DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: generic

Pass the…Creative Work

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits

I laughed when I saw yesterday’s Adweek article about Heinz adopting Don Draper’s “Pass the Heinz” pitch from the hit show “Mad Men.”  Given the lackluster creativity observed from the Super Bowl ads, have we actually reached a point where a creative says “hey remember that Mad Men episode? let’s just do that!” and the… Continue Reading

Subway Drops Footlong TM from Advertising

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

The last time I was at the airport I snapped this photo showing how Subway finally appears to have dropped its use of the TM symbol in association with the word FOOTLONG: As you will recall, Subway had attempted to federally-register the word FOOTLONG as a trademark for hotdog sandwiches, but Sheetz’ trademark challenge on… Continue Reading

The 140-Character Trademark Lesson

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Guest Bloggers, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Trademarks

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC When I think of Twitter, I think of — it’s really hard to define because we’re still coming up with the vocabulary — but I think it’s defined a new behavior that’s very different than what we’ve seen before. — Jack Dorsey, Twitter Co-Founder in 2009 My, how… Continue Reading

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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

We continue to anxiously await the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision in Frito-Lay North America, Inc. v. Princeton Vanguard, LLC, especially given the Board’s recent genericness ruling in Sheetz of Delaware, Inc. v. Doctor’s Associates, Inc., finding FOOTLONG generic for “sandwiches, excluding hot dogs.” The question at issue in Frito-Lay’s trademark challenge to registration by… 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

Tie Goes to the Brand or Generic Name?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Boys baseball occupied a fair portion of my evenings last week and this past weekend, a game where almost everyone has at least heard: The tie goes to the runner (when it comes to running the bases anyway — because when it comes to the final score the game continues until someone wins, even if it takes twenty… Continue Reading

Rapala Billboard Ads Continue to Engage

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s that time of year again. The fishing opener in Minnesota is upon us this coming Saturday, so Rapala is sporting its new billboard advertisement. Judging from USPTO trademark filings, it looks like the cutesy “Bass Friends Forever” tagline is intended to adorn clothing items too. You will recall that we have consistently covered various iterations of the Rapala billboard… Continue Reading

Yes, you can still wipe your Pierrade with Sopalin without risking trademark genericide (in France, that is)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Genericide, Guest Bloggers, International, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Taste, Trademarks

– Marie-Gwénaëlle Chuit As Steve frequently points out on this blog, trying to turn your trademark into a reference might lead to genericide, thus trademark owners should be very careful when walking this narrow line. The French IP law (CPI) demands that a trademark be distinctive to be considered valid (L.711.2 CPI), and that owners… Continue Reading

It’s the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Posted in Law Suits

For all you sports fans out there, March is pretty much the greatest month of the year.  The spring thaw is underway, spring training has kicked off in Florida and Arizona, the first PGA major of the year – the Masters – right on the horizon.  And, that’s right, March is the time for “March… Continue Reading

When You Verb Your Trademark, You Know What?

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

Well, perhaps more than just about every trademark use guideline in existence, including those offered by the International Trademark Association (INTA) ("NEVER use a trademark as a verb"):  (television commercial link on Youtube here) Maybe because you have been following the trademark verbing dialogue here on DuetsBlog and you have learned all about Managing The Legal Risk of… 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

Can You Rollerblade On K2 Brand In-Line Skates?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

These kinds of signs — that appear to single out Rollerblade brand in-line skate loyalists — are all over the place. This one happens to be in the parking garage I use in downtown Minneapolis. To understand why the Rollerblade brand may find itself in this perilous position, read on, here. For some additional reading on the related question of verbing brands, take a… Continue Reading

Get a Load of This: General Mills Takes Offense in Trademark Spat Over Spuds

Posted in Branding, Food, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

          They say that the best defense is a good offense. It appears that General Mills has adopted this strategy in a recent trademark dispute over the term LOADED in connection with instant potatoes. Just yesterday, the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal reported the filing of a federal district court lawsuit by General Mills against Idahoan Foods, in which… Continue Reading

Going Brand-Less: To Be or Not to Be a Brand?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Domain Names, Goodwill, Marketing, Trademarks

Apparently, if you own one of the diminishing number of retail shops that specializes in tobacco products, it doesn’t really matter if you have a brand or a distinctive name, or not. Tell them what you sell, tell them you’re open for business, and they will come, I guess. This image got me thinking about how often this marketing strategy — if… Continue Reading

Could’ve. Should’ve?

Posted in Advertising

Trademark law is unique. Unlike other intellectual property regimes where the primary concern is protecting the rights holder, trademark law is all about protecting the consumer and maintaining the integrity of the communication exchange between producer and consumer. (That’s why the test for infringement is “likelihood of confusion.”) Unlike patent or copyright laws, which simply create a bundle of rights… Continue Reading

Best Buy, Resurrected From the Trademark Graveyard?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Domain Names, False Advertising, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

As a trademark type, something struck me as odd about the Best Buy logo image appearing on the brand new outdoor baseball scoreboard at Target Field, during the Minnesota Twins recent home opener against the Boston Red Sox, so I captured a photograph to discuss it here on DuetsBlog. What caught my eye was the curious placement of the ® federal registration symbol. Its positioning adjacent to the words… 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

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

Does Your Eye Spy A Canary?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

A couple of weeks ago I posted an Accountemps billboard advertisement that prominently features what appears to be a 3M Post-it brand removable adhesive note, and I asked whether it constitutes fair use, and whether 3M’s permission is necessary to run the advertisement, since 3M owns a federal trademark registration for the color "canary yellow" in connection with these notes…. 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