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Category Archives: Branding

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Update: “Square Donuts” Dispute Headed to Settlement

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Earlier this year I posted about a trademark dispute regarding the use of the term “Square Donuts” for square-shaped donuts. The case involved proceedings both in federal court and at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), between the Square Donuts cafe in Indiana (which claimed decades of prior use and a trademark registration); and the… Continue Reading

Is Apple iPhone Billboard Advertising Xs-ive?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Technology, Trademarks

As I mentioned last week, Apple’s present iPhone Xs billboard advertising campaign is ubiquitous at the moment, especially this image, totally flooding the Minneapolis skyway system, and beyond: Putting aside whether the unique lighting and reflective nature of the indoor billboards do justice to the art of the iPhone Xs ad, I’m also questioning whether the Xs repetition might be, excessive?… Continue Reading

SCOUTING Trademark Infringement: Girl Scouts v. Boy Scouts

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA)’s decision last year to end its boys-only policy was met with mixed reactions.  Some lauded it as a progressive victory.  Others, including former Girl Scouts, viewed it as a thinly-veiled corporate strategy and a loss for girls.  As part of an early adopter program, more than 3,000 girls have… Continue Reading

Are You Ready for The Battle at First Avenue?

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

The anticipation is building for this inaugural battle of the bands to raise money for a great cause: “The Twin Cities advertising and communications industry lacks diversity. It’s a serious challenge. And it’s a problem that won’t be solved overnight. But there’s no reason we can’t have a little fun as we work to ensure… Continue Reading

What About the SuperAmerica Trademark?

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

Loyal readers know that trademark rights are dynamic, use-it-or-lose-it intellectual property rights. So, when signage announces a name change, it jumpstarts the question of trademark abdonment: The above signage and reporting around the sale and rebrand of SuperAmerica convenience stores seem to suggest the SuperAmerica name will cease to be used, bringing Speedway coast-to-coast. Time will… Continue Reading

DuestBlog Reflections: Embracing Tension

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

As the drum beat grows for our interview of Seth Godin tomorrow, it is only fitting that we are reminded of the importance of embracing tension and the ruckus we’ve set out to make here. Seth’s fabulous and penetrating new book called This is Marketing, will be released tomorrow, no doubt another best-seller, a must-read for… Continue Reading

DuetsBlog Reflections: “In The Beginning”

Posted in Articles, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Trademarks

Throughout our nearly decade-long journey and exploration called “DuetsBlog,” we have been blessed and we remain grateful to have met so many incredible new friends along the way. Next Tuesday, we have the remarkable privilege of publishing here on DuetsBlog an interview with Seth Godin, a generous person, overflowing with thoughtful insights and valuable perspectives. In the meantime, many… Continue Reading

The New England Patriots Are Ready To Battle Off The Field

Posted in Articles, Branding, Idea Protection, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Technology, Trademarks

  An NFL team and an NBA team are duking it out over trademarks with the word “UPRISING” to be used with eSports. What is eSports you may ask? It is professional competitive video gaming. Anyone with a teenager has probably heard of Fortnite. Fortnite is a world-wide phenomenon. Over three nights during TwitchCon (which… Continue Reading

Illegal Brand Clone, or Evolved Inspiration?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

A loyal reader brought to our attention the logo for a rather interesting chiropractic practice: Without too much pain, can we all agree on the likely inspiration for the above name and logo? What’s really interesting is that the name Thorassic Park has been federally-registered since 2004, so there is little doubt that the names… Continue Reading

Kevin O’Leary Not Nuts About Mr Wonderful

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

We’ve been stalking Kevin O’Leary’s nutty Mr. Wonderful trademark application, for a while now. In April, we thought the USPTO would refuse registration of Mr. Wonderful for nuts, based on this: In June, we were shocked to see the USPTO missed issuing the obvious refusal, and in August, we noted and reported that The Wonderful… Continue Reading

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

Leaving Zero to the Imagination in Branding

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

We’ve been down this road before, some themes intersect, and trademark value is filtered out: The intersecting themes on tap for the day are: Zero, Branding, Trademarks, and Loss of Rights. ZEROWATER is a perfectly suggestive, inherently distinctive, and federally-registered trademark with “incontestable” status as a source-identifier for “water filtering units for household use.” Judging from the specimens… Continue Reading

Whistling While You Work to Parody a Brand?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Food, Marketing, Product Packaging, Trademarks

This is quite a collection of art pieces, inspired by some pretty recognizable candy bar brands: The fine print reads: “Each handmade . . . sculpture is a real working whistle!” Parodies, anyone? Here’s a question, does the functionality of these pieces make them any less expressive as art, any more likely to be confused, any more likely… Continue Reading

Verbing a Wine Brand Won’t Make You a Star

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

Welcome to another edition of trademark stories that are inspired by billboard advertisements: This one was captured for obvious reasons, if you’re familiar with our interest in brandverbing: Just Verb It? A Legal Perspective on Using Brands As Verbs: Part I Just Verb It? Part II: A Legal Perspective on Using Brands as Verbs Just Verb It? Part… Continue Reading

Look-For Louboutin Kick-in-the-Pants Shoes?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, International, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

A recent Mall of America and Nordstrom shopping trip (with visiting extended family), coupled with some initial moments of admitted boredom, led me to wandering through the shoe department: Let’s just say, the stroll through the shoe department made it all worthwhile, to capture the above image, showing Louboutin’s latest fashion sense, leading to my mental… Continue Reading

When Are You in a Lather About Trademarks?

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

As you know, I enjoy telling trademark stories about soaps encountered on my various trips: Lather® (brand) soap recently caught my eye — and the lens of my iPhone — while in Palo Alto. Interestingly, the USPTO has treated the word as inherently distinctive, in Lather’s registrations. In other words, not merely descriptive, even though using the product surely produces some…. Continue Reading

Is a Wellness Brand Vaped by Nicotine?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, FDA Approval, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Juut, an award-winning salon and spa founded in Minneapolis, has grown over the last 30 years, expanding into Arizona and California, with a focus not only on beauty, but health and wellness. Juut was founded by David Wagner (author of Life as a Daymaker — How to Change the World by Making Someone’s Day), naturally the Juut name means: “to uplift humanity… Continue Reading

UGG Is Not Synonymous With A Type of Boot

Posted in AlphaWatch, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Marketing, Patents, Trademarks

The popular UGG® branded sheepskin boots are at the heart of a dispute in the Northern District of Illinois. Deckers Outdoor Corp. (“Deckers”) owns 29 federal registrations for the trademark UGG in connection with numerous goods and services, including footwear, clothing, wallets, passport covers, plush toys and retail store services. The company also has four… Continue Reading

Creative Brand Protection II — A Picture Book

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

Another Creative Brand Protection event is in the books, thanks to our incredible panel of experts: Karen Brennan, Senior Director, Intellectual Property, Best Buy Anne Hall, Technology Strategy Manager-Life Sciences, University of Minnesota Aaron Keller, Co-Author: The Physics of Brand; Co-Founder Capsule Design Tim Sitzmann, Trademark and Brand Protection Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine Their insights… Continue Reading