Clearly consumer packaged
Just so you know, I'm all about brands and the law, both professionally and personally. I regularly annoy family and friends in retail stores by focusing on product labels—not to buy the product, but to read the fine print and ask, “Who owns these brands” and “Did they really register those marks?” To understand the depth of my passion for brands and helping clients achieve their business goals, legally, you must understand that my interest in business and branding goes back to the late 1960s. The very first brand I recall profiting from was Jiffy®. Even before being old enough to deliver papers for the Iowa City Press Citizen, between episodes of Bewitched®, I would bake cupcakes and walk my finished product door-to-door, sampling along the way, of course, throughout our Kimball Road neighborhood, mostly selling them to husbands whose wives didn't bake enough (probably watching Bewitched®), according to them at least. One hundred percent profit margins are easy when you can use the necessary equipment and raw materials directly from Mom's kitchen. Mass producing "hot pads" (pot holders, not real estate) and selling them door-to-door was another favorite childhood business venture at the ripe age of six. Graduating to lawn-mowing age worked well with my paper routes because I could easily see who needed help cutting their grass and, in some cases, avoiding neighborhood ridicule. Yes, you're right, Dad loaned me his Lawn-Boy® mower on weekends, rent-free, and even bought the gasoline (Dad was not brand loyal at all with gasoline, so I have no brand memory there). Another pure profit opportunity. Let's just say that Mom and Dad were generous, unsecured investors in my development and future. Thanks Mom and Dad, I now understand the meaning of overhead and capital improvements! I bucked a lot of family tradition and jokes to become a lawyer and a trademark guru. There is not one lawyer in the family tree, as far as my sister knows (and she would know). Nearly everyone is, or was, a teacher of some kind. That must be where my passion for educating others about the legal implications of branding comes from. Basically, I have been speaking about the legal implications of branding since the early 90s, after permitting my pharmacist’s license to expire (after being a victim of an armed robbery where Dilaudid® was on the top of the gunman’s list of desired controlled substances), and shortly after working for an 86 year old federal judge whose chambers had a nice view of the White House in Washington, D.C. While I’d like to say that the movie My Cousin Vinny inspired me to become a lawyer, it was released two years after I graduated from law school. So, really, I guess it just inspired me to be a better lawyer and leader. For now, you can call me a “thought-leader” in the trademark world, and the thankful leader of a very talented group of creative and insightful lawyers and staff who are dedicated to putting our intellectual property clients in the best possible position to achieve their business goals. When I'm not in the office, "cracking the whip," making sure others in the group keep their bios on this blog short and sweet, working (which isn't to say I'm not still thinking about my clients' businesses), or soaking it up in the hot-tub with my soul-mate, I am a dedicated family man - a.k.a. the chauffeur. Until they reach the driving age, I'll continue to shuttle my four wonderful kids around to their athletic and other events, at which you can find me cheering in the stands.
A week ago, over at The Fashion Law, an Independent Source for Law, Business and Culture, an enjoyable trip down memory lane was published about the history of trademark protection regarding Louboutin’s red-colored sole mark.
What I hadn’t seen before now is Christian Louboutin’s quote “then it popped”:
“The concept shoe, with its
Since the origin of trademark use guidelines, there has been immutable, black and white legal direction against using brand names (and the trademarks that protect them), as nouns or verbs. If you’ve seen more flexible rules, please share.
Highlighting the …
The example is a harsh reminder to trademark counsel of the…
One of the problems with “trademark bullying” can be a failure to comprehend the legal standard governing most trademark disputes: Likelihood of confusion.
Another is a failure to appreciate the subjective nature of whether the legal line has been crossed or whether there has been an attempted trademark overreach.
Understanding that trademark rights …
As you know, I’m not a fan of the USPTO’s trend toward informational refusals, especially when the “evidence” more supports a mere descriptiveness refusal.
Having said that, this RENT ME informational command screams incapable:
Rent Me caught my eye,…
One of my friends, when playing blackjack and asked to “cut the deck” after it has been shuffled, consistently admonishes without hesitation: “Thin to win.”
Given the trademark story for today, you may end up believing the opposite.
A 6-year trademark fight between Frito-Lay and Real Foods ended this month.
Frito-Lay opposed Real Foods’…
From a trademark perspective, every season is for avoiding genericness, right?
After all, generic designations are part of the public domain, they aren’t own-able.
When thinking about brands comprising religious matter, I think of EZEKIEL 4:9.
The EZEKIEL 4:9 brand has been registered as a trademark for bread since 1990.