DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Descriptive Names

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

Handcrafted Intellectual Property in 2014

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks

What best describes your work? Inexpensive? Cost effective? Robotic? Low budget? High volume? Or, do you deliver excellence — unique, distinctive, valuable, sculpted, tailored, and handmade  solutions with your wealth of professional skill and expertise? If your main focus is on delivering the lowest possible cost, you best be selling a commodity. Creating and protecting valuable intellectual property… Continue Reading

Millions of False TM Notices to Remove?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, False Advertising, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

                A hot dog is a type of sandwich, and “footlong” denotes a type, category, or class of sandwiches (those measuring about a foot in length), making “footlong” a generic term and part of the public domain — incapable of serving as a trademark for any kind of sandwich. This is true despite Subway’s claimed… Continue Reading

Messin’ With Google

Posted in Advertising, Genericide, Law Suits, Marketing, Search Engines, Television, Trademarks

What does Google have in common with Sasquatch? Well, perhaps one possible point of similarity is that if you mess with either, you might get yourself seriously messed up in the process. With respect to the defensive power of Sasquatch, a local Wisconsin business success story, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, has gotten much notoriety with its series of hilarious 30-second television… Continue Reading

Trademark Bully Baloney?

Posted in Branding, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

In the wake of all the discussion and debate over “trademark bullying,” NFIB (National Federation of Independent Businesses), the self-proclaimed Voice of Small Business, recently offered its members and followers “5 Steps to Avoid Corporate Trademark Bullying“: Do Your Homework; Choose a Descriptive Business Name; Use Common Sense; Consider Buying Intellectual Property Insurance; and When in Doubt,… Continue Reading

Taking Branding Cues from Q in the Single-Letter Trademark Queue

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, Truncation

Welcome to another edition of AlphaWatch (the next one in our queue), where we explore the reach of single-letter trademarks, this time focusing on the letter Q and the single-letter branding cues it might suggest to consumers: Are you able to name the un-truncated version of this single-letter mark and brand? My daughter could. The answer is… Continue Reading

Seth Godin on Subtlety: The Trademark Perspective

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

Seth Godin’s recent post entitled Subtlety, deconstructed, struck a chord with me, and should strike a chord with all trademark types and the brand owners they represent. Here is my favorite excerpt: Subtle design and messaging challenge the user to make her own connections instead of spelling out every detail. Connections we make are more powerful than… Continue Reading

Pizza Branding Goes Back to the Basics

Posted in Branding, Food, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Trademarks

Guest Blogger Anthony Shore of Operative Words, recently wrote about the naming pendulum swinging away from arbitrary names and back toward brand names having an honest, straightforward, and even humble quality, in Truth is Stronger Than Fiction. Another way of saying it might be: naming is going back to the basics. I recently came across a good example… Continue Reading

Texas Toasted? How to Slice the Trademark Spectrum of Distinctiveness

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

  v.      Texas Toast is the generic name for a type of bread, you know, the big thick double-cut slices. Anyone can call their bread Texas Toast if that is what they are selling, and, by the way, it doesn’t have to be toasted for the name to fit. But, what if you’re selling a product made from bread, say, croutons?… Continue Reading

Another Marketing Pitfall: How to Crush a Smashing Brand Name & Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Last week we blogged about the dreaded D-Word and how some marketers unwittingly undermine trademark rights in a brand name by explaining that the name "describes" or is "descriptive" of the goods or services sold under the brand. We also have blogged about the danger of "taking a suggestive name, mark, or tag-line, and using it descriptively in… Continue Reading

What a Crock, Pot That Is . . .

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Law Suits, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

We’re not talking the foamed footwear Crocs® that Randall Hull wrote about in his What a Croc! post from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, we’re talking slow cookers — on this snow-capped Valentine’s Day in the Twin Cities. Every once in a while a stroll down the grocery store aisle leaves me surprised when… Continue Reading

The D-Word: What Ever You Do, Don’t “Describe” Your Brand!

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Frequently brand owners find themselves in the position of wanting or needing to explain the thinking behind their name, mark, and/or brand. Sometimes the explanations appear publicly on product packaging, websites, catalogs, brochures, advertising, and frequently in press releases, or perhaps in statements to reporters, especially when trademark litigation concerning the brand is involved. Such explanations about the brand’s… Continue Reading

Trademark Specimens of Use: A “Necessarily Subjective” Standard

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB

John Welch, over at the TTABlog, reported on a recent trademark specimen of use case (pdf here); one near and dear to my heart, since I represented the Applicant seeking to register the composite word-only mark DELI EXPRESS SAN LUIS for sweet rolls. At issue in the case was whether the product label specimen (appearing below) shows use of the… Continue Reading

Taking the Cake With Suggestive Trademarks?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

John Reinan provided yesterday a marketer’s perspective that questioned the value of coined trademarks. In my experience, as a trademark type, one place on the spectrum of distinctiveness where both trademark and marketing types can have their cake and eat it too, is the delicious category of suggestive trademarks. From the legal side of the coin, suggestive… Continue Reading

Describe Different

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

"What am I?" Every invention begs this essential question of identity. The answer is found in the product’s descriptor. A descriptor defines a thing, categorizing it, framing it, positioning it and signaling its intended future. A product that doesn’t claim to break new ground adopts its category’s standard convention. For example, a new, run-of-the-mill digital… Continue Reading

Staying on the Right Side of the Line: Suggestive vs. Descriptive

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Food, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

My last post explored the fine — but critically important — line, between suggestive and descriptive naming styles, here. As you will recall, marketers and naming gurus who select from the former category are rewarded with immediate rights; selecting from the latter category leaves one in limbo until acquired distinctiveness can be proven, if ever. Landing on the right side of the… Continue Reading

A Legal Perspective on the Pros and Cons of Name Styles

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

Earlier this week, Guest Blogger Burt Alper from Catchword Branding, provided a marketer’s perspective on the pros and cons of naming styles, here. With that introduction, now seems like a good time to revisit the critically important line — in terms of legal protection — between descriptive and suggestive names, and also provide a handy graphic to illustrate the… Continue Reading