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Tag Archives: Minneapolis

Joust Do It? A New Form of Nike Battle Cry?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

By now, you’re familiar with my enjoyment in capturing and sharing new billboard signage that hits the streets of the Twin Cities. Question, what tagline might have inspired this one? Was the Minnesota Renaissance Festival inspired by Nike’s famous “Just Do It” tagline? Almost four years ago now, we noted — in this gem from… Continue Reading

It’s as Suggestive as a Butter Knife for Steak

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

We’ve written quite a bit over the years about the Spectrum of Distinctiveness for trademarks, and the all-important difference between suggestive marks and merely descriptive ones, with only the former being allowed immediate rights based on first use. Creativity is what separates the power of suggestion from the weakness and limbo of descriptiveness. Remember the floating feather… Continue Reading

Nominative Fair Use of Ride-Share Logos?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

Earlier this year, we contemplated a suitable, accurate, and efficient generic name for the service category created by the highly-disruptive Uber brand: App-Based Ride Service. A visit to Chicago this past weekend, left me thinking that Ride-Share Service or Ride Sharing are suitable alternatives, that appear to be gaining some traction, as seen here: The… Continue Reading

What’s a Peppadew?

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

We recently checked out a new restaurant in Minneapolis’ growing North Loop area, called Red Rabbit, what a great spot:   The menu cleverly refers to the salad options as “Rabbit Food” — and the Italian Chopped salad spoke to me, but one of the listed “ingredients” left me wondering “what’s a peppadew”? Not wanting… Continue Reading

A Trademark Use in Commerce Story: Bonobos Buzz and a Two for One Specimen?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

There are at least two kinds of buzz converging at the moment (perhaps three), especially for fashion forward and fit oriented trademark types here in Minneapolis. On the one hand, with the holidays upon us it’s hard to avoid the barrage of billboard ads in the Minneapolis skyway promoting the first brick and mortar entry… Continue Reading

Who’s Watching (What) You Create?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

This past weekend, with what appears to be our first lasting snowfall, I enjoyed following my daughter around the chilly alleys of downtown Minneapolis while she created for her photography class. As you can see from the moment I captured, she inspired me to create a bit too. Thankfully I’m not being graded for my… 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

Does a Commodity Ever Need to Apologize?

Posted in AlphaWatch, Articles, Branding, Genericide, Goodwill, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

On this welcome Labor Day, a few different thoughts converged for me, so please allow me to answer my own question in the title of this post, starting by explaining the below photo: After repeated diversions from a particular moving stairway a/k/a escalator to the far less convenient elevators in an unnamed downtown Minneapolis office… Continue Reading

Madonna Not Scandalous for Wine Anymore

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

The headline might be considered old news to some, but since intellectual property attorneys from around the world will be descending upon Minneapolis for the remainder of the week, and since I’ll be speaking tomorrow at the American Intellectual Property Law Association Spring Meeting at the Minneapolis Hilton, on the history and public policy behind… Continue Reading

A BrandVerb Uber Alles?

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

Uber, the popular brand that helps people arrange prompt ground transportation, is now also being called a verb. The Star Tribune recently reported that the founder of iHail, a recent competitor of Uber in the Twin Cities market, would like to achieve the same anointed status: “I want iHail to become a verb, just like… Continue Reading

Trademark Grammar, Concerns, and Cliches?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is currently running this advertisement from a local law firm highlighting its “Total Partnership” program (BTW, love the website video, linked here):Although the use of the term “trademarked” will make more than a few trademark types cringe, NLJ we know what you mean, so no worries, especially with these gems… Continue Reading

A Naked Attempt at Trademark Association

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

– John Reinan, a Minneapolis journalist and recovering marketer When news broke a couple months ago that the “gentlemen’s club” Spearmint Rhino would be opening a downtown Minneapolis branch on Hennepin Avenue, I joked on Twitter that I should open a club down the street and call it Menthol Hippo. OK, so I’m not really… Continue Reading

Anticipating Super Bowl L: A Branding Loser?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks

Now that Super Bowl XLIX is in the rear view mirror, and the New England Patriots have been duly congratulated for winning anything but a Mediocre Bowl, for those of us with no pigskin in the big game this year, it’s time to think about the possible magic of Super Bowl L. Wait what? Is… Continue Reading

Owning a New Look Through Advertisements

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the importance of “look for” advertising when a brand owner wants to legally own a non-traditional trademark like a single color, or perhaps the shape of a product, or even product packaging or containers, among other potential non-traditional marks. So, when I discovered three billboard ads within… Continue Reading

What A Daughter Learned From Her Dad About Working in a “Mad Men” World

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts

Today is Take Our Daughters to Work Day, which I thought was a lost day but apparently has been re-branded to the more gender-neutral “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”  Upon discovering that I happened to select this day for one of my blogposts during the year my dad retires, this post seemed… Continue Reading

Ola Crapola!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Crapola sounds like something worth saying on the way to Chicago, after discovering the size of your PowerPoint file is too large to get through the recipient’s firewall, and then realizing the USB flash drive containing your inspiring presentation to FUSE conference attendees remains on your desk back in Minneapolis. Perhaps an even stronger word might be appropriate, if… Continue Reading

Where Everybody Knows Your Name(s)

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Copyrights, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Social Networking, Television, Trademarks

Who would you expect to find sitting at the end of the bar in this recently re-named Minneapolis sports bar, formerly known as Halek’s Bar? What if you were to queue a very familiar tune to these lyrics, would that help? Yeah, I was thinking of these guys too: But, what if these guys have nothing to do with… Continue Reading

Airing Your Kinky Trademark Laundry: Distinguishing Between Consent Agreements and Concurrent Use Agreements

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week I captured a few eye-popping photographs of a delivery truck parked in downtown Minneapolis promoting Kinky Liqueur, “a delightfully fruity fusion of super premium vodka“: And my hunch — that scratching the surface of this interesting brandname would reveal a worthwhile trademark story — actually paid off. As it turns out, Kinky Liqueur didn’t have a straight shot at federal… Continue Reading

McDonald’s Trade Dress? State Farm is There.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Passing by a roadside billboard recently (below is a miniature version I found in the Minneapolis skyway system), my first thought was, wow, McDonald’s is getting into the juicy lucy business: Until more focus revealed that State Farm Insurance is the one behind the ad. Look familiar? No doubt burgers and car insurance are totally different lines of business and… Continue Reading