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Category Archives: Food

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Battle Over Trademark in NOLA

Posted in Articles, Civil Procedure, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

The trademark ST. ROCH MARKET is at the heart of a dispute in New Orleans (aka NOLA).  The City of New Orleans is battling in court with the current lessee of the building associated with the trademark. ROCH MARKET has been associated with a popular market in New Orleans since 1875. Prior to Hurricane Katrina,… 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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog Toy Manufacturers Really Like Parodies

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Trademarks

A dog toy display at a local pet store caught my attention recently. I did a double take on seeing the familiar fonts, coloring, and packaging.  Not long after, I happened to find these at a different pet store. Once again, the familiar labels, coloring, and bottle designs caught my attention. While certainly reminiscent of… 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

Trader Joe’s Takes on Trademark “Schmo”

Posted in Articles, Branding, Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

In recent USPTO news, Trader Joe’s, the supermarket chain known for its eclectic and unique foodstuffs, recently filed an opposition to registration of the mark “Trader Schmo,” which is described as designating a wide variety of Kosher foods. Understandably, Trader Joe’s took issue with the mark, and particularly its use in the food category. The… Continue Reading

Owning Some TM Happiness: Bubly ≠ Bubbly?

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

For a few months now, the Minneapolis skyway system has been flooded with a variety of fresh, creative, eye-popping advertising to promote Pepsi’s new bubly sparkling water collection: Although not a lie (the bottles I’ve seen clearly reference Pepsi), you’d never know from this ad or the trademark registration that Pepsi is behind bubly, since an Irish entity… Continue Reading