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Category Archives: Loss of Rights

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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

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

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

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

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

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

“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

Hamm It Up? The Latest Brand to Verb It Up!

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

It’s been a little while since the last example we’ve shared showing a brand turning its face, or a blind eye, on age-old rigid trademark advice, counseling against using a brand name as a verb. Given the more common trend of many alcoholic beverage brands focusing attention and their messaging on drinking responsibly, MillerCoors has made… Continue Reading

The Uncertain Case of Deadwood Trademarks

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

Last week, I enjoyed the privilege of returning to Iowa City (where it all began) for Executive Leadership Board Meetings at the University of Iowa College of Pharmacy. Great meetings there! During a stroll through downtown, I was reminded of Deadwood, a legendary Iowa City tavern, so I snapped a few photos, having long forgotten the creative tagline — Institute of… Continue Reading

White Color Trademark Goes Up in Flames

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Patents, Sight, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

A couple of years ago, our friend John Welch over at the TTABlog reported about a white color trademark that had acquired distinctiveness, according to a rare precedential TTAB decision: No, that’s not a roll of toilet paper, it’s a preformed gunpowder charge for use in muzzleloading rifles. And the applied-for mark was described as… Continue Reading

Talk to Chuck, Trade Like Chuck, or Chuckit?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Television, Trademarks, Truncation, USPTO

A recent advertisement caught my ear because it involved financial services offered by a guy named Charles Hughes a/k/a Chuck Hughes and the catchy marketing phrase Trade Like Chuck: It instantly reminded me of a piece I wrote in 2010 called: Exposing Two-Face Brands. One of the branding truncation examples I wrote about there noted… 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

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

Court Protects Louis Vuitton from Inability to Understand Obvious Joke

Posted in Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Trademarks

For the past several years, DuetsBlog has covered fashion house Louis Vuitton’s outlandish trademark “bullying” against law schools, dog toys, photographers, and movie studios. Most recently, we discussed the brand’s latest high-profile lawsuit against rival luxury canvas tote maker (sarcasm), My Other Bag, for trademark infringement and dilution. To the casual observer, one might not… 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

Classic Trademark Fair Use of Google Mark?

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

North Memorial Health must be spending significant advertising dollars at the moment, with a variety of ads appearing all over the Minneapolis skyway system, above is one current example. In addition, there are a series of humorous and sarcastic TV ads that were designed to poke the bear of our broken health care system, congrats to Brandfire on… Continue Reading

University of North Dakota Abandons Sioux Mascot, but not Sioux Mark

Posted in Famous Marks, First Amendment, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

The weekend of October 20-21, 2017, the Minnesota Golden Gophers and North Dakota Fighting Hawks traded wins in one of college hockey’s most competitive series. While watching the NCHC broadcast, an ad for the “Sioux Shop” appeared on screen. The ad explained that the Sioux Shop sells North Dakota fan gear at Ralph Englestad Arena… Continue Reading

Some Subtle Stories Make Great Trademarks

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Look-For Ads, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Trademarks, USPTO

One of my passions is to find common and favorable ground between legal and marketing types. One of the readings during week three of Seth Godin’s intensive altMBA workshop reminded me of a great example to illustrate how a valid marketing goal can align with strong legal protection. An excerpt from Seth’s All Marketers are Liars book was… 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

“Hook and Loop” Meet Chutes and Ladders

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

Nearly everyone in the IP community is talking about the hilarious viral Velcro music video released last week. Hat tip to Patently-O, Martha, and Brett. The “behind the scenes” video is here. We’ve spoken before about nervous trademark types, behind the scenes doing their level best, and taking steps to try to avoid unwanted genericide of… Continue Reading

Claim Is Gone With The Wind At Death

Posted in Articles, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Television

Two time academy award winner Olivia de Havilland seeks an expedited trial for the lawsuit involving her right of publicity.  Olivia de Havilland, DBE v. FX Networks, et al, BC667011 (Superior Ct. Calif., June 30, 2017). The urgency is needed because Ms. de Havilland’s statutory right of publicity ceases at her death.  She is currently… 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