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Category Archives: Trademarks

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Role Reversal: David Bullying Goliath?

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB

When claims of trademark infringement make the news, it is often because a billion dollar corporation is suing old man Donaldson’s tavern for trademark infringement (Although, McDonaldson’s might have been a bad choice…).  You’ve got your Ikeas, your Googles, Chick-fil-As, and your NFLs of course (not the National Forensics League, they’re cool).  David can fight back and win, but David… Continue Reading

Hey Commish, Can You Trademark The (Fantasy Football) League?

Posted in Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

All around America, men will soon gather in front of their computers feverishly conducting research, generally wasting time, and participating in one of the manliest things they likely will do for quite some time:  their fantasy football league’s draft. Fantasy football is an $11 billion dollar industry (to put that into perspective, the NFL had… Continue Reading

I’m Gumby Dammit — A Flexible Trademark?

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

The Minnesota History Center is currently promoting its Toys of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s exhibit — my favorite promotional billboard is the one captured above, featuring none other than Gumby. I can still remember my Gumby toy and watching the Gumby Show as a young child along with the Davey & Goliath television series, both… Continue Reading

Colors, Words, and Colours: Pink with Envy

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Trademarks

It has been nearly a year since we posed the age-old question: Does this Pink Clash with My Pink? Okay, so it’s not that old of a question. In fact, most of you (readers) may not have ever considered the inquiry. I guess I should clarify, by “clash with” I mean “infringe.” By “Pink” I… Continue Reading

The C-word and IP Rights

Posted in Almost Advice, Copyrights, Counterfeits, International, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Trademarks

No, not that c-word. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights involves a plethora of c-words:  copying, counterfeit, copyright, cease-and-desist, CIPO (the Canadian IP Office).   But the one I am referring to today is China. As the world becomes more interconnected and the global economic impact of China has significantly increased, intellectual property… Continue Reading

Trademark Pronunciation Revisited

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

Remember this little gem on trademark pronunciation from the DuetsBlog archives two years ago? Open Wide and Say Ahh: Probing Brand Name & Trademark Pronunciation Judging from a search of Google, the JD Supra version of this post has gotten lots of traction. Well, a few weeks ago the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) issued an interesting… Continue Reading

Navigating Trademark Oppositions and Cancellation Proceedings at the TTAB

Posted in Articles, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Please join me for a live and informative 90 minute Strafford law webinar a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday August 13, at noon CST. The topic to be covered is “Navigating Trademark Oppositions and Cancellation Proceedings at the TTAB,” and here is a link for more information. For the discussion, I’m joined by two very capable TTAB… Continue Reading

A Window into the Future for Apple’s Trade Dress?

Posted in Branding, Idea Protection, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

A few weeks back, Steve discussed Apple’s recent applications to register a trio of non-verbal trademarks, shown below: (Each image links to the corresponding application on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – USPTO). Spoiler alert: This post contains the USPTO’s ultimate decision regarding the registrability of the design and layout of various… Continue Reading

Harley-Davidson Booze Coming Soon?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

With the 74th Anniversary of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally less than a week away, it seemed like a good time to check in on recent Harley-Davidson trademark activity at the USPTO. As it turns out, a very interesting intent-to-use trademark application was filed just two weeks ago, seeking federal registration of the world-famous HARLEY-DAVIDSON word mark… Continue Reading

This Little Piggy Went to the Trademark Office…

Posted in Articles, Fair Use, Goodwill, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sound, Trademarks, USPTO

When was the last time you thought about pigs? What do you think when you hear the word “pigs?” Or an OINK OINK noise? Or what about the angelic and oh-so-American, “SOOOOOOOOOEEEEEEEEYY!”? Well, the University of Arkansas contends that you’re probably thinking about the Arkansas Razorback sport teams. And they convinced the U.S. Patent and Trademark… Continue Reading

NONPROFIT BRAND TINTED WITH – NOT TAINTED BY – LEGAL

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

- Abby V. Reiner, Brand Director, Wounded Warrior Project Fine (red) Lines Nonprofits walk a fine line between wanting everyone to feel a part of the mission without allowing everyone to use its trademarks resulting in dilution or infringement of the brand. Sometimes the very well intentioned can do more harm than good. When a… Continue Reading

Fly the Tasty Skies

Posted in Branding, Fashion, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

- Nancy Friedman, Wordworking In mid-June JetBlue, which since its first flights in 2000 had been a single-class “value” airline, introduced its version of first-class service. To signal this departure—forgive the pun—it didn’t give the service a category name such as JetBlue Business. Nor did it follow its own naming conventions and build on the… Continue Reading

Airing a new logo: Airbnb

Posted in Branding, Trademarks

For those of you who are into traveling, you are probably very familiar with the trendy Airbnb, a travel site that lets you book a stay at someone’s home instead of a hotel.  They are part of a growing trend of websites making the user’s travel booking experience easier, more exotic, and more economical.  EatWith… Continue Reading

Believe what you want, but who will win?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Trademarks, USPTO

In case you were unaware, the (Men’s) World Cup happened over the last two months and is now over (the Women’s World Cup is next year, in Canada). I Believe that if you followed Team USA at all, you probably heard the infectious chant of I —— I BELIEVE ——- I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!… Continue Reading

Dethroning a Right to Register a Trademark?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Last month, you will recall we wrote about the important difference between the right to register a trademark and the right to use a trademark, here and here. Despite the fact that in most cases, a “likelihood of confusion” test governs both determinations, the right to use and the right to register are not necessarily coextensive rights – defeating… Continue Reading

Description of a Trademark with the USPTO

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

Continuing our discussion — from yesterday and the day before – about the description of a mark provided to the USPTO during the registration process, the below images from two unrelated federally-registered, non-verbal logos for banking services, help tell another related story:                       As the links… Continue Reading

Pepsi Gets Grip on MLB All-Star Extravaganza

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

How cool is it to have the MLB All-Star Game and related events, right here in Minneapolis? Very. As the advertisement shows, Pepsi is playing a large role in the event, as the “Official Soft Drink” of the MLB All-Star Game. As attractive as the ad is, sadly, I suspect that only trademark types and… Continue Reading

Apple’s Word Count for Non-Verbal Branding

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

A picture is said to say a thousand words, and ironically that is almost literally and exactly true when it comes to Apple’s focus on non-verbal icon branding. A week before the 4th of July, Apple filed these three non-verbal trademark applications: Clicking on each will take you to the detailed USPTO information for each application,… Continue Reading

It’s ‘MERICA Weekend

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Trademarks, USPTO

July 4th weekend usually makes me think of three things:  the cabin, my favorite random historical facts about Presidents (did you know this?), and the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, I always encourage people on July 4th to read the Declaration of Independence, which includes one of the first usages of one of the most… Continue Reading

Update: Ikea Voids the Warranty on its Demand Letter

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Goodwill, Infringement, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

A few weeks back, we discussed IKEA’s claim of trademark infringement against the popular website, IKEAhackers.net, and the resulting online backlash. In what’s become an increasingly common result, IKEA has reportedly backed off from its demand letter: We want to clarify that we deeply regret the situation at hand with  IKEAhackers. It has of course… Continue Reading

Is it Roomba or is it Rosie? A New World of Co-Created Identity

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Technology, Trademarks

- Jason Voiovich, Vice President, Marketing, Logic PD 80% of owners name their Roomba. Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot (the maker of said autonomous vacuum cleaners) dropped this unexpected bomb during an interview with Celeste Biever from New Scientist.  The subhead of the article asks the obvious question (why do consumers name inanimate objects) without really answering it… Continue Reading