DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

Category Archives: Branding

Subscribe to Branding RSS Feed

If Only HoneyCrisp Was an Apple Trademark

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

Yeah, we usually mean this Apple, when we spill digital ink, not today, instead the edible varieties: Hat tip to Erik Pelton who tweeted about the federal registration of LUDACRISP for fresh apples. We know something about non-ludicrous trademark protection for apples > First Kiss and Rave. They are newly minted brands for the MN55 Apple, a cross… Continue Reading

New NFL Season, New Trademark Fights

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Social Media, Trademarks, TTAB

As we move into Week 2 of the NFL, the big clash in North Country is Sunday’s Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings game. All the buzz is whether the second-coming-of-Favre Aaron Rodgers will prevail over the vaunted Vikings defense. But here in my trademark bubble, I’m more interested in the Jacksonville Jaguars versus former… Continue Reading

Time for a Pillow Fight?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Look-For Ads, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks

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

Scandalous/Shocking Trademark Applications

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

Erik Brunetti is not one step closer to being able to federally-register his vulgar and scandalous FUCT trademark for clothing; his portfolio of applications remain log jammed (here and here): So, scandalous trademark applications are still on hold at the U.S. Trademark Office, since the government is now asking for the Supreme Court to reverse… Continue Reading

Budweiser and Jim Beam on the Same Team

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

In April, news broke that two iconic alcohol brands were joining forces to create a remarkable new beer: Jim Beam Budweiser Copper Lager. Fruit of the joint labor is now available for consumption: The unique combination doesn’t appear destined to fall flat, as in the early days since launch, it seems to be attracting even… Continue Reading

‘O’ Stands for Oklahoma, Ohio, Oprah…

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

As Steve blogged earlier this week, we’ve had a lot of “zero” on the mind lately—marks related to the word and numeral. It got me thinking about the letter ‘O,’ especially since it has been in recent trademark news. If you missed it, The Ohio State University and Oklahoma State University are now dueling it… Continue Reading

A Zero Sum Game in the Trademark World?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Product Packaging, SoapBox, USPTO

We’ve had a lot of nothing — meaning zero, and the trademark meaning, if any, of zero — on our mind lately, so imagine my surprise to see this soap “brand” for the first time last week in a hotel: Not sure how to pronounce it, but as we know, there really is no “correct”… Continue Reading

How to Master the Patentese of Trademarks

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Since launching almost ten years ago, we’ve focused on helping and guiding marketing/branding professionals, as we seek to facilitate their graceful collaborations with trademark professionals. Our approach has strived to deliver valuable information, without the typical jargon and legalese. It seriously borders the obvious to say that folks who connect with us here know the… Continue Reading

No What? ZERO Means 0 and 0 Means ZERO!

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

Taking our discussion about Coke Zero a little further than Monday’s discussion, is it any wonder that “zero” stands for nothing, none, nada, when it comes to calories, given icons like this one: In other words, it doesn’t and it can’t hold trademark significance for calorie-free, no-calorie, or zero-calorie food products and beverages, and spelling out “0” as ZERO… Continue Reading

LOL? Why Is P&G Seeking Registration of Three-Letter Acronyms for Soap?

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has filed federal trademark applications to register several well-known (at least among millennials) acronyms used in text messages, including LOL (laughing out load); NBD (no big deal); WTF (what the f***); and FML (f*** my life). The applications identify cleaning products, including liquid soap, dish detergents, surface cleaners, and air fresheners. P&G’s products… Continue Reading

Cheetos versus Peatos: Infringement or Overreach?

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Goodwill, Infringement

PepsiCo recently made waves with its purchase of SodaStream, but the company is now making news in the food business. This time the news is all about Pepsi’s Frito-Lay division, and its mischief making Chester Cheetah and his crunchy, cheesy, Cheetos brand. Pepsi recently sent a cease and desist letter to World Peas, a manufacturer… Continue Reading

Coke Opening ZERO Genericness Floodgates?

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

We’ve been writing about the COKE ZERO trademark for nearly a decade now, noting in 2014: “[I]t will be worth watching to see whether the [TTAB] finds that ‘ZERO’ primarily means Coke or just a soft drink having ‘no calories, you know, a drink about nothing . . . .’” Turns out, in May 2016, Coke obtained a favorable… Continue Reading

Poke Restaurant’s Trademark Enforcement Sparks Protests

Posted in Branding, Food, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Social Media, Trademark Bullying

Trademark enforcement, particularly in an age of social media and internet shaming, is tricky business.  Some brands (I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton) seem to have enough market share to ignore the social backlash from their heavy-handed demand letters.  But companies that lack that kind of brand power could benefit from a bit more finesse… Continue Reading

The Perils of Portmanteau Names

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Keyword Ads, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash A portmanteau is a linguistic blend of words in which parts of multiple words are combined into a new word. Common language examples include smog, which is a combination of the words smoke and fog, and motel which combines motor and hotel. Some big companies used the portmanteau technique to develop… Continue Reading

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