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Category Archives: Food

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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

What You Need to Un-Suspend a Trademark

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

Suspended high above Chelsea Market in New York City are these eye-catching ads for OWYN: That’s a new brand for me, I’m unsure how to pronounce it (Own, Owen or Oh Win), but OWYN apparently stands for Only What You Need — for dietary supplement protein products that “use nutritious, plant-based ingredients and leave out inflammatory animal products and… Continue Reading

“Brother Thelonious” Monk’s Likeness Protectable Decades After Death

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Contracts, Food, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

Earlier this month, a California federal judge kept alive a suit brought by the estate of famous jazz musician Thelonious Monk against North Coast Brewing Co. for trademark infringement and infringement of the right of publicity. The dispute centers around North Coast’s popular “Brother Thelonious” Beligan-style abbey ale (beer seems to be on the mind here… Continue Reading

Snickers Has a Cross Section TM Registration!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks, USPTO

It is frequently becoming more and more difficult to remember all the topics we’ve covered here over the last — almost — nine years. A recent Snickers end cap display jogged my memory: Turns out, eight months into this little adventure we call DuetsBlog, I wrote a blog post called Delicious Trademarks: Candy Bar Cross-Section Trademarks? Then, a… Continue Reading

Are You Leading With Buddha’s Hand Too?

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

Size and prominence of wording on business signs, product labels and hangtags will often emphasize brand signals. Yet, sometimes decisions are made to scream generic names instead. Never having seen the above shown wacky fresh fruit until recently, my assumption was that Buddha’s Hand represented a clever brand name for a certain type of citron… Continue Reading

The Elvis Presley Estate Loses Bid to Block ELVIS JUICE Beer

Posted in Dilution, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Trademark disputes involving breweries are nothing new, with breweries battling each other, wineries, and even cities over trademarks. We can now add estates of dead celebrities to the mix, as the Estate of Elvis Presley continues its battle against UK-based BrewDog over its ELVIS JUICE I.P.A. The Elvis Estate first attempted to resolve the dispute… Continue Reading

Dilly Dilly, Minnesota Vikings Going to Philly

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

Wow, words don’t and could never describe the emotions behind the last ten second fourth-quarter TD and Vikings win over the New Orleans Saints — Who Dat Nation — last night in Minneapolis: Hat tip on the title, to a lubricated fan leaving U.S. Bank Stadium after the game — the whole Dilly Dilly thing seems kind… Continue Reading

Beer Brand Battles: David Takes on City Hall (with Goliath on the sidelines)

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, Food, Infringement, Trademarks, USPTO

The City of Portland is known as a hub for craft beer, and its local government couldn’t be prouder. The Travel Portland website proudly proclaims that Portland is “home to more breweries than any other city on earth.” Yet the city’s relationship with the local craft beer scene is not so bubbly at the moment,… Continue Reading

Will the Velveeta Brand Melt into Laughter?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, False Advertising, Famous Marks, FDA Approval, Food, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Taste, Trademarks, TTAB

What do you think of when you hear the word Velveeta? Me too, childhood — complete with piping hot Campbell’s tomato soup — and perfectly melted grilled cheese sandwiches. Later in life, at least for me, came liquid gold and RO*TEL queso dip, usually on weekend game days. And, my daughter might add to the… Continue Reading

Happy Thankfulness and Gratitude!

Posted in Articles, Food, Marketing, Trademarks

Instead of saying the traditional Happy Thanksgiving exclamation this year, I thought I’d reframe it this way: Happy Thankfulness and Gratitude! Thankfulness is a state of mind. It is a choice, a repeated fork in the road for each of us. Gratitude is a decision we can make and live, every minute of the day, every day… Continue Reading

What Are You Thinking, Coke Zero?

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

  The above advertising billboard is plastered all over the Twin Cities at the moment, and it got me thinking, so here I am, once again, writing about Coke Zero, remember this can? Coke obtained a favorable decision from the TTAB early last year, ruling that ZERO is not generic for a soft drink category,… Continue Reading

Are pretzel crisps crumbling into genericness?

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

Marketing types and legal types who review labels, be well advised to choose words used carefully. In other words, if you believe you own rights in Pretzel Crisps as a trademark, it’s not wise to use the number of so-called “Crisps” as the serving size, especially with no trademark notice symbol. Frito-Lay’s successful 2014 generic… Continue Reading

Going Bananas Over the Eclipse

Posted in Advertising, Famous Marks, Food, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications As I perused The New York Times on Sunday Aug. 20th, Chiquita Banana burst forth amid all the brouhaha reporting with a full page of the best ad I’ve seen in a long time. I feel sorry for those who missed it, because most of us can use a good belly… Continue Reading

It’s as Suggestive as a Butter Knife for Steak

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

We’ve written quite a bit over the years about the Spectrum of Distinctiveness for trademarks, and the all-important difference between suggestive marks and merely descriptive ones, with only the former being allowed immediate rights based on first use. Creativity is what separates the power of suggestion from the weakness and limbo of descriptiveness. Remember the floating feather… Continue Reading

Trick or Trademark? Mars Says Hershey’s Can’t Own “SCARY” Candy.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Fair Use, Food, Idea Protection, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Sandwiched between 90 degree days in a Minnesota summer, the idea of Halloween wasn’t on my radar – until I learned about the latest dispute between candy giants Mars and Hershey’s. Mars and its subsidiary own many well-known candy brands, including M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Skittles, Life Savers, and others. Not to be outdone, Hershey maintains… Continue Reading