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Category Archives: SoapBox

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A Few Weekend Views and Brand Sighting(s)

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fashion, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, SoapBox, Trademarks

My daughter captured some artsy pics from our beautiful Fall weekend, can you guess where we were? I’ll give you three visual hints: Those clues weren’t all that helpful, I suppose, so how about these souvenirs and brand sighting? But, what brand sighting is this really, are there actually two here, one overlaid on the… Continue Reading

The Great Presidential (logo) Debate

Posted in Advertising, Branding, SoapBox, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, Truncation

The day has finally arrived – the beginning of 2016 presidential debate season!  The best reality TV showdown around!  Democrat or Republican, I don’t discriminate, political debates are probably the only fighting “sport” in a ring that I enjoy watching.  Fox finalized its debate card for the first debate of the season and, with the… Continue Reading

Trolling for an Inventive Method for Patent Enforcement

Posted in Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, USPTO

In the wake of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leaving their respective shows on Comedy Central for newer pastures, John Oliver has emerged as a new beacon of political humor and satire.  If you haven’t watched his show, and especially if you considered the former two as having an obvious political slant, you should check… Continue Reading

The NFL’s Super Bowl Trademark Nonsense

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s that time of year again. Time to tiptoe around and avoid use of or make any reference to the Super Bowl. Whoops. Anyway, we’ve discussed this phenomenon before: Insuring a Great Super Bowl Trademark Fight Fair Use of Super Bowl Trademark? Super (Bowl) Sunday, Ads Coming Soon Advertisers — fearful of NFL legal action… Continue Reading

We Prefer A More Subtle, Delicate Approach

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

For those of you who have been with us since the beginning of this wonderful collaboration of legal and marketing types, known as DuetsBlog, you also know we have a mascot dubbed Duey — he’s depicted in the squirrel graphic at the top of this page. Here is his story, as told by Aaron Keller… Continue Reading

TRENDING: Minnesota’s Midwestern “Identity Crisis”

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

–Ben Kwan, Attorney The usual suspects did it again Tuesday.  My Minnesota friends who, like me, tend to indulge in a bit too much Minnesota-centric navel gazing took high interest to a Minneapolis Star Tribune column that posed an interesting question: “Does Minnesota’s region have an identity crisis?”  My Facebook feed lit up with links… Continue Reading

The C-word and IP Rights

Posted in Almost Advice, Copyrights, Counterfeits, International, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Trademarks

No, not that c-word. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights involves a plethora of c-words:  copying, counterfeit, copyright, cease-and-desist, CIPO (the Canadian IP Office).   But the one I am referring to today is China. As the world becomes more interconnected and the global economic impact of China has significantly increased, intellectual property… Continue Reading

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

Posted in Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six “Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans. Thanks for your patience in waiting for my perspective on the subject — you know I’m thrilled if you know me well, if you know of my involvement in the… Continue Reading

(Just) the Right to Register a Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Every so often there is a moment when trademark types, marketing types and brand owners need to pay close attention to where the law could be headed. Today, I’m sounding the alarm. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to follow the advice it recently sought and received from the U.S. Solicitor General (SG) of the Department of Justice, those of… 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

What A Daughter Learned From Her Dad About Working in a “Mad Men” World

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

Today is Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which I thought was a lost day but apparently has been re-branded to the more gender-neutral “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”  Upon discovering that I happened to select this day for one of my blogposts during the year my dad retires, this post seemed… Continue Reading

Banksy, I Thought We Were Friends

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Idea Protection, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

I have blogged before about one of my favorite graffiti artists, Banksy. Recently there has been some buzz in the ad world about another provocative work attributed to him. It involves a well-known bottle and trademark that Steve has been posting about frequently over the past several weeks. Normally I would post an image of it here, but… Continue Reading


Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last week I stopped at a local wine and beer store to pick up a bottle of wine to bring to a friend’s dinner party (but also couldn’t resist purchasing a 4-pack of Surly’s Bitter Brewer. I had never seen it before, but highly recommend it). As I walked back to my car I noticed a pile of… Continue Reading

Uncomfortable Medical Advertisements

Posted in Advertising, Marketing, SoapBox

The colonoscopy has been the butt of jokes among medical procedures for a long time, but it is actually no laughing matter, as the Minnesota Department of Health’s Sage Scopes graphic billboard campaign reveals: Perhaps the thinking behind the uncomfortable spectacle ads is to put aside embarrassment of the topic with an in-your-face campaign designed to shock Minnesotans… Continue Reading

The Road Rules

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks

I’m a car aficionado, but in my opinion and without mincing words, car commercials are boring.  With few exceptions like the Young Vader ad from VW from the Super Bowl a few years ago, car commercials are stale and, more than any other genre, lack what I consider to be the “umami” of ads –… Continue Reading

Copyright Protection for Clothing Designs Unlikely to Pass in 2013

Posted in Copyrights, SoapBox

–Catlan McCurdy, Attorney Copycat dress from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (left) and Alexander McQueen dress (right) Warner Brothers certainly could have afforded to buy an authentic Alexander McQueen rather than copying. As the year draws to an end and newly elected members of Congress celebrate over mimosas this morning, I thought we’d check… Continue Reading

What Drives eCommerce? The Answers May Surprise You

Posted in Domain Names, Marketing, SoapBox, Social Networking

–Dan Kelly, Attorney A couple of weeks ago, Forrester Research issued a report called “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers in 2012.”  The report has a great deal of interesting information, two pieces of which underscore points I have hammered here for a while.  First, the report notes that “[d]irect traffic is critical to sales:”… Continue Reading

Where Did Spam Get Its Name?

Posted in SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

–Dan Kelly, Attorney I’m speaking of the e-mail variety of spam.  I had occasion recently to ask some tech-savvy folks if they knew the origin of the word “spam” as applied to voluminous, unwanted e-mail.  Most did not. I am aware that a few stories have been floated on the etymology of spam as applied… Continue Reading

Does the Trademark Office Need a Trademark Attorney?

Posted in Counterfeits, Infringement, SoapBox, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney A few times each year, clients will call or write and inquire about some official-looking correspondence they’ve received about a trademark registration or application.  That happened this week, and here’s the top portion of the official-looking correspondence (redacted): You can see the full page here.  If you read the fine print, this… Continue Reading