Photo credit: G. Baird

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 and perspective on launching new brands and refreshing mature ones were priceless.

Aaron Keller, Tim Sitzmann, Karen Brennan, Anne Hall (Photo credit: G. Baird)
Anne Hall’s storytelling gifts were on display for all to learn from and enjoy (Photo credit: G. Baird)
Photo credit: G. Baird
Photo credit: G. Baird

Despite tricky last minute weather with a rainy metro area, an engaged audience still joined us.

Photo credit: G. Baird
Photo credit: G. Baird
An engaged audience with excellent questions (Photo credit: G. Baird)
Matt Smyth reading the fine print with encouragement from Kyle Kroll (Photo credit: G. Baird)
Kyle Kroll working the room and sharing the DuetsBlog wealth (Photo credit: G. Baird)

In typical DuetsBlog-style, we avoided legalese, to bring trademark and branding types together.

Photo credit: G. Baird

If there are topics you’d like to have us cover next time, please let us know, we’d love your input!

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 between HoneyCrisp and MonArk.

As it turns out, Honeycrisp might have been a trademark, but for its inclusion in a plant patent.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, does that include juris doctors who are into trademarks?

Or, would it be ludicrous for Apple, you know the iPhone XS one, to name a device Honeycrisp?

If only Honeycrisp could be a University of Minnesota apple trademark; Apple still has a chance.

To grasp lessons learned from the Honeycrisp story, and fully digest the Best Buy brand refresh, join us in Minneapolis on Thursday, a few seats remain for our Creative Brand Protection II event:

Winthrop & Weinstine’s Trademark and Brand Protection practice group will host a few hours of trademark and brand protection education, food and drink, and networking!

For the educational portion of the evening, we’ll share valuable insights and guidance for those who love brands and want to learn creative strategies for maximizing their value.

Yours truly, will moderate a panel discussion joined by:

  • 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

The panel will share best practices and creative approaches to both launching new brands and refreshing a mature brand. The panel will develop a robust discussion using the University of Minnesota’s MN55 apple launch and Best Buy’s brand refresh to explore the following themes:

  • Transforming a commodity into a valuable brand
  • Strategies for selecting and owning names and marks
  • Carving a path for global trademark and brand protection
  • Legal considerations for refreshing a brand’s visual identity

Reserve your spot now, space is limited. We hope you will join this lively and informative event!

And, I’ll say it again, if only Honeycrisp was an apple trademark, or an Apple trademark . . . .

In the meantime, since Honeycrisp is generic for fresh edible apples, is this stylization distinctive?

Nope, the pedestrian style is not striking enough to be trademark ownable, contrast Miller’s Lite.

—Mark Prus, Marketing Consultant at NameFlashSM

Like many professional name developers, I opened 2010 by making fun of the Apple iPad name. Steve Jobs gave a strong case for naming the “tablet pc” in a way that was consistent with previous Apple naming conventions (iPod, iTunes, iPhone), but many of us poked fun at the similarity of the name with feminine hygiene products.

Who’s laughing now?

Through the first three quarters of the year Apple sold over 8 million iPads and is projected to sell another 5 or 6 million during the last quarter of the year. And if you do a Google search and look for people making fun of the iPad name, you pretty much come up empty.

Was iPad a great name? I still think Apple could have broken the mold and gone with a more inventive name. But frankly I think Steve Jobs could call the next Apple innovation “Poop On A Stick” and it would be successful (side note: as an Apple shareholder I really hope they don’t try that).

From a trademark standpoint, Apple is still not in the clear on iPad. While they bought the “global rights” for the iPad trademark earlier this year, a new dispute claims that “global rights” did not include China. Not exactly sure who needs to go to geography class, but I am sure the Cupertino lawyers will figure it out.

But I suspect a bigger problem may be lurking for Apple. The iPad is the first tablet pc that has been embraced by consumers and in a way it is defining the category. There are iPad competitors but Apple has an estimated 95% market share. So what is the risk of a dominant market position? One risk is a “genericizing” of the product name.

Think about it…when people talk about the portable device that holds thousands of songs they call it iPod, regardless of the actual product. The iPhone has become the “category identifying” name for a smartphone. However, neither the iPod nor the iPhone have anywhere close to 95% market share.

In a previous Duets Blog post, Steve Baird raised some precautions a trademark owner could take to prevent “genericide” of a brand name (Kleenex in this example). According to Steve, if the "majority of the relevant consuming public" (more than half) continues to understand Kleenex® as a brand, the exclusive trademark rights will remain intact.

Is iPad the next “Kleenex?” Well, if you conduct a Google search on iPad you get over 189,000,000 entries. A similar search for “tablet pc” only produces around 21,000,000 results. I’d say with a 95% market share and a 9 fold lead in search results, the iPad name may be on a very slippery slope heading towards genericide!