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Category Archives: USPTO

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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

Brewing Brewery Brawl: Busch Not Happy with NATTY

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Infringement, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

You know that beer that you would drink in a basement, but now that you acknowledge that you are actually an adult, you would not be caught dead buying in a liquor store or requesting at a bar or restaurant?  We’ve all got one.  Having spent my college drinking days in “the good land”, my… Continue Reading

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

Posted in Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six ”Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans. Thanks for your patience in waiting for my perspective on the subject — you know I’m thrilled if you know me well, if you know of my involvement in the… Continue Reading

Rubber Hits the Road: Rust-Oleum Trademark Case Leaves TTAB for Minnesota Federal Court

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, Product Packaging, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Lately we’ve been discussing more and more the difference between the right to register a trademark and the right to use a trademark. In many trademark disputes the perfect forum for an amicable resolution is the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) of the USPTO. The TTAB can be a cost effective forum for parties to achieve… Continue Reading

Gia Nother Wine Bottle Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, International, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Combing through the USPTO’s recently approved non-verbal trademark registrations revealed this little gem with Francis Ford Coppola’s name on the label (but not claimed as part of the mark): Here is the USPTO drawing on the left, showing the claimed mark without any words or colors: So, besides claiming a broader scope of rights in… Continue Reading

(Just) the Right to Register a Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Every so often there is a moment when trademark types, marketing types and brand owners need to pay close attention to where the law could be headed. Today, I’m sounding the alarm. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to follow the advice it recently sought and received from the U.S. Solicitor General (SG) of the Department of Justice, those of… Continue Reading

What’s In Your Wallet, a Cafe?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

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 services using the same iconic tagline, slogan, and question. By 2011, it had achieved so much traction that What’s in Your Wallet? was inducted into the… Continue Reading

SKEE THE PEOPLE: Bar games, brewskies, and trademark disputes

Posted in Genericide, Social Media, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

In addition of course to good beer and good friends, a good bar for me is defined by a good game: photo hunt (the NSFW version) and foosball at Murphy’s, bar olympics at Steny’s (where I dominated at the tricycle races), volleyball at Fat Daddy’s, bocce ball in the basement of Half Time Rec, lawn… Continue Reading

Fair Use of GM’s Corvette Stingray?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Genericide, Goodwill, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions: Is there any doubt that the automobile depicted in the Costco advertisement is a Corvette Stingray? If so, HiConsumption should resolve any lingering questions. How did… Continue Reading

New v. Old: Was Tesla’s Model E Blocked by the Model T?

Posted in Agreements, Branding, Famous Marks, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s a rare phenomenon in the 21st century when a US start-up car company can make commercially viable vehicles essentially from scratch, let alone one using new technology and bucking the dealership model.  Tesla’s been in the news a lot recently – fires, new lithium battery factories in the US (curiously the largest lithium deposits… Continue Reading

Calling Non-Traditional Trademarks By Name

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

Things that are worth talking about need names. Good, distinctive names are best. As you may recall, last year we wrote this about non-verbal logos needing names: “Marketing types, when brand owners operate in the world of non-verbal logos, isn’t spreading the news by word of mouth more difficult without a word to bring the image… Continue Reading

Hours of Energy, But No Trademark Registration

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

The energy drink businesses is big, big business. From Red Bull and Monster to that strange 35 ounce purple can that you saw in a gas station once, consumers love energy drinks. Along with Red Bull and Monster, 5-Hour Energy is one of the most successful and recognizable brands. Innovation Ventures, LLC, the owner of the… Continue Reading

Ola Crapola!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Crapola sounds like something worth saying on the way to Chicago, after discovering the size of your PowerPoint file is too large to get through the recipient’s firewall, and then realizing the USB flash drive containing your inspiring presentation to FUSE conference attendees remains on your desk back in Minneapolis. Perhaps an even stronger word might be appropriate, if… Continue Reading

Twilight Trademark Trial Now on Horizon

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, USPTO

Another father-daughter trip to Bath & Body Works (BBW) this past weekend revealed that his and her Twilight Woods personal body care products are still available for sale: Still, because ten days ago, the federal district court in the Southern District of New York rejected BBW’s attempt to have the trademark infringement and dilution claims –… Continue Reading

The “Civil War” With No Opposition – Notice of Allowance to Oregon for Football Rivalry

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Work brought me to Harrisburg, Pa. during the first part of this week.  Two colleagues and I finished with our business early Wednesday, so we took in the sights at the National Civil War Museum, which sits atop a marvelous hill overlooking the Susquehanna River Valley.  If you ever have occasion to be in Harrisburg, the… Continue Reading

Droning On and On, About A Trademark?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Technology, Trademarks, USPTO

Months after Amazon’s recent media ploy, drones continue to capture news headlines. Hours ago, an AP story ran, suggesting that the Federal Aviation Administration’s present ban on commercial drones will result in global competitors flying right by the U.S., leaving us in their economic dust, as other countries around the globe embrace the commercial use of drones…. Continue Reading

Oz The Saying Goes…

Posted in Branding, Copyrights, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Goodwill, Loss of Rights, Television, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

There’s no place like home. Just be careful where and how you say it. It is common knowledge among lawyers that copyright protection does not normally extend to titles, words, or short phrases. Movies, politicians, and our family and friends constantly quote books, movies, and famous politicians, actors, and others. From a trademark perspective, we see famous quotes… Continue Reading