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Category Archives: SoapBox

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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

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

Artificial Intelligence Update: How About These Tomatoes!

Posted in Advertising, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development About 6 months ago I wrote a blog post about the future of name development and the use of Artificial Intelligence to name things. I also made a prediction that AI was going to get better and better as it practices name development. Since that time, AI is getting better… Continue Reading

Showcase Design and Vampire Video

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

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Recently, I came across a snappy-looking website with unconventional design for a small consulting company. It’s cleverly done, easy to navigate, and appears to have good information. I say “appears to have” because there’s one slight problem: it’s challenging to read it. The design motif has small white type on large… Continue Reading

Why DIY Branding Is A Bad Idea

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Social Media

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development A lot of entrepreneurs launch businesses behind a name they developed on their own. I get the fact that the name of the startup is intensely personal for the founders. Also money is tight in a startup and spending money to develop a name and do trademark research on it… Continue Reading

A Special Thank You to Suzan Shown Harjo

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the filing of the petition to cancel the R-Word registrations held by Pro-Football, Inc., the NFL franchise playing near the Nation’s capital. Indian Country Today has published an interview with Suzan Shown Harjo, lead petitioner in Harjo et al v. Pro-Football, Inc., and organizer of Blackhorse et al v…. Continue Reading

Change Your Name Already!

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Domain Names, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, SoapBox

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development I sometimes get asked by prospective clients if they should change their name, and I help them evaluate if a change is necessary. But sometimes there are stubborn companies who persist in marketing a name that is not right. Overstock.com is a prime example of this behavior. In early… Continue Reading

Adblock, Generic for Ad Blocking?

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

AdBlock Plus doesn’t seem to think so. Though they apparently also do think so (more on that below). Adblock Plus was successful in registering the ADBLOCK PLUS mark. Now they’re using that registration to issue take down notices to people using Adblock in their name. That left me scratching my head. It all sounds rather… Continue Reading

The March Madness Road Trip Returns

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television

It’s that wonderful time of year again, March Madness! When families, friends, and coworkers all get together to casually gamble and all throw $10 into a pool. When 12’s beat 5’s and mess up your bracket. When you lose one game and are sent packing. The few weeks when “Cinderella” is uttered most throughout the… Continue Reading

Solid Snake on Ice

Posted in Copyrights, Fair Use, First Amendment, SoapBox

Fans of the Metal Gear Solid franchise received disappointing news earlier this week when Project “Shadow Moses”–an ambitious fan reboot of the original game using Unreal Engine 4–was canceled.  A trailer showing the progress of the project prior to its termination is below: This would have represented a significant improvement from the 1998 original Metal Gear Solid. While… Continue Reading

Yes, No, and the Ever Confusing Maybe . . .

Posted in Articles, Branding, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Yes and no are at opposite ends of the spectrum. North Pole, South Pole. Night and day. Win, loss. Black, white. Available, unavailable. Protectable, unprotectable. Infringing, non-infringing. They represent a binary proposition, like a traditional light switch with two settings: on and off. My daughter loves the yes end of the spectrum; no, not so… Continue Reading

Make “Trademark” Great Again: No More Verbing!

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Idea Protection, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks

-Wes Anderson, Attorney In the media, misstatements and misunderstandings of trademark law are legion.  Even the New York Times counts itself among the latest offenders. The Old Grey Lady’s recent article about presidential candidate and real estate mogul Donald Trump closed with the following: Records show just one Goldman employee, a financial adviser in the wealth management division, has donated… Continue Reading

A Few Weekend Views and Brand Sighting(s)

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fashion, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, SoapBox, Trademarks

My daughter captured some artsy pics from our beautiful Fall weekend, can you guess where we were? I’ll give you three visual hints: Those clues weren’t all that helpful, I suppose, so how about these souvenirs and brand sighting? But, what brand sighting is this really, are there actually two here, one overlaid on the… Continue Reading

The Great Presidential (logo) Debate

Posted in Advertising, Branding, SoapBox, Social Media, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, Truncation

The day has finally arrived – the beginning of 2016 presidential debate season!  The best reality TV showdown around!  Democrat or Republican, I don’t discriminate, political debates are probably the only fighting “sport” in a ring that I enjoy watching.  Fox finalized its debate card for the first debate of the season and, with the… Continue Reading

Trolling for an Inventive Method for Patent Enforcement

Posted in Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, USPTO

In the wake of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leaving their respective shows on Comedy Central for newer pastures, John Oliver has emerged as a new beacon of political humor and satire.  If you haven’t watched his show, and especially if you considered the former two as having an obvious political slant, you should check… Continue Reading

The NFL’s Super Bowl Trademark Nonsense

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Fair Use, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, SoapBox, Television, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s that time of year again. Time to tiptoe around and avoid use of or make any reference to the Super Bowl. Whoops. Anyway, we’ve discussed this phenomenon before: Insuring a Great Super Bowl Trademark Fight Fair Use of Super Bowl Trademark? Super (Bowl) Sunday, Ads Coming Soon Advertisers — fearful of NFL legal action… Continue Reading

We Prefer A More Subtle, Delicate Approach

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, SoapBox, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

For those of you who have been with us since the beginning of this wonderful collaboration of legal and marketing types, known as DuetsBlog, you also know we have a mascot dubbed Duey — he’s depicted in the squirrel graphic at the top of this page. Here is his story, as told by Aaron Keller… Continue Reading

TRENDING: Minnesota’s Midwestern “Identity Crisis”

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, SoapBox

–Ben Kwan, Attorney The usual suspects did it again Tuesday.  My Minnesota friends who, like me, tend to indulge in a bit too much Minnesota-centric navel gazing took high interest to a Minneapolis Star Tribune column that posed an interesting question: “Does Minnesota’s region have an identity crisis?”  My Facebook feed lit up with links… Continue Reading

The C-word and IP Rights

Posted in Almost Advice, Copyrights, Counterfeits, International, Loss of Rights, Patents, SoapBox, Trademarks

No, not that c-word. The protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights involves a plethora of c-words:  copying, counterfeit, copyright, cease-and-desist, CIPO (the Canadian IP Office).   But the one I am referring to today is China. As the world becomes more interconnected and the global economic impact of China has significantly increased, intellectual property… Continue Reading

Trademark Disparagement Kills the R-Word

Posted in Articles, Branding, Law Suits, Marketing, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

My father-daughter time was wonderful in London when the news hit about the USPTO ordering cancellation of the six “Washington Redskins” trademarks as disparaging to Native Americans. Thanks for your patience in waiting for my perspective on the subject — you know I’m thrilled if you know me well, if you know of my involvement in the… Continue Reading

(Just) the Right to Register a Trademark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Civil Procedure, Infringement, Law Suits, SoapBox, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Every so often there is a moment when trademark types, marketing types and brand owners need to pay close attention to where the law could be headed. Today, I’m sounding the alarm. If the U.S. Supreme Court decides to follow the advice it recently sought and received from the U.S. Solicitor General (SG) of the Department of Justice, those of… Continue Reading