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Tag Archives: Single Color Trademark

When it Feels Like “Look For” Advertising, How About a Little Follow-through?

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

As we head into the weekend, I thought I’d leave you with a Culver’s ad that feels like “look for” advertising: We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the topic of how “look for” advertising greatly enhances a brand owner’s ability to federally register non-traditional trademarks. Now, if Culver’s would only follow-through and seek… 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

Single Color Trademark Developments

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

Over the past five years, we have spilled a lot of black digital ink discussing trademark ownership of single colors. Color continues to be an important aspect of branding and differentiation in a variety of markets, including many you’d expect, and some you might not. Christian Louboutin’s red color trademark helps to illustrate the importance of single color… Continue Reading

But, What About the Legal Implications of Color Selections in Brand Strategy?

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Dilution, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Yesterday Thomson Dawson of the Blake Project published an interesting blog post on the Branding Strategy Insider called “The Importance of Color in Branding Strategy.” It is an important read for both marketing types and trademark types, both for what it says, and what it doesn’t say. How color impacts and induces certain responses in the… Continue Reading

When Less is More: Bits and Pieces of Brands

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, Truncation

There is no point to spending money on advertising if those experiencing it don’t understand who’s communicating about what brand, right? So, as drivers quickly pass by this attractive roadside billboard sign, how do they know who put out the ad? There must be a brand signature, right? Certainly there can be no signature or source-identifying quality in the… Continue Reading

Red Solo Cup Inspiration?

Posted in Audio, Branding, Dilution, Goodwill, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

Marketing types, it may well be obvious to some, but it is always important to consider the source of inspiration for the branding and marketing of the products and services you promote. At least for those who follow country singer Toby Keith, with a Costco retail end-cap display like this, it’s hard not to assume where 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

Louboutin & Lessons Learned

Posted in Branding, Copyrights, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

As promised, here are some further thoughts, lessons learned, and remaining unanswered questions concerning the recent and long-anticipated decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc. Lessons Learned for Marketing Types: Single color trademarks may be owned, registered, and protected when they are distinctive and… Continue Reading

Louboutin Wins Second Circuit Appeal, Sort Of . . . .

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

At long last, here is a pdf link to the decision, and here is the Second Circuit Court of Appeals summary in a nutshell: “We conclude that the District Court’s holding that a single color can never serve as a trademark in the fashion industry, Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am., Inc., 778… Continue Reading

Seeing Orange in the Construction Space

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Little did I know when I was writing What’s in an Orange-Colored Home Improvement Business Name? — that two days later, orange-color marks would be asserted in a trademark infringement lawsuit filed in Minnesota federal district court over competing building construction services: Cedar Valley Exteriors, Inc. v. JNS Builders LLC. A copy of the complaint… Continue Reading

What’s in an Orange-Colored Home Improvement Business Name?

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

How many think of Home Depot when the generic and industry category words “Home Improvement” appear in the color orange? I do, that’s why I snapped this photo of signage on a local strip mall the other day. Apparently, there used to be a business in Champlin, Minnesota called “Wholesale Home Improvement Center” — nice… Continue Reading

Louboutin: Still Waiting on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals

Posted in International, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

When I snapped this photo over a month ago in Las Vegas, I figured it wouldn’t be much longer before we hear from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the Christian Louboutin v. Yves Saint Laurent red sole trademark infringement case. Trademark types are anxiously waiting to hear whether the district court’s denial of Louboutin’s… Continue Reading

Louboutin Red: Blending Into the Background

Posted in Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Law Suits, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

A purely hypothetical puzzle, but I’m wondering, would Christian Louboutin have a viable trademark claim if Yves Saint Laurent sold women’s shoes in boxes bearing the above seemingly random grid of letters, each letter having equal type, style, font, color and emphasis? For those of you who answered with a strong “of course not,” I suspect your answer must change if selected… 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

When the Color Black Functions, But Not as a Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, TTAB

Now that kids are back to school and summer is coming to a close, this billboard advertisement has disappeared from I-94 just outside of downtown Minneapolis. Before it vanished from the roadside, however, I thought to capture it to tell a little trademark tale here, one from years past, but one that remains relevant, important, and applicable to trademark claims involving the color black.  As… Continue Reading

Uniform Look-For Advertising?

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

Spring is in the air (at least here in Minneapolis) and so are some fresh examples of look-for advertising that actually avoid the use of those straitjacket words. As we have discussed before, look-for advertising is a powerful tool in developing non-traditional trademark rights in subject matter such as single color marks. Dan discussed it here, in… 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

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

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

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

Fair Use of 3M’s Post-It Note?

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

This billboard ad has appeared in various locations around the Twin Cities for some time now.  Each time I saw it, I wondered whether it would be the last, given how vigilant 3M is in protecting its various trademarks and other intellectual property. This time, I had a camera handy to capture it. Now it’s time for some questions. Is there any… Continue Reading

Kimberly-Clark and The Color Purple: Keeping Trademark Scope Current and Consistent with Business Scope

Posted in Branding, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Touch, Trademarks

Kimberly-Clark® is no stranger to securing federal registrations for its various non-traditional trademarks. No doubt, these unconventional trademark assets are of great commercial value and an important part of K-C’s evolving business strategy and intellectual property portfolio. My previous post about the oval-shaped facial tissue container K-C was able to federally register in November 2007 is linked here. That… Continue Reading