DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Tag Archives: Secondary Meaning

Coca-Cola’s Significant Interest in Zero Marks

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

Coca-Cola just announced it is introducing Coke Zero in India, which will make it the sub-brand’s 149th market in the world, a truly remarkable reach. As the popular Coke Zero brand is approaching its tenth anniversary in the U.S., it seems like a good time to explore Coca-Cola’s trademark position in COKE ZERO and COCA-COLA… Continue Reading

Bungle in the Beer Tapper Jungle?

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Counterfeits, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

The Sports Bar in the Mirage Resort & Casino, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, is currently sporting a pretty interesting collection of tap beers, from left to right: Bud Light, Goose Island Honker’s Ale, Stella Artois, Heineken, Dos Equis, Pacifico, Shock Top, Newcastle, Samuel Adams, Budweiser, Goose Island Indian Pale Ale, and Michelob Ultra. What really caught… Continue Reading

Grading Distinctive Vodka Bottle Trademarks

Posted in Articles, Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week, Works Design Group highlighted five vodka bottle designs to love. No doubt, a nice collection of very creative work. This stacked ice cube design is my favorite from their set: The skull bottle design shown below also made Works’ top five, and it is certainly eye-popping. It was created by John Alexander, Dan Aykroyd’s co-founder of… 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

There’s always money in the banana-based intellectual property rights…

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Branding, Contracts, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

In its list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, the Rolling Stone ranked the 1967 album The Velvet Underground & Nico at number 13 – not bad for the band’s very first album.  The album had a simple cover, some would say iconic, cover:   And get this: the banana peel was actually a… Continue Reading

Bordering on Logos (Again)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Technology, Trademarks

By now, you must know, I’m a sucker for billboard ads. I really love to notice, study, comment on, and critique them, especially when there is an opportunity for some trademark storytelling. This one for the Hampton Inn & Suites brand does not disappoint. It appears that an IP holding company for Hilton, HLT Domestic… Continue Reading

Grab Some Buds and Pop a Red Top (or Tab)?

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Given how much we know you enjoy the subject of non-traditional trademark protection, here is a recent one from Anheuser-Busch: The description of the mark reads: “The mark consists of a design feature of product packaging, namely, a red colored tab on a can, which features a crown design that is transparent. The dotted lines… Continue Reading

Dilbert Advocates Trademark Shape Depletion Theory

Posted in Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Trademarks

Remember the days when the color depletion theory justified courts and the U.S. Trademark Office in denying any federal trademark protection for single colors, per se? This was the status of the trademark law for many decades, at least until the Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit disagreed in 1985 (In re Owens Corning Fiberglas… Continue Reading

Messin’ With Google

Posted in Advertising, Genericide, Law Suits, Marketing, Search Engines, Television, Trademarks

What does Google have in common with Sasquatch? Well, perhaps one possible point of similarity is that if you mess with either, you might get yourself seriously messed up in the process. With respect to the defensive power of Sasquatch, a local Wisconsin business success story, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, has gotten much notoriety with its series of hilarious 30-second television… Continue Reading

Tripartite Branding Trouble: The Name is Suk?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Goodwill, Marketing, Trademarks

"The name is Bond, James Bond," said Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others, countless times in film, as part of the famous 007 series. An ideal name for a secret agent. A name and line not easily forgotten, as brands and taglines should be. And then, there are some names you’d like to forget, but can’t, especially if… Continue Reading

Perfumers Need Trademarks

Posted in Famous Marks, Trademarks

As I was reading US magazine last weekend, I saw that Jennifer Aniston (my favorite “Friend”) launched her first perfume last month. She describes it as a combination of the ocean, sea air, blooming jasmine and tropical oils. I might have to try it. Our guest blogger Mark Prus recently discussed the perfume in his… Continue Reading

It’s Official, Duets Marks Federally Registered

Posted in Branding, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Lest you missed the prior (absence of) fanfare from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), we thought you should know (now you have not only constructive notice, but actual notice and knowledge of these valuable and important rights) that we are the proud parents (for those of you who personalize your company’s or client’s trademarks as… Continue Reading

Color Trademarks, Red Knobs, and Secondary Meaning

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

More on single color trademarks today. Eighteen months ago, Wolf Appliance obtained a federal trademark registration in connection with "a red knob or knobs" of "domestic gas and electric cooking appliances, namely, ranges, dual-fuel ranges, cooktops, and barbeque grills." Wolf put its registration to the test a couple of weeks ago in a federal trademark infringement… 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

Rolling Out the Red Carpet — More On Branding Athletic Turf & Trademarks

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

In December, you may recall, I blogged about Boise State’s federal registration of the color blue as applied to athletic field turf, known to many as Smurf Turf. At the time, I wondered out loud whether Boise State’s success in the U.S. Trademark Office might lead others to follow along this trademark path? Hat tip again to Brad… Continue Reading

Taking the Cake With Suggestive Trademarks?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

John Reinan provided yesterday a marketer’s perspective that questioned the value of coined trademarks. In my experience, as a trademark type, one place on the spectrum of distinctiveness where both trademark and marketing types can have their cake and eat it too, is the delicious category of suggestive trademarks. From the legal side of the coin, suggestive… Continue Reading

Surface Level Branding Runs Deep on This Athletic Field

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

To sports fans of this university, December has been a big month because their beloved team finished the 2009 regular football season undefeated (13-0) once again, winning yet another post-season BCS bowl game bid. Next month will be even bigger news if their WAC team happens to defeat TCU in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. To trademark types, however, the biggest news of… Continue Reading

More On The Fordless Blue Oval

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

What do you think, is Overstock.com selling bling with the Fordless blue oval logo? As you may recall from my post back in September, Ford Motor Company is attempting to register the below shown non-verbal logo as a trademark for a variety of goods in Int’l Class 12: And, as you may recall from Dan’s I See Blue Ovals post… Continue Reading

My Aha Moment

Posted in Branding, Television

If you’ve been paying attention to the trademark front, you’ve probably heard that Oprah and Mutual of Omaha recently settled a small skirmish over the use of "aha moment."  The skirmish was apparently ignited by Mutual of Omaha’s attempt to register "Official Sponsor of the Aha Moment."  According to Oprah, she made the phrase famous… Continue Reading

A Trademark Touch: Owning and Protecting Touchmarks

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Touch, Trademarks

The October/November issue of Brand Packaging magazine just hit the streets and I’m deeply honored to say that my piece entitled "A Trademark Touch: Strategies for Owning and Protecting Touchmarks" is this issue’s "cover story" (minus the skull and crossbones). The digital version can be read here. I hope you find it eye-opening in a… Continue Reading