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Category Archives: Squirrelly Thoughts

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‘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

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

How Might A Justice Kavanaugh Impact The USPTO?

Posted in Civil Procedure, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Since last week, the internet has blown-up about what United States Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh might decide regarding issues coming before the Supreme Court if he joined the highest Court of the land. As a judge on the D.C. Circuit, Judge Kavanaugh has been skeptical about the authority of administrative agencies. This could… Continue Reading

Can a Word Which Means a Lot (Aloha) Mean Almost Nothing in Trademark?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Genericide, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Sound, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

Hawaii seems to be on the mind here at DuetsBlog lately. Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting three Hawaiian islands for the first time. While there, I quickly became acquainted with Hawaiian life and language. It’s a beautiful place; I recommend everyone visit. When I first landed on Kauai, the “garden island,” I… Continue Reading

Can a YouTube Video Invalidate a Patent? It’s Certainly Possible

Posted in Articles, Audio, Infringement, Law Suits, Patents, Search Engines, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Television, USPTO

One of the most common defenses to patent infringement is that the asserted patent is invalid. The reasons for invalidity regularly range from lack of utility, to incorrect inventorship, and even to fraud (as I’ve recently written about). Often, the defendant asserts that the patent is invalid for lack of novelty or non-obviousness–pointing to some… Continue Reading

Good Translation/Bad Translation

Posted in Advertising, Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development When you finally identify a name for your business, product or service, you must conduct proper due diligence to ensure that you have a legal right to use the name. Trademark searches are mandatory and I’d strongly recommend talking to a great trademark attorney. A little upfront time and money… 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

Patent Appeals to the District Court: Win or Lose, You Pay Attorneys’ Fees?

Posted in Articles, Law Suits, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

Recently, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court that primarily hears appeals in patents cases) heard arguments in NantKwest Inc. v. Matal, No. 16-1794 on the issue of attorneys’ fees (a timely topic) in certain patent cases. Credit: PatentlyO Attorneys’ fees are a necessary and inescapable cost of enforcing one’s rights and, as… Continue Reading

Warby’s Fast Food: Can Arby’s Take a Joke?

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Maybe you’ve heard of Warby Parker. The eye wear company has become quite successful in a previously monolithic industry. But a tongue-in-cheek advertising effort for a new onion ring monacle might just cross the line into provoking a trademark feud. See, Exhibit 1, below: And, for the main course: Even if Warby’s doesn’t actually sell… Continue Reading

Glade No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and… Chanel No. 5?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Fashion, Infringement, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Smell, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Recently, a friend and I were watching The Bachelor—I know, I should be ashamed. During one of the commercial breaks, a spot appeared on-screen showing a woman wearing an elegant dress walking through a hallway. She turns into a doorway, and blue, shimmering light projects onto her face, as if she was underwater. A speaker… Continue Reading

Who Owns the Trademark Rights to Tesla/SpaceX’s Roadster?

Posted in Branding, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Sight, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

Today I write with a thought-provoking question: Just who owns the trademark rights to Telsa/SpaceX’s Spaceman Roadster? Tesla? SpaceX? Perhaps even humanity? If you didn’t catch it, SpaceX recently launched its first Falcon Heavy three-booster rocket designed to carry large payloads into space. In a stunning feat of engineering and genius marketing, the rocket sent… Continue Reading

When Names become Brand Names

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Contracts, Fair Use, Fashion, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

And whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19 Naming things is a fundamentally personal, human act that sometimes – in a profession all about brand names – we take for granted. It’s easy to forget when we are clearing, registering, and protecting names, that at a basic level we… Continue Reading

The Hidden Section 2(f) Claim

Posted in Articles, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Patents, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Hello (again) DuetsBlog! Readers may have noted my recent absence from the blog. I recently embarked on a new stage of my career as in-house corporate counsel, and Steve gave me the opportunity to contribute as a guest blogger. Even in my in-house role, I remain a trademark law hobbyist. One of… Continue Reading

Branding Stories Around The Lack of Memory

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Television, Trademarks, USPTO

I’ve been meaning to write about a TV commercial for a while, but I keep forgetting to do it. Perhaps I need the very product being advertised in the commercial, because what gained my attention was the clever tagline following the brand name: Prevagen. The Name to Remember. Given the goods being sold, it struck… Continue Reading

Is Artificial Intelligence The Future of Branding?

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Name Development Janelle Shane is a research scientist who likes to play around with neural networks. Recently she’s been having fun investigating whether neural networks can replace traditional means of creative development. As a professional name developer, I’m watching her work closely because I’ve been told that my chosen career is about to… 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

Titleist Trademark Tarnishment?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, First Amendment, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Wes Anderson, Attorney During today’s first round of the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, many a golf ball bearing the famous TITLEIST cursive script will be lofted into the heavens – meanwhile, back on the ground, the brand’s owner is attempting to stamp out a lewd parody of its trademark. An online golf apparel company,… Continue Reading

The Missing Apple Trademarks

Posted in Articles, Branding, Famous Marks, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Technology, Trademarks

-Wes Anderson, Attorney Far be it from me to criticize a company hoarding over $250 billion in cash reserves – but, hey Apple, why aren’t you filing trademark applications? Perhaps no company’s IP portfolio is of greater interest to the general public than Apple, Inc.’s colossus. (If you disagree, find me another website dedicated solely… Continue Reading

What Do You Think Of Having ® On Your Store Sign

Posted in Advertising, Branding, International, Marketing, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks

I traveled to Barcelona last week to attend the International Trademark Association (“INTA”) Annual meeting. I arrived at the Barcelona Airport the requisite three hours before your international flight.  During my long stay at the Barcelona airport I saw three store signs with ® on them.  They included the following signs:    Although many stores… Continue Reading

The 50% Solution

Posted in Almost Advice, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Product Packaging, Squirrelly Thoughts

–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Years ago, I was washing my hands in the office men’s room. Next to me was a wheelchair-bound guy washing his at the appropriately lower sink. I was thinking that the lower sink was a good idea when I noticed that the paper towel dispensers were all at “regular” height…. Continue Reading

Mars – Helping You Work, Rest & Play (and improve blood circulation?)

Posted in Advertising, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

While browsing my daily trademark news and digesting some recent chocolate-related trademark litigation, to be discussed below, I happened upon some interesting discussions and histories of slogans for candy, including in particular, the MARS® chocolate bar. Back in 1960, Mars Inc. debuted its slogan for the MARS® chocolate bar: “A Mars a Day, Helps You Work,… Continue Reading