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Category Archives: Branding

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Cat Calling Attention to Women’s Footwear?

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

When ideas from different realms converge in a single moment of time, a new blog post is born. “Catcalling” — albeit a rebranded, reimagined, or redefined version of it — recently has been front and center in a political Twitter storm and remains a lightning rod in the non-stop news cycle. So, imagine my surprise also to see the sturdy Cat… Continue Reading

Billy Goats, Trademark Twins, and the Descriptive Limits of Language

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

I’ve been thinking about the nature of language lately, ever since I listened to a podcast about various philosophers who devoted their study to language. For example, Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, is famous for his work on the logic of language. A fundamental premise to his philosophy is that… Continue Reading

Will Mr. Wonderful Become a TM Nutcracker?

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

Two months ago, our attention seized on a nutty and woefully deficient USPTO examination of a trademark application to register — Mr. Wonderful — for roasted nuts, and nut-based snack foods, among other food products, given the prior WONDERFUL trademark rights owned by these folks: Just like clockwork, events now appear to be playing out as expected,… Continue Reading

Color Marks: Looking for Look-for Advertising

Posted in Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

These lime green building sites caught my eye and jogged my trademark memory. First, the future home of the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, at beam signing, on May 4, 2018: Second, the expansion of the Metro Transit headquarters near downtown Minneapolis, on June 12: Of course, the obviously common element of both building sites, besides… 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

Green Straws, Dots, Aprons, and Letters?

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Starbucks is moving away from green straws, actually any plastic straws, to live a little more green. So, we’re unlikely to see any straw trademark filings, despite decent look-for advertising. While Starbucks appears to have drawn the short straw at the USPTO on its efforts to federally-register a pair of green dot marks, appeals to the TTAB are… Continue Reading

Vacuum Wars: On-Product Comparative Ads?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Technology, Trademarks

When can a brand owner lawfully use a competitor’s trademark on the brand owner’s product? Over the years, we’ve lifted away a lot of dust on the hairy subjects of classic trademark fair use, nominative fair use, and comparative advertising, especially in the context of billboard ads. It isn’t every day we see comparative billboard ads actually affixed to… Continue Reading

Brands, Who Could Hang a Name on You?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, International, Marketing, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

Over the years, we’ve written much about trademark bullying. When the mantle fits, and when it doesn’t. When a brand has a realistic view of its rights, and when the claimed scope is bloated. We’ve never before written about “Ruby Tuesday,” neither the Rolling Stones’ song nor the struggling restaurant chain, until now — and… Continue Reading

Can a Word Which Means a Lot (Aloha) Mean Almost Nothing in Trademark?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Genericide, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

Hawaii seems to be on the mind here at DuetsBlog lately. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting three Hawaiian islands for the first time. While there, I quickly became acquainted with Hawaiian life and language. It’s a beautiful place; I recommend everyone visit. When I first landed on Kauai, the “garden island,” I… Continue Reading

Is Dr. Pepper Pulling (Hawaiian) Punches in Enforcement Efforts?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Trademarks

On a recent shopping trip, I couldn’t help but notice some interesting brand extensions inside and outside the stores. My encounter inside involved Burt’s Bees . The brand encompasses a wide variety of lip balms, lotions, cosmetics, and personal body care items. (pets, too). Yet I discovered a new addition to the lineup: Burt’s Bees… Continue Reading

Buc-ee’s Fights ‘Tooth and Nail’ For Total Texas Takedown

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Sight, Trademarks

Recently, we have been covering updates from a trademark infringement, dilution, and unfair competition action between Buc-ee’s and Choke Canyon, two rival Texas convenience stores with endless rows of gas pumps and checkout lanes (everything’s bigger in Texas, you know; even gas stations). About a month ago, a Texas jury found that the Choke Canyon… Continue Reading

Velcro Sequel Sticks With “Hook and Loop”

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

On the heels of discussing trademark genericide through the Anything is Popsicle prism yesterday, let us turn our attention back to Velcro, who is at it again, this time making a genericide sequel. The sequel is called “Thank You for Your Feedback — Don’t Say Velcro.” Like any sequel I’ve ever seen, I’m not feeling Velcro’s second… Continue Reading

Mission Popsicle: Telling You It’s a Brand?

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

Welcome to another edition of Genericide Watch, where we consider brands on the edge, working hard to maintain brand status and exclusive rights, while trying to avoid trademark genericide. The primary meaning to the relevant public decides genericness, so trademark owners will try to influence how consumers understand the word, to maintain at least 51% brand meaning. As we’ve written… Continue Reading

It’s Not a Wonderful Trademark Examination

Posted in Articles, Branding, Food, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

It’s a wonderful life, collaborating with brand owners and marketing teams to advance their goals. Our work for brand owners also involves a collaboration of sorts with the U.S. Trademark Office. We work with the USPTO to obtain registrations for our clients and this triggers USPTO obligations. As such, when examining applications, the USPTO must search its records for… Continue Reading

A Minnowsotan Perspective on TM Disclaimers

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

There is at least one more 2018 Rapala billboard out there, just netted this one over the weekend: Rapala’s clever Minnowsotan billboard inspired me to cast a few lines about the law concerning trademark disclaimers, as they often reel in some great questions from branding professionals. Tim did a helpful post on trademark disclaimers, guiding why the USPTO requires them, their legal implications, and encouraging brand owners to properly… Continue Reading

Scandalous Trademark Applications On Hold

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Trademarks consisting of or comprising “scandalous or immoral” matter still won’t be granted federal registration “in the name of the United States of America,” at least for the time being. Immediately on the heels of the International Trademark Association’s 140th Annual Meeting in Seattle, and our well-received panel discussion concerning Trademarks and Free Speech, the United… 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

Buc-ee’s Beaver Chomps Reptilian Competitor

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Trademarks

About a week ago, we reported on an interesting case out of the Southern District of Texas involving two competing convenience stores with cartoon animal mascots: Buc-ee’s (a beaver) and Choke Canyon (an alligator). As someone who has personally visited Buc-ee’s stores, I can tell you that they are quite the destination. Buc-ee’s tend to… Continue Reading

“Square Donuts” – Generic for Cafe Services?

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Two businesses in Indiana are squaring off in a trademark lawsuit over the right to use the term Square Donuts for…well, square-shaped donuts. Back in 2005, Square Donuts, a cafe with four locations in Indiana, sent a letter to Family Express (a convenience store chain with 70 locations in Indiana), demanding that Family Express cease… Continue Reading