DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Category Archives: Almost Advice

Subscribe to Almost Advice RSS Feed

Change Your Name Part 2

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Domain Names, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Last year I wrote a “Change Your Name Already” blog post about Overstock.com on DuetsBlog which described the painful way that Overstock.com was trying to communicate that their name did not fit what they were doing as a business…”we are so much more!” My response was to politely suggest that they call… Continue Reading

Update #2: No Mo MoMaCha (For Now)

Posted in Almost Advice, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

There’s been a major update in the trademark infringement lawsuit brought by the Museum of Modern Art (“MoMA”) against the cafe and art gallery, MoMaCha in New York City. MoMA’s motion for a preliminary injunction was recently granted by Judge Louis Stanton of the Southern District of New York. As we discussed previously, the infringement allegations by MoMA were compelling, and it appears… Continue Reading

How to Master the Patentese of Trademarks

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

Since launching almost ten years ago, we’ve focused on helping and guiding marketing/branding professionals, as we seek to facilitate their graceful collaborations with trademark professionals. Our approach has strived to deliver valuable information, without the typical jargon and legalese. It seriously borders the obvious to say that folks who connect with us here know the… Continue Reading

Coke Opening ZERO Genericness Floodgates?

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

We’ve been writing about the COKE ZERO trademark for nearly a decade now, noting in 2014: “[I]t will be worth watching to see whether the [TTAB] finds that ‘ZERO’ primarily means Coke or just a soft drink having ‘no calories, you know, a drink about nothing . . . .’” Turns out, in May 2016, Coke obtained a favorable… Continue Reading

The Perils of Portmanteau Names

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

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word. Common language examples include smog, which is a combination of the words smoke and fog, and motel which combines motor and hotel. Some big companies used the portmanteau technique to develop… Continue Reading

Update: MOMACHA Triples Down, Expanding Despite Infringement Claim

Posted in Almost Advice, Infringement, Trademarks

Earlier this year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, known as “MoMA,” sued a cafe and art gallery, MoMaCha, also located in New York City, asserting claims of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and unfair competition. As discussed in my post a couple months ago, although MoMaCha has some well-founded arguments and defenses, the allegations… Continue Reading

No Gold TM Stars for This Red Star Brand!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Food, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks

As I’ve been known to do long before now, this past weekend I found myself gazing intently, this time, into the front label and back copy on this S. Pellegrino sparkling natural mineral water bottle: Putting aside the question of the shiny red star logo, which we already have bloviated about, here, a few years… Continue Reading

Safe = Death In Naming

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Summer is in full swing and that means baseball is top of mind for many of us. As a professional name developer, I continue to get a charge from the names of minor league baseball teams. Following up on my previous post on minor league baseball team names here are some controversial… Continue Reading

Good Translation/Bad Translation

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development When you finally identify a name for your business, product or service, you must conduct proper due diligence to ensure that you have a legal right to use the name. Trademark searches are mandatory and I’d strongly recommend talking to a great trademark attorney. A little upfront time and money… 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

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

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

Why DIY Branding Is A Bad Idea

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Social Media

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development A lot of entrepreneurs launch businesses behind a name they developed on their own. I get the fact that the name of the startup is intensely personal for the founders. Also money is tight in a startup and spending money to develop a name and do trademark research on it… 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

Is Artificial Intelligence The Future of Branding?

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development Janelle Shane is a research scientist who likes to play around with neural networks. Recently she’s been having fun investigating whether neural networks can replace traditional means of creative development. As a professional name developer, I’m watching her work closely because I’ve been told that my chosen career is about to… 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

Joint IP Ownership Rights

Posted in Agreements, Almost Advice, Contracts, Copyrights, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Trademarks

New ideas, creations, and business ventures are often the product of collaboration.  If lawyers had their way, a written agreement would precede every creative collaboration.  Of course, this is not the case.  Collaborators often do not seek advice of counsel, or see the need for an agreement, until after the new idea, creation, or venture… Continue Reading

Hello, My Name Is Dave

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development Mark Cuban held a variety of jobs in his youth including selling garbage bags door-to-door and being a bartender, a disco dancing instructor, and a party promoter. But one thing that frustrated him was bank overdraft fees. Now he’s helping to fund an app that claims it can help people… Continue Reading

You Get A Golden Ticket! You Get A Golden Ticket!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Famous Marks

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, the bigger holiday is approaching – at least for Chicagoland expatriates in the Twin Cities. That’s right, next week marks the grand opening of Portillo’s Hot Dogs in Woodbury, Minn. For those not aware, Portillo’s is a chain of Chicago-style hot dogs,… Continue Reading

Change Your Name Already!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Domain Names, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, SoapBox

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development I sometimes get asked by prospective clients if they should change their name, and I help them evaluate if a change is necessary. But sometimes there are stubborn companies who persist in marketing a name that is not right. Overstock.com is a prime example of this behavior. In early… Continue Reading

The 50% Solution

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Squirrelly Thoughts

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Years ago, I was washing my hands in the office men’s room. Next to me was a wheelchair-bound guy washing his at the appropriately lower sink. I was thinking that the lower sink was a good idea when I noticed that the paper towel dispensers were all at “regular” height…. Continue Reading