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Category Archives: Television

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Lights, Camera…Now Take Action

Posted in Fair Use, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Television

– Jason Sprenger – President, Game Changer Communications Imagine for a moment you’re back in the year 1963…the time of Mad Men, the beginning of Beatlemania, the year of the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Who’s the most trusted man in America?  You might be surprised that it wasn’t Martin Luther King Jr., or even the… Continue Reading

The March Madness Road Trip Returns

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television

It’s that wonderful time of year again, March Madness! When families, friends, and coworkers all get together to casually gamble and all throw $10 into a pool. When 12’s beat 5’s and mess up your bracket. When you lose one game and are sent packing. The few weeks when “Cinderella” is uttered most throughout the… Continue Reading

Scandalous and Disparaging Marks: The Race to the Trademark Office Is On

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Idea Protection, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Owners of scandalous, immoral, or disparaging marks are on notice: now is the time to place your $275 bet with the USPTO. And soon, the Trademark Office database may be “NSFW.” Last Thursday, the USPTO issued Examination Guide 01-16 to address the impact of recent federal court decisions on Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act. That section prohibits registration of… Continue Reading

Primarily Merely a Drumpf

Posted in Branding, Social Media, Social Networking, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

This presidential election cycle has been nothing if not entertaining.  Mr. Trump has been a particular favorite among late night T.V. hosts. In one particular 20-minute monologue, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver berated the Donald, and in doing so, brought to light a historical quirk of the Trump name.  It would seem that the… Continue Reading

A Fine Mess: YouTube’s Reaction to REACT

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Networking, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

In the world of YouTube, subscriber count is king. With over 14 million subscribers, the Fine Brothers seemed at the forefront of new media. But earlier this month, the Internet’s collective scorn for a trademark portfolio sent the Fine Brothers’ subscription count tumbling. If you haven’t been following Benny and Rafi Fine of the Fine Brothers (during your non-work… Continue Reading

Nominative Fair Use, as Illustrated by Colorful Balls

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, False Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks

If you watch any amount of T.V. or happened to catch either of the AFC or NFC Championship games last weekend, you’ve probably seen one of the recent cell phone carrier ball commercials. Initially, Verizon created this commercial, wherein a series of colorful balls rolling down a ramp are used to describe Verizon’s apparently superior… Continue Reading

Bright Bulbs Bring Bank Branding Battle

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Technology, Television, Trademarks

Just as the Minnesota Vikings exceed expectations this year and push into the NFL playoffs, the Vikings’ still-unfinished new stadium is producing some interesting (if not expected) branding-related litigation. A major topic of conversation here in the Twin Cities is the 2016 opening of U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings’ new home built on the site… Continue Reading

“Oh, no: Beta!”

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Television

As we gather with family and friends to give thanks this holiday here in the U.S., let’s look back and think of those that won’t be with us at the Thanksgiving dinner table. For me, BETAMAX comes to mind. What’s that, you say? BETAMAX, the video cassette format that unsuccessfully battled VHS in the 1980s, has… Continue Reading

What’s in Your Tagline, a Strong Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Last year, in my post entitled What’s in Your Wallet, a Cafe?, I had this to say about the iconic Capital One tagline: “Since 2000, Capital One Financial — the nation’s largest direct bank — has been promoting its credit card services by asking What’s in Your Wallet? Three years later it began promoting banking and other financial… Continue Reading

The Great Presidential (logo) Debate

Posted in Advertising, Branding, SoapBox, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, Truncation

The day has finally arrived – the beginning of 2016 presidential debate season!  The best reality TV showdown around!  Democrat or Republican, I don’t discriminate, political debates are probably the only fighting “sport” in a ring that I enjoy watching.  Fox finalized its debate card for the first debate of the season and, with the… Continue Reading

Trademark vs. Copyright: Avoid the HAVOC

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Idea Protection, Infringement, Television, Trademarks

I’ve come across yet another college-hoops related trademark dispute — but what’s even more interesting is the way the AP covered the story. It’s a reminder that we IP lawyers can and must dispel any public confusion between the different forms of intellectual property. Shaka Smart, the longtime basketball head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University,… Continue Reading

Deck Stacked Against HOUSE OF CARDS

Posted in Television, Trademarks, USPTO

No spoilers here, I promise.  Like many Americans since it was released on Friday, I’ve been binge-watching Season 3 of House of Cards.  If you haven’t watched the program, available only on Netflix, it’s a riveting drama of political intrigue with stellar acting featuring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright.  The promise of another House of… Continue Reading

Will #TheDress Impact Color Trademarks?

Posted in Articles, Fashion, International, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Social Media, Television, Trademarks

#TheDress phenomenon is about to shape the future of color trademarks and trade dress rights. You may recall, we have written a great deal on the subject of non-traditional trademark protection of colors, especially during the Christian Louboutin red-soled shoe trademark lessons, but more recently we wrote about the legal implications of color selections in… Continue Reading

Get to the Chopper: A Service Mark on a Helicopter?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

When a business uses its trademark in connection with an ordinary billboard advertisement, should it try to register the billboard as another trademark unto itself?  I venture that nearly every trademark attorney would say no.  But what if the billboard was a helicopter? MedLegal Network, out of Santa Monica, California, promotes personal injury and worker’s… Continue Reading

The NFL’s Super Bowl Trademark Nonsense

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s that time of year again. Time to tiptoe around and avoid use of or make any reference to the Super Bowl. Whoops. Anyway, we’ve discussed this phenomenon before: Insuring a Great Super Bowl Trademark Fight Fair Use of Super Bowl Trademark? Super (Bowl) Sunday, Ads Coming Soon Advertisers — fearful of NFL legal action… Continue Reading

A Charlie Brown Red-Nosed Reindeer

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television

If you celebrate Christmas, and even if you don’t, you probably have a favorite Christmas-themed movie.  Elf?  A Christmas Story?  Miracle on 34th Street?  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation? Although not feature films like those, my favorite Christmas-themed masterpiece is the 1964 classic short Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, followed very closely by A Charlie Brown Christmas… Continue Reading

The Shiny Bright Red Holiday Star Brand(s)

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Television, Trademarks

In the context of the holiday season, what comes to mind when you see a shiny bright red star? If you’re reading this post from Russia, perhaps the top of a New Year Tree is brought to mind. Of course, I have brands on my mind, and it has been hard to miss the barrage… Continue Reading

Mayhem: Ahem, Metaphorically Speaking

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Metaphors are a good choice for trademarks. A metaphor typically requires some thought, imagination or perception to understand the connection between the mark and what’s for sale. Remember what a floating feather might suggest metaphorically? Yes, a good night’s sleep. So, the symbol works well as a distinctive non-verbal trademark for a pharmaceutical sleep aid…. Continue Reading

Star Wars: Redefining Trademark and Copyright Law Since A Long Time Ago

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Copyrights, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Social Media, Sound, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

The Star Wars series is truly an exceptional franchise, having broken box office records, creating legions of fans, and bringing the idea of collateral merchandise licensing to an unprecedented level. Also, how many other films are top hits at the box office in three different decades, even when all you’ve done is add a few… Continue Reading

Personal Brand Management for Retirees (…of the NFL)

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television, Trademarks

–Ben Kwan, Attorney Dozens of former NFL players lit up the federal court docket here in Minnesota with filings on Monday targeted at Defendants including the National Football League, NFL Films, Inc., and NFL Productions, LLC. The retired players’ suits are the latest in a line of cases dating back to about 2009 when former players… Continue Reading