Well, here we are — a mere ten years ago today — when we dove head first, or at least, dipped our collective toes into the vast intellectual property blogging pond.

Intellectual PropertyIP — is italicized today, because there is currently a belief among some of those we respect, that trademarks aren’t intellectual property.

According to our friend Ron Coleman of the Likelihood of Confusion blog:

“[N]othing about trademarks is brain-born other than what we might fairly call the ministerial choice to associate a given trademark with a good or service. That process may involve, and often does, a lot of thinking, creativity and intellection. But none of that invests the trademark itself — which may, in fact, be completely lacking in creativity (“Best,” “Ford,” “American”) — with the quality of intellectual, mental, creative or original content such that it should be deemed ‘intellectual property.’”

There’s a lot to unpack there, but until then, just so you know, I’m firmly on the other side of the fence, viewing trademarks as being a recognized subset of the convenient category label commonly referred to as “intellectual property.”

Stay tuned on this topic, there is much more to say, much more than there is time left in this 10th birthday to do the topic justice, but for now, I’ll simply rest with a notable quote from branding icon, Walter Landor:

“Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.”

While trademarks aren’t brands, not only can trademarks be bought, sold, licensed, and leveraged as property, trademarks protect brands, and they embody all the intangible goodwill of the portion of a business associated with a particular mark.

Dare I say there is nothing ministerial about the brain-born brilliance Landor brought to his craft as a designer, nor is there mere ministerial contribution to the brilliance and creativity that our many non-lawyer guest bloggers have brought to their work over the last decade. Aaron? James? Mark? Agree?

We’ve written a lot over the years about picking a side, the art of taking a position, not waffling; one of the things we love about Ron is he is unafraid to take a position, to plant his flag firmly in the ground — that’s what we’ve tried to do too, and what we intend to continue to do going forward.


Here’s a question, what purpose is served by excluding trademarks from the definition of what constitutes intellectual property? Here’s another, who gets to decide?

Besides some team tournament sadness, the only thing sad about our remarkable Creative Brand Protection Event was our camera problem, so these few photos are all we have to share, so sorry:

From left to right above, special thanks to Shaelyn Crutchley (former PepsiCo, now Volo Creative), Aaron Keller (Capsule), and Rosalie O’Brien (University of Minnesota), they were fantastic, and their valuable insights about Super Bowl LII, Ambush Marketing, and Brand Protection Strategies were nothing short of brilliant.

Equally exceptional were our three alumni Trademark and IP attorney panelists, special thanks to Sarah Lockner (Ecolab), Sharon Armstrong (3M), and Susan Perera (United Health) — their energy and passion, as guardians of the “most important assets” of their companies, was wonderful to witness and experience. Amazing leaders, they offered very balanced, matter-of-fact, and pragmatic insights on how they approach their important brand protection work and certain trademark enforcement tools.

Duey certainly wasn’t sad either, he was the star of this 9th birthday cake (thankfully captured on my iPhone before cutting), congrats Duey, and thanks for ALL those who joined us, as we look forward to Creative Brand Protection II, date to be announced soon, likely late June, so stay tuned.

We’re always looking forward, but every once in a while we look in the rear-view mirror and become amazed at how far we’ve come since our humble beginnings a short nine years ago.

Well, it’s almost time to celebrate another birthday here at DuetsBlog, and if we make it to March 5th, Duey will be ecstatic, thanks so much again to our many devoted readers and guest bloggers.

On Thursday March 8th, we’ll be doing more than cutting and sharing slices of our 9th Birthday Cake (promise it will be fresh, not four days old), we’ll be educating and entertaining our guests.

Beginning at 4 PM, in our newly reimagined cool office space, we’ll host a few hours of trademark and brand protection education, entertainment, food, drink, celebration, and conversation.

For the educational portion of the evening, we have assembled two dynamic panel discussions with valuable insights and guidance from a pair of national branding and design experts and leading trademark counsel for some very notable brands with global footprints.

Yours Truly, will moderate this panel of accomplished luminaries:

  • Shaelyn Crutchley, Former Senior Director, Head of Design – N. American Beverages, Pepsico
  • Aaron Keller, Co-Author: The Physics of Brand; Co-Founder Capsule Design
  • Rosalie O’Brien, Senior Associate General Counsel, University of Minnesota

Our focus will be on the development of a creative, coherent, and compelling brand protection strategy. In addition, we’ll look back together on Super Bowl LII through our collective brand protection eyes, discuss so-called trademark bullying, and the latest on trademark fair use.

Brad Walz, Winthrop Shareholder and Adjunct Professor, University of St. Thomas School of Law Trademark Clinic, will moderate a panel discussion joined by some of our esteemed alumni:

This panel will focus on the implementation and execution of creative trademark and brand protection strategies. Attendees will learn about the effective and efficient use of trademark watch services, brand registries, website complaint programs, USPTO Letters of Protest, cease and desist correspondence, TTAB and UDRP proceedings, and also, when federal district court may be necessary to achieve goals.

Space is limited for this special event, but we have set aside a few seats for readers who may not have received invitations, so please let me know if you’re interested in joining us.










It is hard to believe almost five years have passed since our inaugural post, but time flies when you’re having fun, especially with friends, colleagues, and the amazing people we wouldn’t know, but for this place where we gather together, even if only digitally with some of you.

Remember these birthday milestones?

Happy Birthday Duey!

Duey is Two!

Drinks are on Us

Duey is Four Today!

Space is limited, but we are holding five “back stage passes” to our Golden Birthday Bash for those who post the “best and most creative” (in our subjective judgment) comments to this post, briefly explaining what makes you come back to engage and/or quietly see what we’re up to. Sorry, airfare not included, only great conversation, food and drink, but if you’re able to get yourself here, we look forward to spending time together on March 5th!

Now that we’re out of diapers and through the terrible twos, we’ve reached another milestone: Duey is four years old today.

This birthday kind of snuck up on us, so no plans for drinks on us today, in fact we’re buried in snow, so the INTA Roundtable (on the topic of Trademark Enforcement) that we’re scheduled to host today has been rescheduled for Wednesday March 13th, we hope you can attend.

In the meantime, here is a small excerpt from our inaugural post entitled Dr. No and the Parade of Horribles:

Seth Godin artfully reminds us in his ‘Looking for yes’ blog post how important getting to ‘yes’ is, especially when ‘you’re out to provide a service, or organized to deliver a product . . .’ Unfortunately, too many lawyers think of themselves as ‘licensed professionals’ with a license to repeat ‘no’ and get in the way, forgetting they are selling a service, too. The world would be a better place if more lawyers adopted Mr. Godin’s sage advice.”

Please know that we continue to be inspired by our amazing guest bloggers, our loyal readers who alert us to topics of interest, the engaging commenters to our posts, and by all those who spread the word by generously sharing our insights and perspectives with others.

I guess we’ll really have to pull out all the stops for our next birthday, since it will be our Golden Birthday.

We were so thankful to spend our 3rd birthday with some wonderful friends at our birthday bash on March 27.

This is what blogging (and social media) is all about. “Meeting” online, finding some commonality, and then meeting face-to-face. Forming relationships with people whom – without some kind of technology – we may never have met. Thanks to those of you who could make it, we can’t thank you enough for being guest bloggers and loyal readers. So, keep those great guest posts coming, and keep sending your ideas our way. Your ideas matter most to us.

For those of you who couldn’t make it – here’s some virtual cake for you:

Yeah, that’s right. Happy DuetsBlog to you ;) [Note: Accidents and mistakes happen. This just happened to be a tasty one.]


DuetsBlog celebrated its first birthday today, so that means Duey the squirrel is one year old. He has made a lot of friends over the past year (as have we), and he has come a long way (as have we) despite his exhaustion hording nuts (we haven’t done any of that) for the long cold winter we had (hopefully this remains past tense).  

This is some of what Duey has observed since our inaugural post entitled Dr. No and the Parade of Horribles:

  1. Some 350 posts (part of the reason for his exhaustion);
  2. Some 530 comments (part of the reason for your exhaustion);
  3. Some 840 followers on Twitter;
  4. Some 250,000 visits; and
  5. Us, having a lot of fun . . . .

Here is a snapshot of where we were back in July 2009, and here is one from December 2009.

Thanks to our wonderful and growing group of talented Guest Bloggers, and thanks to you for your comments and interest in the conversation we have started here on DuetsBlog.

May all collaborations between trademark types and marketing types be early, often, personable, smart, enjoyable, graceful, and mutually beneficial.