DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Descriptive

What Are You Thinking, Coke Zero?

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

  The above advertising billboard is plastered all over the Twin Cities at the moment, and it got me thinking, so here I am, once again, writing about Coke Zero, remember this can? Coke obtained a favorable decision from the TTAB early last year, ruling that ZERO is not generic for a soft drink category,… Continue Reading

Easy Registration Refusal, See Park ‘N Fly

Posted in Articles, Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Trademark types know all about Park ‘N Fly, whether they travel or not. That’s because it is more than a nearly fifty year old airport parking and travel service brand and federally-registered service mark, it is short-hand for a famous U.S. Supreme Court trademark case from 1985. In that decision, the Supreme Court recognized the… Continue Reading

Still Smashing Trademark Rights?

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

Why does Smashburger continue down this road of smashing its trademark rights? Especially, despite our previous cautions: Another Marketing Pitfall: How to Crush a Smashing Brand Name & Trademark Can Anyone Smash a Burger? Crushing a Perfectly Good Brand Name? In the meantime, we’ll keep watching out for marketing pitfalls and unnecessary marketing copy that… 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

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

Can Anyone Smash a Burger?

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

While visiting SmashBurger this weekend, I noticed a new drink cup, and I anxiously examined it, wondering whether it had been updated to remove the previously devastating (to a trademark type) language: “Where SMASH means we literally smash 100% Angus beef at a high temperature to sear in all the juicy burger goodness.” For a… Continue Reading

Duck Duct Debate

Posted in Branding

–Susan Perera, Attorney Every once in awhile I run across a product and find myself wondering… why did they name it this?  I recently ran across the Duck Tape brand shown below.  My first reaction was “duck” is a commonly misused term to identify what should be called “duct” tape, and this brand owner interestingly… 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

The Galleria of Retail Jewelry Store Taglines

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Goodwill, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

 On this Valentine’s Day, after enduring weeks of the same endless running of national retail jewelry chain advertising, leading up to this annually celebrated day of love and affection, I thought it might be fitting to try a few retail jewelry store taglines on for size and examine — at least from a trademark perspective — their protect-ability and likely placement on the… Continue Reading

Primitive & Impolite, But Non-Vulgar Trademark & Naming Technique?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks

On a recent pilgrimage to my home town to visit the University of Iowa and to see the Hawkeyes play football again in hallowed Kinnick Stadium, I discovered that a rather rudimentary and perhaps impolite (or potty mouth), yet passionate (sorry Nancy) branding technique, is alive and kicking in Iowa City. I also learned what now appears to go hand-in-hand (or, perhaps leg-in-hands as… Continue Reading

Wanted: Experienced Trademark Attorney?

Posted in Trademarks

A couple of days ago, I promised to try and make the case for why the State of Minnesota ought to hire an experienced trademark attorney. OK, so I’m a day late, but you can decide if I’m a dollar short too. By the way, it was the federal trademark registration record for the below mark… 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

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

Exploring Alternative Spellings

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

–Dan Kelly, Attorney I recently came across a catalog for a company that sells “modular floorcovering” — probably better known as “carpet squares.”  (They actually sell more than squares, but I digress.)  The brand?  FLOR.  FLOR?  Cue kneejerk trademark attorney reaction:  “FLOR?  Are you kidding me?  I bet they had a heckuva time getting that… Continue Reading