DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Marketing Types

“Hook and Loop” Meet Chutes and Ladders

Posted in Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Technology, Trademarks

Nearly everyone in the IP community is talking about the hilarious viral Velcro music video released last week. Hat tip to Patently-O, Martha, and Brett. The “behind the scenes” video is here. We’ve spoken before about nervous trademark types, behind the scenes doing their level best, and taking steps to try to avoid unwanted genericide of… Continue Reading

I’m Saying, I’m Down with the I’MN Slogan

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

Love the new Minnesota State Lottery advertising slogan: I’MN. Or, as one of my college age sons often says, when he’s in agreement with someone’s idea or proposal, I’m down. The lottery slogan cleverly plays off the affirmative and adoptive slang phrase “I’m in” (i.e., “Count me in”) — it also plays off the MN… Continue Reading

How Would You Pronounce Infringement?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Last week, we discussed Caribou Coffee’s billboard ad referencing transparency — this week another installment from Caribou’s current Minneapolis skyway billboard campaign: That one made me think of this one, a post from a few months back about Kind nutritional bars and their Ingredients You Can See And Pronounce tagline and trademark: Marketing types, if… Continue Reading

Wanted: Brand Deputies at the MN State Fair

Posted in Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, Product Packaging, Trademarks

The Minnesota State Fair continues to provide endless blog fodder for those who care about intellectual property. Last week, we wrote about a State Fair vendor concerned about its claimed, but unarticulated “intellectual property.” This week is a good reminder that brand owners have a lot to be concerned about what goes on with their… Continue Reading

Inventing a Generic Category Name

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

MillerCoors is currently running this Lite Beer ad, promoting the limited edition original can, and taking credit for inventing the light beer category, way back in 1973. It is a great reminder that despite Miller’s determined and long-protracted litigation over its attempt to own the word LITE as a trademark for beer, in the end, it was… Continue Reading

iPhooey?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

Apparently iPho by Saigon, a Vietnamese restaurant located in St. Paul, Minnesota, is quite good. The logo design is eye-popping, and dare I say clever, but does it cross one of the many legal intellectual property lines? We can all agree as to the source of the “inspiration” for this visual identity, right? Our little friend… 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

Jell-O Revival From What?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Earlier this month E.J. Schultz of AdAge wrote about Kraft’s plan to revive Jell-O: “For Kraft Foods Group, J-E-L-L-O has spelled disappointment of late. The brand — once known for fun advertising starring the likes of Jack Benny and Bill Cosby — has struggled to find its identity in recent years, while marketing reductions have… Continue Reading

Will Tire Tread Trademarks Gain Traction?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Technology, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Here is to sharing a photo I took using my iPad on a recent Canadian fishing trip, and yes, there is a trademark story here to share as well, not just a beautiful sunset positioned behind this ATV tire. In my purchase of automobile tires over the years, one of the key selling points has been traction — especially with… Continue Reading

The Hairy Underside of the Butt-Billboard Campaign

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts

– James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Not long ago, Steve Baird posted a commentary on a colonoscopy campaign that featured attention-getting, humorous (to some) butt jokes. I liked ‘em. Thought they were clever and effective. Beyond making me think of my guts, though, they also brought to mind a conversation I had with a mentor a… Continue Reading

OfficeMax’s Rubber Band Ball Brand Symbol

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

OfficeMax has been sporting its friendly and colorful rubber band ball brand signal on billboard advertising and delivery trucks for some time, but yesterday is the first time I’ve noticed prominent static use of the bouncy rubber band ball as a non-verbal logo on storefront signage positioned next to the OfficeMax brand name (like the… Continue Reading

Marketing Pitfall Kills Yellow Color Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Caution must be exercised in advertising and marketing materials when the brand owner desires ownership of non-traditional trademarks such as product configurations (here and here), trade dress, and single color marks too. In our ongoing effort to raise the awareness of marketing types to pitfalls that can kill non-traditional trademark rights, a recent decision from the Fifth… Continue Reading

When is a ballpark frank a ball park BRAND frank?

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

Do you suppose the author of this article knows that Ball Park is a federally-registered brand name and trademark, not an unprotectable generic term synonymous with hot dogs and frankfurters? The growing prevalence of lower-case brand styles and visual identity has complicated the answer to this question a bit, I suspect. Nevertheless, we should probably chalk up another example for… Continue Reading

lower case brands, wall of fame or shame?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Trademarks

As promised, some time ago, here is an enormous wall sign from one of the many hallways connected to one of the many shopping areas at The Shoppes at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, showing all these retail brands in simple lower case style. No trademark notice or registration symbols either. . . . Do you suppose the entity responsible… Continue Reading

Webinar: Hot Marketing Topics with Trademark & Legal Implications

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a ninety-minute webinar with my good friend, frequent and eloquent guest-blogger on DuetsBlog — Aaron Keller of Capsule — complete with some friendly banter on the following: "Hot Marketing Topics with Trademark and Legal Implications." Minnesota Continuing Legal Education has generously provided a link where the webinar can be viewed in its entirety, here. As you’ll… Continue Reading

Visa Branding: A Combined Alpha & Brand Verbing Alert

Posted in AlphaWatch, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

We have been following the truncation trend to single-letter branding symbols for some time now. Visa appears to be heading in this direction with the relatively new V logo:                                                                              Based on trademark filings at the USPTO, it appears Visa began using this single-letter V logo by itself back in 2008 with the launch of a… Continue Reading

Quilted Toilet Paper Design Flushed As Functional

Posted in Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

As the court ruled, and repeatedly reminded: "Toilet paper. This case is about toilet paper." Just last week the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit enjoyed applying only a modicum of potty humor while deciding Georgia Pacific Consumer Products LP v. Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a case involving alleged non-traditional trademark rights in Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Diamond… Continue Reading

Fellow Zealots:

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Domain Names, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Social Networking, Trademarks

 —Karl Schweikart, partner and co-creative director, 45 Degrees/Minneapolis It’s validating to discover that branding is not a topic just for designers to geek on. As a partner in a design firm focused on brand identity work, I find the community Duets has pulled together to be a vibrant and informative group to hang with. I… Continue Reading

Samuel Adams Better Beer Glass . . . No Trademark For You?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

If the "Soup Nazi" were employed as a Trademark Examining Attorney at the USPTO, he might be heard crabbing at the makers of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, were they to attempt to register or claim as a trademark the shape of their "new" beer glass from 2007, now almost four years old: "No trademark for you!" ("Best… 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

Get Cozy and Toss Another Log on the Fire

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

Because, we plan to be here a while longer . . . . As DuetsBlog approaches the legal drinking age (whoops, I guess we’re only about 21 months old, not years, sorry), we’d like to pay special thanks to our guest bloggers, our loyal readers, our friends who spread the word through their tweets and in other ways, and especially… Continue Reading