It is frequently becoming more and more difficult to remember all the topics we’ve covered here over the last — almost — nine years. A recent Snickers end cap display jogged my memory:

Turns out, eight months into this little adventure we call DuetsBlog, I wrote a blog post called Delicious Trademarks: Candy Bar Cross-Section

We follow closely and write a lot about what goes on with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); these ironmongers do too, really well.

Serious trademark and brand owners care about TTAB decisions because many trademark disputes begin and end there, as the TTAB determines the

One of my passions is to find common and favorable ground between legal and marketing types.

One of the readings during week three of Seth Godin’s intensive altMBA workshop reminded me of a great example to illustrate how a valid marketing goal can align with strong legal protection.

An excerpt from Seth’s All Marketers are

Let’s suppose you conduct sightseeing tours using a tram car, maybe on the boardwalk in New Jersey. Maybe even a famous tram car service you’ve operated since 1949?

Let’s further suppose your passengers may get on or off anywhere along the route, as it travels along Wildwoods Boardwalk.

Would you think you could own

 

I’d venture to say that virtually every product sitting on a store shelf is crying out "try me" — some more colorfully than others, some more subtly than others, some more creatively than others, some more persuasively than others. However, most don’t just some out and say the words.

Assuming that to be the case, is it right that only one sauce brand can actually come out and say it?

Hat tip to GuestBlogger Mark Gallagher of BlackCoffee for providing the photo on the left and raising the question.

Turns out the "TryMe" brand has a long history, and it was first registered in 1926 with these style and format limitations (making reasonable a single syllable pronunciation with a silent "e"):

 

Then TRYME registered in 1996, again as a compressed mark, but this time without any style or format limitations (making the "TryMe" usage possible and still supporting the registration), and it now appears from the photos above, that the brand owner favors a compressed style that encourages a two syllable pronunciation ("TryMe").

I’m not sure if James Brown ever promoted the "TryMe" brand, but it might be a nice fit . . . .

 

It all leaves me wondering whether this two-syllable usage and migration undermines the validity of the trademark, by placing "TryMe" closer to the category of non-protectable informational matter.

For a sampling of other words and phrases found in certain contexts to be merely informational and not worthy or capable of trademark protection, see below the jump.


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