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Tag Archives: Martha Engel

THE SLANTS Decision Affects More than a 2(a) and an (R)

Posted in First Amendment

In Monday’s decision in the newly minted Matal v. Tam case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit decision that the Trademark Office’s refusal to register THE SLANTS mark on disparagement grounds was unconstitutional.  Many were not surprised by this decision, foreshadowed in part by the transcript of the January oral argument where the justices… Continue Reading

On Flag Day, What Flag Can You Protect?

Posted in First Amendment, USPTO

Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national flag 240 years ago.  Although maybe more obscure than Fourth of July or Memorial Day since it is not a federal holiday, this has always been one of my favorite American holidays.  There’s just something nostalgic, reverent, and almost… Continue Reading

The Muddy Waters of Use for Beer Brands

Posted in Trademarks

The Craft Brewers Conference is an impressive affair. Between the number of brewers I’ve met from across the country as well as internationally, and the colossal trade show, the breadth and scope of the industry is probably most visible from this event.  Set in D.C. this year, it’s surrounded by important historical places and legal… Continue Reading

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

Who Will Own New Designs in a Jetsons-like Era?

Posted in Agreements, Copyrights, Idea Protection, Patents, Squirrelly Thoughts, USPTO

While on my flight back from speaking on trademarks & the alcohol industry at this year’s CiderCon, I listened to a fascinating TedTalks podcast on advancements in artificial intelligence that you can find here.  Some of the examples of the progress made in robots included the concept of open-ended, non-linear “generative” thinking by advanced AI… Continue Reading

“Pardon Me, PORTON,” says PATRON, “But We Heard You”

Posted in Famous Marks, Trademarks, TTAB

Pisco is a light-colored brandy traditionally produced in portions of Peru and Chile.  One brand that offers this product in the United States is PISCO PORTÓN (the latter word meaning “gate” in Spanish). Pisco Porton has a number of registrations including PORTÓN, PISCO PORTON, and PISCO PORTON THE AUTHENTIC PERUVIAN PISCO. The owners of PATRON… Continue Reading

Jager Fears the Deer: Brand Refresh Turns Into Battle

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Famous Marks, Trademarks, TTAB

The word “Jägermeister” conjures up memories (or maybe lapses in memory) for many.  I have only had the German liqueur in the beautiful blue-collar town of Milwaukee, WI – home of my college alma mater.  While you would never catch me ordering the liqueur, I was fascinated by the cool and well-lit dispensing machine behind… Continue Reading

“Just Say No” to Rejection of Marijuana Trademarks

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Trademarks

Overshadowed by that yuuuge, shocking, {insert adjective for your feelings here} win was the legalization of recreational marijuana in three more states – California, Massachusetts and Nevada – in conflict with federal law.  This comes at a time when there have been a number of successive decisions (here, here) affirming refusals of trademark rights for… Continue Reading

Creative Acronyms Refused Sometimes…Or CARS

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Today’s offices treat acronyms like linguistic yoga (TOTALLY). ICYMI, they’re popular also in texts, tweets, and other “thumb-talking” activities.  LOL.  SMH. Legislators are having fun with them lately too, for example the Personal Rights in Names Can Endure Act (PRINCE Act),  the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism… Continue Reading

Four T’s at Four: What Breweries Need to Know About Their IP Before They Consider an Exit

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Idea Protection, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Taste, Trademarks

“Forties at 4” was a time-honored Friday tradition among my engineering classmates in college.  After our last class, several of them would purchase Miller (if we could find it in a 40 oz) or Old English or some other malt liquor that provided the most bang for the buck.  Cracking one open always signaled the… Continue Reading

An OXI Surprise

Posted in Trademarks, Truncation, USPTO

One of the blessings of homeownership is the surprise that accompanies a major appliance breakdown.  I had the pleasure of experiencing one of these events over Labor Day weekend when my dryer decided it was done working.  Labor Day is one of the weekends you want to have it happen because there are plenty of… Continue Reading

POKEMON GO Caught By…POKEMON?

Posted in Trademarks, USPTO

Last week was rough.  We went from celebrating America to watching her at her worst.  We saw officers shoot two black men in Baton Rouge, LA and Falcon Heights, MN, a black man shoot cops in Dallas, and resulting social unrest (including my hometown police being hit with concrete last weekend and protests blocking our… Continue Reading

A Duel Over DUO Leaves Only Uno

Posted in Almost Advice, Food, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

The never-ending battle at the Trademark Office over trademarks for beer and wine suffered another casualty last week, this time over the mark DUO.  Applicant Uinta Brewing Company filed a use-based application to register DUO for beer.  Fun fact:  the Utah-based brewery owns a trademark registration for TINDER for “beer.” Uinta Brewing uses the DUO… Continue Reading

Here, Have a BREXIT

Posted in International, USPTO

The British are leaving!  The British are leaving!  Many people on all sides of “the pond” last week watched the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union with interest, and were shocked when they actually voted to cut ties with the EU.  The vote was often referred to by the doomsday name BREXIT (cue terrifying… Continue Reading

The USPTO Says “Yes” But the TTB Says “No” To LSD

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, First Amendment, Idea Protection, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

Government approval of commercial speech has been a hot topic of discussion by trademark nerds here and elsewhere in light of recent decisions regarding the Redskins and The Slants marks.  As those decisions proceed up through the appeal channels to the Supreme Court, attention has been drawn to whether or not a trademark registration certificate… Continue Reading

March Isn’t Just for Madness, It’s For CRAFTNESS

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, USPTO

Here’s hoping your 2016 brackets did better than mine last week, but this has been quite a crazy and exciting tournament thus far.  As a Marquette fan, the Indiana–Notre Dame–Wisconsin area of the bracket has been quite disheartening.  And the buzzer beaters galore this tournament have left many faces looking somewhat like Indiana coach (and… Continue Reading

Consent or Not, No Trademark Registration for Brewer’s TIME TRAVELER BLONDE Mark

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Branding, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

When an application has been refused registration in view of another’s prior filed mark, one way to resolve the issue is through a consent agreement wherein the registrant consents to the registration and the parties set out the reasons why the parties believe that there is no likelihood of consumer confusion between the marks.  A… Continue Reading

Dude, It’s Gotten GNARLY for Beer and Wine

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Trademark issues regarding breweries and wineries are increasingly intertwined as both breweries and wineries grow, flower, and spread out throughout the country.  I have talked before about the issues relating to a perceived likelihood of confusion between marks on beer used by breweries and marks on wine used by wineries (see here, here, and here)…. Continue Reading

A Meaningful Shift in Super Bowl Ads

Posted in Advertising, Branding

The Super Bowl ads this year were much like the game itself – maybe one remarkable catch, a few fumbles, and heavy on defense.  Some even deserved a penalty flag – like the one for toe fungus and the revolting puppy-monkey-baby (and I’m an avid Diet Mountain Dew drinker).  However, there were some subtle shifts…. Continue Reading