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Category Archives: Non-Traditional Trademarks

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Mayhem: Ahem, Metaphorically Speaking

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Metaphors are a good choice for trademarks. A metaphor typically requires some thought, imagination or perception to understand the connection between the mark and what’s for sale. Remember what a floating feather might suggest metaphorically? Yes, a good night’s sleep. So, the symbol works well as a distinctive non-verbal trademark for a pharmaceutical sleep aid…. Continue Reading

When is a Flavor/Taste Trademark Possible?

Posted in Articles, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Taste, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Are your intellectual taste buds craving more discussion of non-traditional trademarks? It’s not every day we have the opportunity to write about a restaurant’s claimed trademark protection for the flavor or taste of certain food dishes and a restaurant’s claimed trade dress in the chef’s unique plating or visual presentation or appearance of certain food… Continue Reading

Gibson Guitar Facing 15 Trademark Opposers

Posted in Articles, Audio, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

A brand owner’s non-traditional trademark application will sometimes gain the critical attention of multiple direct competitors. Gibson Guitar’s unlucky number is apparently fifteen. Last Thursday, Gibson’s guitar configuration application shown to the right and below was opposed by far more competitors than it has strings on the above ebony Gibson ES-339 Studio Electric Guitar: U.S…. Continue Reading

Converse: Stomping Out Counterfeits through Int’l Trade Commission Proceedings

Posted in Articles, Counterfeits, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Earlier this week, Converse launched an all-out offensive to combat what it considers counterfeit and knock-off versions of its Chuck Taylor All-Star line of sneakers. Reports peg the number as at least 22 separate lawsuits against more than 30 companies, both in district court and at the International Trade Commission (the “ITC”). The defendants read… Continue Reading

Bottega Veneta Unties a Trademark Knot

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, International, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

It is easy for some to get all tied up in knots at the USPTO when facing challenging grounds for refusal against federal registration of a claimed non-traditional trademark. Not Bottega Veneta. Last week the Swiss-owned fashion house and luxury brand was able to persuade the USPTO to approve for publication the three dimensional knot… Continue Reading

Star Wars: Redefining Trademark and Copyright Law Since A Long Time Ago

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Social Media, Sound, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

The Star Wars series is truly an exceptional franchise, having broken box office records, creating legions of fans, and bringing the idea of collateral merchandise licensing to an unprecedented level. Also, how many other films are top hits at the box office in three different decades, even when all you’ve done is add a few… Continue Reading

iOS 8: Bigger, faster, but still not a valid trademark (yet)

Posted in Fair Use, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

Although the iPhone 6 was the headliner, Apple’s release of iOS 8 was a respectable supporting act. Unfortunately though, the negative headlines keep coming in as poor performance reviews have kept more than half of Apple users from downloading the new operating system (your dear author included among them). Apple received some additional bad news… Continue Reading

Would Benefit Corporations Benefit from Some Trademark Clarity?

Posted in Genericide, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, Truncation

- Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC A benefit corporation is the term used when a company is created under corporate law and should not be confused with a “B Corp,” which refers to a company that is certified by B Lab to meet specific standards for social and environmental performance. Why Consider a Benefit… Continue Reading

When it Feels Like “Look For” Advertising, How About a Little Follow-through?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

As we head into the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with a Culver’s ad that feels like “look for” advertising: We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the topic of how “look for” advertising greatly enhances a brand owner’s ability to federally register non-traditional trademarks. Now, if Culver’s would only follow-through and seek… Continue Reading

Will Montana-Based Victory Energize Win Its “Trademark Bully” Charge Against Monster?

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

Last week more allegations of “trademark bullying” appeared in the headlines. This time, Victory Energize, an energy drink company based in Missoula, Montana, is calling out Monster Energy for sending a cease and desist letter to Victory. Monster’s demand letter is said to charge Victory with infringement of Monster’s distinctive trade dress. So, what say you?… Continue Reading

Blue 42. Set. Trademark! I mean, Hike!

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Touch, Trademarks, USPTO

Can you feel it? All around the country, fields are being groomed, stenciled, and painted. Tonight, the college football season begins with Georgia State taking on Abilene Christian in what could be a preview of one of hundreds of games that most of us don’t really care about. But like so many fans around the country, I’ll… Continue Reading

I’m Gumby Dammit — A Flexible Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

The Minnesota History Center is currently promoting its Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit — my favorite promotional billboard is the one captured above, featuring none other than Gumby. I can still remember my Gumby toy and watching the Gumby Show as a young child along with the Davey & Goliath television series, both… Continue Reading

A Window into the Future for Apple’s Trade Dress?

Posted in Branding, Idea Protection, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks, shown below: (Each image links to the corresponding application on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO). Spoiler alert: This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various… Continue Reading

Harley-Davidson Booze Coming Soon?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

With the 74th Anniversary of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally less than a week away, it seemed like a good time to check in on recent Harley-Davidson trademark activity at the USPTO. As it turns out, a very interesting intent-to-use trademark application was filed just two weeks ago, seeking federal registration of the world-famous HARLEY-DAVIDSON word mark… Continue Reading

This Little Piggy Went to the Trademark Office…

Posted in Articles, Fair Use, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sound, Trademarks, USPTO

When was the last time you thought about pigs? What do you think when you hear the word “pigs?” Or an OINK OINK noise? Or what about the angelic and oh-so-American, “SOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEYY!”? Well, the University of Arkansas contends that you’re probably thinking about the Arkansas Razorback sport teams. And they convinced the U.S. Patent and Trademark… Continue Reading

Description of a Trademark with the USPTO

Posted in Articles, Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Continuing our discussion — from yesterday and the day before – about the description of a mark provided to the USPTO during the registration process, the below images from two unrelated federally-registered, non-verbal logos for banking services, help tell another related story:                       As the links… Continue Reading

Pepsi Gets Grip on MLB All-Star Extravaganza

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

How cool is it to have the MLB All-Star Game and related events, right here in Minneapolis? Very. As the advertisement shows, Pepsi is playing a large role in the event, as the “Official Soft Drink” of the MLB All-Star Game. As attractive as the ad is, sadly, I suspect that only trademark types and… Continue Reading

Apple’s Word Count for Non-Verbal Branding

Posted in Articles, Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

A picture is said to say a thousand words, and ironically that is almost literally and exactly true when it comes to Apple’s focus on non-verbal icon branding. A week before the 4th of July, Apple filed these three non-verbal trademark applications: Clicking on each will take you to the detailed USPTO information for each application,… Continue Reading

Gia Nother Wine Bottle Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, International, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Combing through the USPTO’s recently approved non-verbal trademark registrations revealed this little gem with Francis Ford Coppola’s name on the label (but not claimed as part of the mark): Here is the USPTO drawing on the left, showing the claimed mark without any words or colors: So, besides claiming a broader scope of rights in… Continue Reading

Owning a New Look Through Advertisements

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the importance of “look for” advertising when a brand owner wants to legally own a non-traditional trademark like a single color, or perhaps the shape of a product, or even product packaging or containers, among other potential non-traditional marks. So, when I discovered three billboard ads within… Continue Reading

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions: Is there any doubt that the automobile depicted in the Costco advertisement is a Corvette Stingray? If so, HiConsumption should resolve any lingering questions. How did… Continue Reading

Eat More Walleye?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s that time of year again, the Minnesota fishing opener is upon us this weekend, so Rapala is sporting its new billboard in the Twin Cities metro area, as shown below: “Winner, winner, walleye dinner,” is an obvious play on the far more frequently uttered “winner, winner, chicken dinner” positive outcome phrase, that apparently derives from early casino… Continue Reading

Calling Non-Traditional Trademarks By Name

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

Things that are worth talking about need names. Good, distinctive names are best. As you may recall, last year we wrote this about non-verbal logos needing names: “Marketing types, when brand owners operate in the world of non-verbal logos, isn’t spreading the news by word of mouth more difficult without a word to bring the image… Continue Reading