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Category Archives: Advertising

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Classic Trademark Fair Use of Google Mark?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

North Memorial Health must be spending significant advertising dollars at the moment, with a variety of ads appearing all over the Minneapolis skyway system, above is one current example. In addition, there are a series of humorous and sarcastic TV ads that were designed to poke the bear of our broken health care system, congrats to Brandfire on… Continue Reading

This Friday: You Can Say Buh Bye to Dr. No!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Social Media, Trademarks

This Friday, yours truly will be presenting “Making Your Business Blogging Visible” at SME (Sales and Marketing Executives of Minnesota), and you can learn about all of the details here. Given the title, as you might have guessed, I’ll be sharing some perspectives on how DuetsBlog came to be, where we’ve been, how we’ve been doing what we… Continue Reading

Rosland Drops “What’s in Your Safe” Tagline?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

Cause and effect is difficult to establish when all the relevant facts have not been assembled. We certainly don’t claim to have all of them here, with Rosland Capital’s current TV commercial. But, it was easy to wonder about timing, after noticing William Devane’s omission of the previous “What’s in Your Safe?” tagline in favor of “Are You Safe?” — especially given… Continue Reading

Branding Stories Around The Lack of Memory

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

I’ve been meaning to write about a TV commercial for a while, but I keep forgetting to do it. Perhaps I need the very product being advertised in the commercial, because what gained my attention was the clever tagline following the brand name: Prevagen. The Name to Remember. Given the goods being sold, it struck… Continue Reading

What Is In A Name – A LOT!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Marketing, Product Packaging

The parent company of fashion giant Coach found out that there is a lot to a brand name. Coach’s strategic plan was to expand into a specialty retailer that would branch out beyond the COACH® brand.  To accomplish this strategy, Coach acquired both snazzy shoe company Stuart Weitzman and trendy Kate Spade & Co. In… Continue Reading

Some Subtle Stories Make Great Trademarks

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

One of my passions is to find common and favorable ground between legal and marketing types. One of the readings during week three of Seth Godin’s intensive altMBA workshop reminded me of a great example to illustrate how a valid marketing goal can align with strong legal protection. An excerpt from Seth’s All Marketers are Liars book was… Continue Reading

Does getaroom Make U Want 2 BookaRoom?

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

A tv commercial for yet another hotel booking website just caught my eye, called getaroom: This one was founded by a pair of lawyers, in fact, the same duo that founded Hotels.com. I was left wondering whether getaroom is federally-registered, and it is, for “providing travel lodging information services and travel lodging booking agency services… Continue Reading

Owning a (Wholesome) Four Letter Word

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

I’m not talking about those kinds of four letter words (by the way, we’re still awaiting the Brunetti decision to learn their fate), so today I’m talking about this wholesome kind: Inquiring minds may wonder (and interested alumni) how the University of Iowa might go about owning federally-registered rights in the word IOWA to convert that ™ symbol… Continue Reading

The Long and Short of Good Ads

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Recent travel on Aer Lingus and a perusal of The Boston Sunday Globe brought two very good ads to my attention. The first, which ran in the Aer Lingus on-board magazine, is a terrific marriage of great concept and excellent execution plus situational relevance: you’re on a plane on your way… Continue Reading

What Are You Thinking, Coke Zero?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB

  The above advertising billboard is plastered all over the Twin Cities at the moment, and it got me thinking, so here I am, once again, writing about Coke Zero, remember this can? Coke obtained a favorable decision from the TTAB early last year, ruling that ZERO is not generic for a soft drink category,… Continue Reading

Making Fair Use of the Super Bowl Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Over the weekend, the Star Tribune continued the growing drum beat of understandable excitement for Super Bowl LII, as it steadily approaches U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The article also plays the typical NFL-enabling drum beat of caution against local businesses that might see fit to fairly and truthfully reference the Super Bowl in some… Continue Reading

A Kind Demand Letter? Stranger Things Have Happened (Apologies)

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Infringement, Marketing

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Chicago pop-up bar “The Upside Down” rode a wave of popularity program all the way to Netflix’s legal department. And that’s where things took an unexpected turn! Okay, that lede could probably be less obviously playful. You might say the same thing about Netflix’s cease-and-desist letter to the operators of “The Upside Down.” Featuring… Continue Reading

Are pretzel crisps crumbling into genericness?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Marketing types and legal types who review labels, be well advised to choose words used carefully. In other words, if you believe you own rights in Pretzel Crisps as a trademark, it’s not wise to use the number of so-called “Crisps” as the serving size, especially with no trademark notice symbol. Frito-Lay’s successful 2014 generic… Continue Reading

PSL® Season Is Upon Us

Posted in Advertising, Branding

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Exult, lovers of autumn and decorative gourds – the air is crisp and the leaves are changing. And, in the treasured annual tradition, this week marked the release of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte – or PSL® as they may prefer to call it. In the spirit of the season, I sought to see… Continue Reading

2017 Minnesota State Fair Comes to a Close

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Well, it’s official, the 2017 Minnesota State Fair is almost in the books now, it came and went, without the longstanding Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds stand (notwithstanding a heroic #savethecurds campaign); it was instead replaced by Big Fat Bacon, shown above. Love the prominent use of the TM on the signage, even if it… Continue Reading

Game Over for Nestlé? Atari Sues Over “Breakout” Kit-Kat Ads

Posted in Advertising, Fair Use, Law Suits, Trademarks

For most of us, video games and candy go together perfectly, but that doesn’t mean they always get along. In fact, last week the “original” video game company, Atari Interactive, sued food and candy behemoth Nestlé in California federal court. What put Atari on tilt? It was Nestlé’s incorporation of the game play, layout, and… Continue Reading

Going Bananas Over the Eclipse

Posted in Advertising, Famous Marks, Food, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications As I perused The New York Times on Sunday Aug. 20th, Chiquita Banana burst forth amid all the brouhaha reporting with a full page of the best ad I’ve seen in a long time. I feel sorry for those who missed it, because most of us can use a good belly… Continue Reading

I’m Saying, I’m Down with the I’MN Slogan

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

Love the new Minnesota State Lottery advertising slogan: I’MN. Or, as one of my college age sons often says, when he’s in agreement with someone’s idea or proposal, I’m down. The lottery slogan cleverly plays off the affirmative and adoptive slang phrase “I’m in” (i.e., “Count me in”) — it also plays off the MN… Continue Reading

My Namesake Triumphs: Tiffany & Co. awarded $19.35 million

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Product Packaging, Trademarks

The four year saga ended (at least for now) with Tiffany & Co. being awarded for its vigorous fight to maintain its trademark and protect against genericide.  As previously reported, Tiffany & Co. filed suit against Costco Corporation (“Costco”) to protect its trademark with respect to engagement rings on Valentine’s Day in 2013.  (Read my… Continue Reading

Joust Do It? A New Form of Nike Battle Cry?

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

By now, you’re familiar with my enjoyment in capturing and sharing new billboard signage that hits the streets of the Twin Cities. Question, what tagline might have inspired this one? Was the Minnesota Renaissance Festival inspired by Nike’s famous “Just Do It” tagline? Almost four years ago now, we noted — in this gem from… Continue Reading

It’s as Suggestive as a Butter Knife for Steak

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

We’ve written quite a bit over the years about the Spectrum of Distinctiveness for trademarks, and the all-important difference between suggestive marks and merely descriptive ones, with only the former being allowed immediate rights based on first use. Creativity is what separates the power of suggestion from the weakness and limbo of descriptiveness. Remember the floating feather… Continue Reading

Titleist Trademark Tarnishment?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, First Amendment, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Wes Anderson, Attorney During today’s first round of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, many a golf ball bearing the famous TITLEIST cursive script will be lofted into the heavens – meanwhile, back on the ground, the brand’s owner is attempting to stamp out a lewd parody of its trademark. An online golf apparel company,… Continue Reading

Trick or Trademark? Mars Says Hershey’s Can’t Own “SCARY” Candy.

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

Sandwiched between 90 degree days in a Minnesota summer, the idea of Halloween wasn’t on my radar – until I learned about the latest dispute between candy giants Mars and Hershey’s. Mars and its subsidiary own many well-known candy brands, including M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Skittles, Life Savers, and others. Not to be outdone, Hershey maintains… Continue Reading