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Category Archives: Advertising

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At INTA 2018: Trademarks and Free Speech

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Yesterday in Seattle — where nearly 11,000, sleepless, brand protection, trademark, and IP professionals from 150 countries have registered and converged for INTA’s 140th Annual Meeting — yours truly had the distinct pleasure of sharing some thoughts on the intersection between federal trademark registration and Free Speech. Here are some before, during and after pics:… Continue Reading

Hamm It Up? The Latest Brand to Verb It Up!

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

It’s been a little while since the last example we’ve shared showing a brand turning its face, or a blind eye, on age-old rigid trademark advice, counseling against using a brand name as a verb. Given the more common trend of many alcoholic beverage brands focusing attention and their messaging on drinking responsibly, MillerCoors has made… Continue Reading

Rapala’s 2018 Fishing Opener Billboard Ads

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

What would Mother’s Day be, at least in Minnesota, without the fishing opener near by? What would another fishing opener be without Rapala’s distinctive slate of billboard ads? Here is an engaging pair of billboard ads currently running, if you’ve seen others, let us know: My personal favorite between them would be Wassup, dock? — love the double… Continue Reading

Uncertain Case of Google Trademark Fair Use

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

Aren’t digital advertising billboards amazing? My iPhone captured this rolling series of images just yesterday, for a health care organization using the Google trademark in the Minneapolis skyway: My questions, permission, co-branding, no permission, but classic or nominative fair use? Is Google flattered? Free advertising? Do they care? Should they care? Discuss, to quote John Welch,… Continue Reading

The Uncertain Case of Deadwood Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Last week, I enjoyed the privilege of returning to Iowa City (where it all began) for Executive Leadership Board Meetings at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Great meetings there! During a stroll through downtown, I was reminded of Deadwood, a legendary Iowa City tavern, so I snapped a few photos, having long forgotten the creative tagline — Institute of… Continue Reading

Owning Some TM Happiness: Bubly ≠ Bubbly?

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

For a few months now, the Minneapolis skyway system has been flooded with a variety of fresh, creative, eye-popping advertising to promote Pepsi’s new bubly sparkling water collection: Although not a lie (the bottles I’ve seen clearly reference Pepsi), you’d never know from this ad or the trademark registration that Pepsi is behind bubly, since an Irish entity… Continue Reading

Registration of a Very Personal Brand Name

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Search Engines, Social Media, Social Networking, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

How much do I believe in federal registration of trademarks and brand names? Well, this much: I’ve always been a big fan of practicing what you preach. Actually walking the talk. Not just talk. That mindset helps explain why we stuck with the suggestive name of this blog, even after the experts recommended against it several times, for SEO and… Continue Reading

White Color Trademark Goes Up in Flames

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

A couple of years ago, our friend John Welch over at the TTABlog reported about a white color trademark that had acquired distinctiveness, according to a rare precedential TTAB decision: No, that’s not a roll of toilet paper, it’s a preformed gunpowder charge for use in muzzleloading rifles. And the applied-for mark was described as… Continue Reading

What You Need to Un-Suspend a Trademark

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

Suspended high above Chelsea Market in New York City are these eye-catching ads for OWYN: That’s a new brand for me, I’m unsure how to pronounce it (Own, Owen or Oh Win), but OWYN apparently stands for Only What You Need — for dietary supplement protein products that “use nutritious, plant-based ingredients and leave out inflammatory animal products and… Continue Reading

Artificial Intelligence Update: How About These Tomatoes!

Posted in Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development About 6 months ago I wrote a blog post about the future of name development and the use of Artificial Intelligence to name things. I also made a prediction that AI was going to get better and better as it practices name development. Since that time, AI is getting better… Continue Reading

Carvana and Google: Co-Branding Nirvana?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

Carvana — online car dealer and operator of “a higher state of car buying” — sports a halo in its non-verbal logo shown above, but is it an angel when using the Google name and logo in t.v. ads? In other words, is the use licensed by Google or could it be defended successfully without permission as trademark nominative fair use?… Continue Reading

Showcase Design and Vampire Video

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Recently, I came across a snappy-looking website with unconventional design for a small consulting company. It’s cleverly done, easy to navigate, and appears to have good information. I say “appears to have” because there’s one slight problem: it’s challenging to read it. The design motif has small white type on large… Continue Reading

When Does My Pillow Become Your Windfall?

Posted in Advertising, Agreements, Articles, Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

Mike Lindell, has built an impressive business around a pretty simple brand name and trademark: We’ve previously written about the MyPillow trademark, noting the apparently narrow scope of rights it enjoys, as a result of the coexistence with some pretty similar marks, including this one: Earlier this year, My Pillow filed a complaint in federal district court in… Continue Reading

Glade No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and… Chanel No. 5?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Smell, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Recently, a friend and I were watching The Bachelor—I know, I should be ashamed. During one of the commercial breaks, a spot appeared on-screen showing a woman wearing an elegant dress walking through a hallway. She turns into a doorway, and blue, shimmering light projects onto her face, as if she was underwater. A speaker… Continue Reading

Familiarity Breeds Content, or The Power of Fait Accompli

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

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Awhile ago, I wrote about how casting decisions almost always make someone cranky. Lately I’ve been seeing lots of commercials that speak to the flip side of the crankiness factor. Creative teams are always on the lookout for ways to connect with the zeitgeist. Most of the time, if you see… Continue Reading

Amazon Smiles With Iconic Non-Verbal Logo?

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

Yesterday, while on the highway heading to a client meeting, I noticed a truck that looked like this: It reminded me of the plentiful ink we’ve spilled over the years about singular iconic non-verbal logos that can truly stand alone. Remember Seth Godin’s generous insights shared, here? Given the dominant display of Amazon’s non-verbal logo shown above (without the Amazon… Continue Reading

Talk to Chuck, Trade Like Chuck, or Chuckit?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Television, Trademarks, Truncation, USPTO

A recent advertisement caught my ear because it involved financial services offered by a guy named Charles Hughes a/k/a Chuck Hughes and the catchy marketing phrase Trade Like Chuck: It instantly reminded me of a piece I wrote in 2010 called: Exposing Two-Face Brands. One of the branding truncation examples I wrote about there noted… Continue Reading

“Brother Thelonious” Monk’s Likeness Protectable Decades After Death

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Earlier this month, a California federal judge kept alive a suit brought by the estate of famous jazz musician Thelonious Monk against North Coast Brewing Co. for trademark infringement and infringement of the right of publicity. The dispute centers around North Coast’s popular “Brother Thelonious” Beligan-style abbey ale (beer seems to be on the mind here… Continue Reading

Coming Soon: Creative Brand Protection Event

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Domain Names, Fair Use, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

We’re always looking forward, but every once in a while we look in the rear-view mirror and become amazed at how far we’ve come since our humble beginnings a short nine years ago. Well, it’s almost time to celebrate another birthday here at DuetsBlog, and if we make it to March 5th, Duey will be… Continue Reading

Snickers Has a Cross Section TM Registration!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

It is frequently becoming more and more difficult to remember all the topics we’ve covered here over the last — almost — nine years. A recent Snickers end cap display jogged my memory: Turns out, eight months into this little adventure we call DuetsBlog, I wrote a blog post called Delicious Trademarks: Candy Bar Cross-Section Trademarks? Then, a… Continue Reading

Are You Leading With Buddha’s Hand Too?

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

Size and prominence of wording on business signs, product labels and hangtags will often emphasize brand signals. Yet, sometimes decisions are made to scream generic names instead. Never having seen the above shown wacky fresh fruit until recently, my assumption was that Buddha’s Hand represented a clever brand name for a certain type of citron… Continue Reading