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
As you know, we have enjoyed commenting on Rapala’s billboard ads each year, but when I…
Every now and then, I come across branding campaigns which make me ask "What were they thinking?" Although the question may sound condescending, I often ask it in a literal sense, trying to figure out why advertisers made certain decisions.
One particular advertising campaign that I can’t figure out is the "Land of Beef."…
Clients and friends have enjoyed passing yesterday’s Dilbert cartoon on to me, just for fun (I think).
So, for those of you who weren’t sure we could take not only a lawyer joke, but a “trademark infringement lawyer” joke, read on:
Having said that, I think we already demonstrated our ability to self-deprecate with the…
Taglines and advertising slogans can be wonderful branding and marketing tools, but I’m thinking (not Arby’s, by the way) that McDonald’s is probably not thinkin’ that its (likely) famous I’m lovin’ it tagline accurately describes its taste for the federal trademark infringement lawsuit that Twin Cities-based Lion’s Tap recently slapped on McDonald’s for its whopper of an advertising campaign — promoting its new Angus Third Pounders — served up with the clever and simple play-on-words advertising slogan and question: Who’s Your Patty?
No doubt, McDonald’s likely will not make a run for the border, instead, it likely will instruct its team of lawyers to think outside the bun in designing a successful legal defense and response strategy, in the hope of not hearing the court say to Lion’s Tap in the end, have it your way.
For your reading pleasure, here is a pdf copy of the complaint filed last Friday in Minnesota federal district court. As you will see from the Minnesota State Who’s Your Patty? Certificate of Registration (attached to the filed complaint), Lion’s Tap waited to register its claimed mark in Minnesota until August 18, 2009, ten days before filing suit. As a result, Lion’s Tap clearly did not register the tagline “four years ago,” or back in 2005 (the year it claims to have commenced use), as incorrectly reported ad nauseam, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Well, at least a couple of the media outlets covering the story avoided the mistake, and got the registration date right.
So, why is the date of registration significant? If McDonald’s didn’t know about Lion’s Tap’s use before rolling out its own use of “Who’s Your Patty?” — an entirely plausible scenario, since the mark was not registered, even in Minnesota, until well after and apparently in response to McDonald’s already commenced use — it starts to look like a much different case for Lion’s Tap (more un-Hamburglar-like), for reasons I’ll explain later.
–Dan Kelly, Attorney
My wife and I recently received a gift of chocolate, called the Marital Bliss Bar, from Bloomsberry & Co. The packaging is quite humorous:
Bloomsberry’s other chocolates are also in generally humorous packages, with some bordering on edgy, even racy — all can be viewed at its website.
Humor in marketing…