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Category Archives: SoapBox

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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

Redefining a Trademark Bully?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, False Advertising, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink discussing the trademark bullying topic, going all the way back to my original blog post from 2010: ”The Mark of a Real Trademark Bully.” Within the last several days, there has been quite a bit of online media coverage about Trademarkia’s new features that tout an ability to “Find… Continue Reading

The World is Full of Scam Artists

Posted in Counterfeits, Infringement, SoapBox

–Dan Kelly, Attorney On a regular basis, we receive inquiries from clients about IP-related solicitations that they receive from third parties relating to things like renewing trademark registrations and domain names.  Typical solicitations are one-pagers with a patina of legitimacy, referencing a particular IP asset, the owner, then usually ending with the punch line of requesting… Continue Reading

“Powerful” Rebranding at International Trademark Association?

Posted in Branding, Marketing, SoapBox, Social Networking, Squirrelly Thoughts

–Dan Kelly, Attorney The International Trademark Association, known as INTA, unveiled a new website yesterday with some new branding and features.  (Presser here, INTA Bulletin announcement here.)  I like the overall design of the website itself.  If you ignore the flipping blocks (which can be difficult), the site has a fairly clean and simple appearance. … Continue Reading

A Study On Omitted-Letter Domain Name Typos

Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Famous Marks, Loss of Rights, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney In the past on these pages, I have been hard on Apple Inc. for apparent missteps in securing trademark rights to some of its more well-known products (iPhone, iPad).  Last week, Apple landed a victory on the domain name front, winning a Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Procedure (“UDRP”) decision for the… Continue Reading

J.D. Waffler: The Art of Taking a Position

Posted in SoapBox, Trademarks

Would it surprise you to learn that not all trademark types are created equal? I didn’t think so. Like any profession, some of the professionals are better and more gifted than others. A few are much better. And, if bell curves have any application here, a few are much worse too. In the inaugural post for DuetsBlog,… Continue Reading

Retiring the Fighting Sioux Nickname and Imagery

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney Last week, the North Dakota Supreme Court issued an opinion in a suit relating to the University of North Dakota’s use of the name FIGHTING SIOUX and related imagery.  This opinion was the latest installment in a long-running matter, the history of which I will not get into in detail–the opinion recites most of… Continue Reading

The Rise and Fall of Online Social Networks?

Posted in Advertising, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Social Networking

–Dan Kelly, Attorney Four weeks ago, I blogged about FaceBook’s ill-advised move to allow unique username URLs.  Some time between then and now, FaceBook removed the page where trademark owners could defensively register their marks to prevent others from choosing such marks as user names.  Now, a rights holder’s only recourse is to submit this… Continue Reading

New gTLDs: Internet Chaos?

Posted in Domain Names, SoapBox

–Dan Kelly, Attorney I am earnestly trying to reserve judgment on the prospect that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (“ICANN” — the proverbial “man behind the curtain” of the Internet) is actually going to go through with its roll out of opening new generic top-level domains (“gTLDs“) to anyone (a TLD is… Continue Reading

Dr. No and the Parade of Horribles

Posted in SoapBox

Dr. No is not only the name of a famous James Bond film, it is the would-be trademark of a dietary supplement company located in San Francisco, it describes a certain kind of politician, and most importantly, for purposes of this inaugural post for Duets Blog, it describes a certain brand of intellectual property lawyer…. Continue Reading