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Category Archives: Squirrelly Thoughts

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For Trademark Demand Letters, Every Letter Counts

Posted in Food, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Taste, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It has not been a great week for oatmeal. The Quaker Oats Company (a subsidiary of food and beverage giant PepsiCo), on the heels of a recall for its Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars, has also made a rather embarrassing gaffe on the trademark enforcement front. And unfortunately, demand letters are far more difficult to recall. Evidently, an in-house trademark attorney at… Continue Reading

Apple’s Quest for the “Ownable” Mark

Posted in Articles, Marketing, Social Networking, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Trademarks

No company’s branding strategy is studied more meticulously than Apple, Inc.’s — and of late, Apple has taken a turn for the descriptive with its various operating systems. Every company wants its brands to be distinctive — and the arbitrary APPLE mark is among the most well-known. But its new operating system naming strategy has relied… Continue Reading

Is BETTER BURGER a Done Deal for Chipotle?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Idea Protection, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

When it comes to a big company’s trademark filings, the publicly available and freely searchable Trademark Office database can provide great fodder for the media. But don’t believe everything you read: an intent-to-use trademark application is far from gospel. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. stoked the flames of speculation with an application for the mark BETTER BURGER earlier… Continue Reading

The March Madness Road Trip Returns

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

It’s that wonderful time of year again, March Madness! When families, friends, and coworkers all get together to casually gamble and all throw $10 into a pool. When 12’s beat 5’s and mess up your bracket. When you lose one game and are sent packing. The few weeks when “Cinderella” is uttered most throughout the… Continue Reading

Scandalous and Disparaging Marks: The Race to the Trademark Office Is On

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Idea Protection, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Owners of scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks are on notice: now is the time to place your $275 bet with the USPTO. And soon, the Trademark Office database may be “NSFW.” Last Thursday, the USPTO issued Examination Guide 01-16 to address the impact of recent federal court decisions on Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act. That section prohibits registration of… Continue Reading

Yes, No, and the Ever Confusing Maybe . . .

Posted in Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Yes and no are at opposite ends of the spectrum. North Pole, South Pole. Night and day. Win, loss. Black, white. Available, unavailable. Protectable, unprotectable. Infringing, non-infringing. They represent a binary proposition, like a traditional light switch with two settings: on and off. My daughter loves the yes end of the spectrum; no, not so… Continue Reading

Rethinking Our Professions, and Unlocking New Value for Businesses

Posted in Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

– Jason Sprenger – President, Game Changer Communications “Ummm…you’re those people who get their clients in the newspaper?” “Oh yeah, you guys throw some great parties!” “You’re the pros who people call when they’re in trouble and they need to make it all go away.” “Huh?  You do advertising, right?” Believe it or not, these… Continue Reading

The Internet of Names: CES Round-Up

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts

– Laurel Sutton, Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development CES 2016 (January 6-9, 2016) has come and gone, and, as always, offered up a rich selection of new product and company names for analysis (and occasional mockery). Questionable name choices for “innovative” products pop up every day, but only at CES are… Continue Reading

Detroit Lions Trademark “Defend the Den”

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

The Detroit Lions have registered the phrase Defend the Den. This is part of what appears to be a growing movement in college and professional sports to trademark common or more particular phrases used at their sporting events. The Seahawks have been registering just about everything it can that deals with the number 12 –… Continue Reading

“Oh, no: Beta!”

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Television

As we gather with family and friends to give thanks this holiday here in the U.S., let’s look back and think of those that won’t be with us at the Thanksgiving dinner table. For me, BETAMAX comes to mind. What’s that, you say? BETAMAX, the video cassette format that unsuccessfully battled VHS in the 1980s, has… Continue Reading

Hawking a New Mascot

Posted in Branding, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

The big mascot news over the past year has been in the NFL, as Washington fights to maintain its registrations for the REDSKINS mark. As that dispute continues, the University of North Dakota tried to put to rest its longstanding issues regarding its previous use of the name “The Fighting Sioux.” In 2012, UND dropped… Continue Reading

Peeple who need people

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

– Laurel Sutton, Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development In late September of 2015, tech media worked itself into a frenzy about the launch of an app called Peeple, which was supposed to give everyone the opportunity to rate and review every person you know. “People do so much research when they… Continue Reading

Orwellian Enforcement of Orwellian Copyright?

Posted in Advertising, Copyrights, False Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology

George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 would describe this situation as “doubleplusungood.” Josh Hadley, an internet radio host and a self-described “harsh film critic with no sense of subtlety or tact,” recently met the ire of Orwell’s estate when he used CafePress to create a t-shirt design with the text “1984 Is Already Here” emblazoned over tattered movie posters…. Continue Reading

The Clinton Trademark Clause?

Posted in Famous Marks, Infringement, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

At this early stage in the 2016 election cycle, it’s difficult to predict much of anything, but if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and, ultimately, the presidency, I can say for certain it will have an unprecedented effect on a lesser-known quirk of trademark law. Many practitioners and laypersons are familiar with the provisions… Continue Reading

“Feel the Bern” and Other Questionable Campaign Slogans

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

– Laurel Sutton, Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development As Americans are all aware, the presidential campaigns are in full swing, more than a year before the actual election. (There are also holiday decorations for sale in Costco, months before the holiday season. We just can’t wait for some things, I guess.)… Continue Reading

Apple Takes Us Back to PENCIL and PAPER

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

If you are a member of the Cult of Apple, like tech, or even just watch the news, you’re probably aware that yesterday was Apple’s big fall event where they announce new product launches and updates.  The event showcased a new iPhone with enhanced photo features (as this Wired article aptly puts it “Because selfies.”),… 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

“Of All Time”

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Those three words are pretty bold, especially when we’ve only been around just over 6 years: “‘Of all time’ is used to make a comparison, stating that something is the best throughout the ages.” We’re pleased to report that DuetsBlog continues to be recognized as one of the top twenty-five intellectual property law blogs “of… Continue Reading

Learning from Goalkeeping

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

James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Ken Dryden, Hall of Fame goalkeeper for the Montreal Canadiens, recently wrote a piece in The Wall Street Journal about Carey Price, the current Canadiens goalkeeper. In describing how good Price is and his style of keeping, Dryden wrote: “Price makes every save look easy. On a shot to the… Continue Reading

A Naked Attempt at Trademark Association

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

– John Reinan, a Minneapolis journalist and recovering marketer When news broke a couple months ago that the “gentlemen’s club” Spearmint Rhino would be opening a downtown Minneapolis branch on Hennepin Avenue, I joked on Twitter that I should open a club down the street and call it Menthol Hippo. OK, so I’m not really… Continue Reading

Top Ten Questions About Rapala Minnocchio

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, False Advertising, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

In typical DuetsBlog tradition, here is Rapala’s 2015 billboard for the fishing opener, albeit a few weeks late: I’ll have to admit, I like the telescoped Minnocchio word, and the consistent graphic display from past years, but my head is feeling pretty wooden at the moment, so I need your help, because I’m totally stumped… Continue Reading

YourBrand.sucks — Unless You Act Now!

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Domain Names, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

As the INTA Annual Meeting winds down, one memory for me that certainly stuck out was an on-site ad campaign revolving around the new “.sucks” top-level domain (“TLD”). Depending on whom you ask, it’s either ingenious or diabolical. Just outside the San Diego Convention Center, the throngs of orange lanyard-wearing conference attendees were greeted by… Continue Reading