Trademark types frequently encounter brand owners and managers with substantial misunderstanding and confusion about when use of the federal registration notice symbol is lawful. Most of the time a misuse or technical violation results from an honest mistake, but sometimes the misuse is, and starts out intentional, or perhaps the misuse begins to look intentional if it isn’t promptly

Seth Godin’s recent post entitled Subtlety, deconstructed, struck a chord with me, and should strike a chord with all trademark types and the brand owners they represent. Here is my favorite excerpt:

Subtle design and messaging challenge the user to make her own connections instead of spelling out every detail. Connections we make are more powerful

This sponsored banner ad is currently appearing in AdAge’s Daily News on-line newsletter:

How many boxes of tissue do you suppose this ad is responsible for selling?

If the answer is none, that is probably fine with Kimberly-Clark since the return on investment for this ad is measured quite differently, I’m sure, given how the

From My Cousin Vinny:

Vinny Gambini: I object to this witness being called at this time. We’ve been given no prior notice he would testify. No discovery of any tests he’s conducted or reports he’s prepared. And as the court is aware, the defense is entitled to advance notice of all witnesses who will testify, particularly those who will give scientific evidence, so that we can properly prepare for cross-examination, as well as give the defense an opportunity to have his reports reviewed by a defense expert, who might then be in a position to contradict the veracity of his conclusions.

Judge: Mr. Gambini?

Vinny Gambini: Yes, sir?

Judge: That is a lucid, intelligent, well thought-out objection.

Vinny Gambini: Thank you, sir.

Judge: Overruled.

Not fair. That’s just how it feels sometimes.

You believe you have a sound position, a fine strategy or a winning campaign, all backed up by solid arguments. But then you’re overruled. And you’re left shaking your head and saying to yourself: “This is a winner. Why don’t they get it?”

I’m sure that’s how brand strategists and consultants, whether internal or external to an organization, feel at times when their proposals are rejected. In fact, I know that’s how they feel. I’ve been there.


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