View my professional biography

People often ask me why my name is spelled the way it is. When I was born, my mother added an extra “e” in the middle to distinguish it from being confused with the word “drake,” meaning “male duck.” The strategy was mostly successful. (I still earned the nickname “the mallard” for a short time and there was even a duck call at a tenth grade basketball game or two, to be used on the rare occasion I scored any points).

Having an uncommon name, I noticed any other “Drake.” Whether it was the secret identity of my favorite cartoon character, a hotel in Chicago, a university in Iowa, a person everybody loves (except George), a fictional soap opera doctor, or a rapper from Toronto. But it wasn’t until I was in law school studying trademark law and likelihood of confusion that I actually experienced firsthand the confusion of being confused with another “Drake.” A fellow student casually commented that they did not know I was such a fan of salsa dancing (I wasn’t) but it turns out another “Drake” was and had posted a request for dancing partners on some law school bulletin board. This felt like infringement to me!

 

My understanding of trademark law has come a long way since, but it is with this personal experience that I practice and write about trademark law. On DuetsBlog, you will find posts from me about my personal favorite brand and other personal topics of interest. I may occasionally take a controversial position, but only because I can – with that extra “e” in my name, even if my argument is questionable, one thing is certain: I’m not a quack!

At DuetsBlog, we never shy away from sharing our opinion.  It’s part of what makes us not Dr. No.  For over ten years, this has included opinions about interesting trademarks, non-traditional trademarks, boring trademarks, and controversial trademarks, and those are just from me, as well as our opinions on the opinions

Can a gang become a brand? This is a question asked in the new Netflix show, Trigger Warning,  produced by and starring Michael Render, AKA Killer Mike, one half of the Grammy-nominated rap group Run the Jewels.

Killer Mike of Run the Jewels performing at Pitchfork Chicago on

When we are not walking the trademark walk (or posting the trademark posts) we are talking the trademark talk.  Dear readers, I would like to invite you to join me and my esteemed colleague Patrick Gallagher, member of the Cozen O’Connor firm’s Trademark & Copyright Group, for a live online talk through the often

Like many new parents, my wife and I own a Boppy® infant support pillow.  Examining the packaging, I noticed an excellent example of “look-for advertising:”

Typically, look-for advertising is part of a campaign to build consumer recognition of a product design to a level where it can support a claim of “acquired distinctiveness,”

“It just kind of spontaneously happened. Nobody at a production meeting said, ‘OK, now we are going to start circling Twins fans at the ballpark.’ It’s just something that happened spontaneously that has caught fire.”

— Dick Bremer, 2002

Although we still have snow on the ground here in Minnesota, spring is officially here and

And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:19

Naming things is a fundamentally personal, human act that sometimes – in a profession all about brand names – we take for granted. It’s easy to forget when we are clearing, registering, and protecting names, that at a basic level we