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Category Archives: Trademarks

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Hawking a New Mascot

Posted in Branding, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

The big mascot news over the past year has been in the NFL, as Washington fights to maintain its registrations for the REDSKINS mark. As that dispute continues, the University of North Dakota tried to put to rest its longstanding issues regarding its previous use of the name “The Fighting Sioux.” In 2012, UND dropped… Continue Reading

3D Scanning Jesus in Brazil

Posted in Advertising, Copyrights, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

– Derek Mathers, Business Development Manager, Worrell Last week, in the 3D printing class I teach at the University of Minnesota, we discussed the legal and ethical issues surrounding the replication of physical goods and intellectual property. Typically, this conversation involves issues like the increasing availability of 3D printable gun files, replicating secret objects from… Continue Reading

Pronounce this, Utepils, and I’ll buy you a beer.

Posted in Branding, Food, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

—Aaron Keller, Managing Principal at Capsule Here’s something to rock the stereocilia on the inside of your ears for awhile. How do you pronounce this beer name? Utepils You T Pills? Oot Er Pillss? Ute Pills? A tee pills? You Tee Piles? You T P ills? Any other possibilities? The Minnesota brand has claimed it is Norwegian… Continue Reading

Technology and Trademark Tantrums

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Guest Bloggers, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC Things that can potentially upset people can also really benefit a lot of people. —Aktarer Zaman, Founder of Skiplagged Last week, Tim wrote a great post about a recent lawsuit filed by In-N-Out Burger against DoorDash, a food delivery startup. DoorDash is an on-demand delivery service that allows… Continue Reading

Is Ronald McDonald Lovin’ This Fryday?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks

When I recently snapped the above image of a t-shirt on display at a large retailer in the Twin Cities, it made me want to ask the same question many survey experts will ask of respondents to determine whether a likelihood of confusion exists in the marketplace: Who put this out? What percentage of respondents… Continue Reading

It’s Not Delivery, It’s Infringement.

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

We’re not talking pizza, we’re talking burgers. Not just any burgers, either, we’re talking In-N-Out burgers. As any California transplant will tell you, no other burger from any other restaurant comes close. In-N-Out has more than just burgers; it also has French fries, shakes, and drinks. They also have a drive-thru if you don’t want… Continue Reading

Peeple who need people

Posted in Branding, Guest Bloggers, Idea Protection, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

– Laurel Sutton, Senior Strategist & Linguist at Catchword Brand Name Development In late September of 2015, tech media worked itself into a frenzy about the launch of an app called Peeple, which was supposed to give everyone the opportunity to rate and review every person you know. “People do so much research when they… 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


Posted in Famous Marks, First Amendment, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB

  In appealing the cancellation of six trademarks, the Washington Redskins filed their opening brief in the Fourth Circuit this week.  Cancellation of the team’s REDSKINS trademarks was upheld by a federal district court in July.  The marks were deemed “disparaging” under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which denies trademark protection to marks that… Continue Reading

And the Oscar goes to . . .

Posted in Domain Names, Law Suits, Trademarks

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is planning to appeal a September judgment finding that GoDaddy did not violate anti-cybersquatting laws. Part of the Academy’s claim centered around the common practice of having “parked pages” which are basically placeholders sites. The practice allows a domain owner to reserve a domain until it finds… Continue Reading

Will Purple Reign, as a Color Trademark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Counterfeits, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, FDA Approval, International, Law Suits, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Trademarks

Today, we’re not talking about that Purple Rain, that Color Purple, or those Purple People Eaters, and we’re especially not talking today about Purple Gloves, Purple Bags, Purple Jackets, Purple Candy Wrappers, or Purple Tags, no today, we’re talking about “The Purple Pill,” a/k/a Today’s Purple Pill — AstraZeneca’s blockbuster Nexium brand acid reflux medication…. Continue Reading


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

You might be familiar with the popular mid-90s commercials suggested by the title of this post.  However, the intention of this post is about the use of trademarks on beer to refuse trademark protection for wineries and vice versa, which is an increasing problem for the growing craft alcohol industry. Recently an Austrailian company, Innvopak… Continue Reading

A Few Weekend Views and Brand Sighting(s)

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fashion, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, SoapBox, Trademarks

My daughter captured some artsy pics from our beautiful Fall weekend, can you guess where we were? I’ll give you three visual hints: Those clues weren’t all that helpful, I suppose, so how about these souvenirs and brand sighting? But, what brand sighting is this really, are there actually two here, one overlaid on the… Continue Reading

The Clinton Trademark Clause?

Posted in Famous Marks, Infringement, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

At this early stage in the 2016 election cycle, it’s difficult to predict much of anything, but if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination and, ultimately, the presidency, I can say for certain it will have an unprecedented effect on a lesser-known quirk of trademark law. Many practitioners and laypersons are familiar with the provisions… Continue Reading

The Board Lends a Blow to Celebrities

Posted in Famous Marks, Fashion, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks, TTAB

The celebrity known as will.i.am from the musical group the Black Eyed Peas sought to register three marks for “I AM” in connection with cosmetics, cell phones, artificial eyelashes, sunglasses, and brass wrist cuff bracelets, among other goods. In three precedential opinions,the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“Board”) refused to register these marks based on… Continue Reading

Airline Brand Strategery: It’s Transfarency

Posted in Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Earlier this month Southwest Airlines launched a brand new ad campaign called “Transfarency,” which is said to highlight the airline’s “low-fare credo and its lack of bag fees, change fees or hidden fees for passengers.” Transparency seems to be the buzz word in branding and marketing circles lately, so what better way to communicate it… Continue Reading

Louisville Slugger and the Flying Dutchman

Posted in Agreements, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

Honus Wagner (aka the Flying Dutchman) was one of early baseball’s great players. He was actually among the original five inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936 – along with Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. In 1905 he joined with Louisville Slugger to produce the first baseball bat with… Continue Reading

Ads Touting Function Shoot Down Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about brand owners who shoot themselves in the foot with their advertising. And, I’m sure it won’t be the last. As we’ve discussed before, touting the function of a product design feature can kill any hope of owning non-traditional trademark protection in that feature. The latest example from… Continue Reading

When Brands Get Personal, Do They Lose Their Identity?

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

Marketing has always been an exercise in getting consumers to make a connection with a brand.  As our friend Seth Godin once said “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the story that you tell.”   With the widespread use of social media like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, those stories are… Continue Reading

Apple and The World’s Most Public Privacy Policy

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Contracts, Marketing, Search Engines, Technology, Trademarks

It bears mentioning when one of the world’s most famous brands releases one of the world’s most prominent and readable privacy policies. That’s just what Apple did this week, and the message to other brands is clear – privacy policies can be a massive marketing opportunity, not just an obscure legal nuisance. Every business that… Continue Reading