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!
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,” that is,… Continue Reading
Everyone knows if you really want to get zero calories from a beverage without any strings attached, you have to drink water. But what if you hate water? Try sparkling water! Look how exciting it is: If sparkling water is the remedy to plain old boring water, why are some trademarks for sparkling water so… Continue Reading
“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… Continue Reading
Growing up with a farm in the family, I learned early on that Nothing Runs Like Deere®. As people tend to do, we named all of the tractors – after Masters of the Universe characters, of course. There was a front-loader type tractor of a brand I don’t recall named Skelator, another old tractor named… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading