With the upcoming 2012 presidential election, this is the time during our American political cycle where spinning is almost a sport — at least an expected activity. Puns intended, as you’ll see.

Over the last several years, I’ve heard my wife speak about “spinning classes” at a local health club (mind you, not at 

Last week I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a ninety-minute webinar with my good friend, frequent and eloquent guest-blogger on DuetsBlog — Aaron Keller of Capsule — complete with some friendly banter on the following: "Hot Marketing Topics with Trademark and Legal Implications."

Minnesota Continuing Legal Education has generously provided a link where the webinar can be viewed in its entirety, here.

As

We have been following the truncation trend to single-letter branding symbols for some time now.

Visa appears to be heading in this direction with the relatively new V logo:

                                                                            

Based on trademark filings at the USPTO, it appears Visa began using this single-letter V logo by itself back in 2008 with the launch of

Recovering from a nasty bout of walking pneumonia over the last couple of days, I probably spent more time (at least, mindless time) in front of the television than the last several months combined.

One thing that caught my eye during a brief and surprisingly mindful moment while I suffered was another brand to recently jump on the brandverb

These kinds of signs — that appear to single out Rollerblade brand in-line skate loyalists — are all over the place. This one happens to be in the parking garage I use in downtown Minneapolis.

To understand why the Rollerblade brand may find itself in this perilous position, read on, here.

For some additional reading on the related question of verbing brands

Trademark lawyers need to face the facts. Despite decades of ardent counseling to the contrary, business executives and marketers are not only testing the waters with the treatment of their most valuable brands as verbs, in some cases, they are diving in head first, committing substantial resources and effort toward the clearly stated goal of "verbing up" and having their brands used as

Although intellectual property lawyers of the Dr. No variety may not like to admit it — I submit that, not all slippery slopes are created equal. While some slippery slope cautions might prevent a few bumps and bruises in traveling along a particular path (e.g., the one on the left below), I suspect far fewer slippery slope cautions actually prevent life-ending falls from perilous cliffs (e.g., the one on the right below), yet other man-made slippery slopes specifically are designed for fun and enjoyment — not danger — and have generated enormous sales over the years (e.g., WHAM-O’s SLIP’N SLIDE brand products).

  

So, putting aside Professor Douglas Walton’s teaching that the slippery slope argument is “often treated as a fallacy,” it is worth asking what brand of slippery slope most accurately represents the risk associated with marketers using their brands and trademarks as verbs?

As discussed in Part I of my Just Verb It? series, many marketers love the idea of having their brands embraced as verbs, but many trademark lawyers totally forbid any “brandverbing,” i.e., “mis-using” brands (adjectives) as verbs: “Why? To prevent brand names and trademarks from becoming generic names and part of the public domain for anyone to freely use, even competitors.”

No doubt, genericide — the ultimate fear of using brands as verbs — equals certain trademark death, a horrible result from both marketing and legal perspectives; but, I submit it doesn’t necessarily follow that brandverbing activities automatically result in trademark death or genericide. To be sure, far more than a single act of verbing a trademark or brand must occur before a majority of the relevant consuming public no longer sees the claimed trademark or brand as identifying and distinguishing certain products or services as coming from a single source. Given this, there must be an opportunity to engage in some thoughtful and creative level of brandverbing without committing trademark suicide, right?


Continue Reading Just Verb It? Part III: Testing the “Slippery Slope” of Using Brands as Verbs