get out of my chair and walk across the dining room to read the smaller print, well worth the steps): As Seth recently noted, there can be room for improvement when it comes to making signs (we… Continue Reading

What’s in a name? Registration obtained for “Johnny Hockey”

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Applying for a federal trademark registration for a name or nickname can be tricky business.  For example, the registration of a mark is prohibited if it is “primarily merely a surname,” meaning that the primary significance of the mark to the public is a surname (such as “Johnson”), unless there is a showing of acquired distinctiveness. See TMEP §§ 1211, 1211.01-.02.  By… Continue Reading

Who’s Watching (What) You Create?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

This past weekend, with what appears to be our first lasting snowfall, I enjoyed following my daughter around the chilly alleys of downtown Minneapolis while she created for her photography class. As you can see from the moment I captured, she inspired me to create a bit too. Thankfully I’m not being graded for my… Continue Reading

Just Wait Until the USPTO Lays Its Hands on These Single and Dual Color TM Applications

Posted in Articles, Branding, FDA Approval, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

              Back in 2009, we wrote about what was then Kimberly Clark’s pair of single color purple trademark registrations in connection with “gloves for medical and surgical uses” and “disposable nitrile gloves for general use,” now owned by Avent and sold under the HALYARD brand: Those registrations are still… Continue Reading

ADD A ZERO v. ADIZERO

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The long running trademark dispute between Adidas and a church in Illinois just had a decision handed down by a federal appeals court. Adidas thought it could outrun a church in Zion Illinois, but it appears that they miscalculated the church’s endurance. In 2009, Adidas applied to register the ADIZERO mark for athletic apparel. Unfortunately… Continue Reading

The v. Any

Posted in Articles, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts

When it is clear that you need to take responsibility for an obvious inconvenience, it is far better to own “the” inconvenience than apologize for “any” inconvenience, bravo RBC Plaza: As legal types know full well, “any” leaves a wide open possibility of there actually being “none” — after all, “zero” is still a number…. Continue Reading

Does (Real) Life Imitate (Video Game) Art?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The cause and effect relationship between art and culture has been a long-debated topic.  Does art depict what actually exists in our culture, or does the art dictate what exists.  It’s a classic chicken/egg debate.   And this ongoing debate occasionally rears its head in the video game space in the form of criticisms, and even lawsuits,… Continue Reading

Such a Nasty Trademark

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

After the last presidential debate, the Republican nominee’s “such a nasty woman” utterance led to somewhat of a rallying cry.  Within minutes, #Nastywoman was trending across social media, and streaming of Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” spiked 250% on Spotify. While many debated the societal and political implications of the comment, a few enterprising individuals recognized a… Continue Reading

Cubs – The Brand

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

As I write this, the Cubs are getting ready for game six of the World Series. It’s win or go home for the Cubs, who are undoubtedly hoping to force a game seven on Wednesday. They are undoubtedly hoping to win game seven as well. For those that aren’t aware, the Cubs were last in… Continue Reading

Wahoo: Non-Verbal Equivalent of Racial Slur

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

The Cleveland Indian’s loss last evening in the World Series ensures that Chief Wahoo will not end the 2016 MLB season at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, but instead Cleveland’s Progressive Field: I’ve written before about how the Wahoo logo is the non-verbal equivalent of a racial slur and about the severe irony in Wahoo’s grotesque racist… Continue Reading