Following a nice evening out chatting with Kevin O’Keefe, it’s time for my favorite weekend of all – the NCAA tournament.

Now this post isn’t necessarily about basketball, but rather rivalries. In particular, rivalries between the state of Michigan and the state of North Carolina. Michigan v Duke, Michigan State v. North Carolina…there’s plenty

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC

On Monday, the University of Oregon and The Ohio State University will play in college football’s first College Football Playoff championship game. DuetsBlog has previously covered the trademark issues surrounding BCS Properties’ attempt to register College Football Playoff as a trademark in connection with college football playoff games here. Even if College Football Playoff ultimately fails as a trademark, Monday’s championship game will be awash in trademarks and intellectual property. Consider this your DuetsBlog guide to the game.

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

We’ll start with Oregon, and begin with a little history. In 1859, Congress required Oregon to set aside land for a state university as a condition for admittance into the Union. Oregon chose land in Eugene, and, in the mid-1870s, began building what is today the University of Oregon®, or Oregon®, or just UO®. Although all eyes will be on the Oregon Ducks’® football team on Monday night, Eugene may be better known to many as Track Town USA® thanks to the success of Oregon’s track team under Bill Bowerman in the 1960s and 70s. During that time Bill Bowerman introduced jogging to the American public, coached the legend Steve Prefontaine, met Phil Knight, and started Nike, Inc.

Nike has maintained a strong relationship with Oregon ever since, hiring grad Tinker Hatfield in the 80s to design Air Jordan shoes (but not the ones blogged about here) and grad Dan Weiden’s agency Weiden-Kennedy, to coin the tag line “Just Do It” while developing TV ads like “Bo Knows” to sell newly invented cross-training shoes (also designed by Tinker Hatfield.) Today, Nike designs not only Oregon’s football uniforms, but also the special uniforms for all four teams that played in the College Football Playoffs, branding them from head to toe, and even hands:

For those interested, these uniform deals are influential, lucrative, and signed on a team-by-team basis.


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In Michigan last week, the billboard below popped up off of an interstate highway near Flint:

(image, and story, available here)

It certainly isn’t the first time that an advertisement has left out, or at least obscured, the sponsor or the products. (See our own Duets Blog discussion of a Coca Cola ad with sparse information here).

Given that Michigan is the largest producer of blueberries in the United States, there were a few usual suspects: the Michigan Blueberry Growers’ Association, Flint’s largest blueberry farm, local farmer’s markets, the annual blueberry festival… No, no, no, and no. Not us. So who was actually behind it? And what were they trying to say?


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Restaurant trade dress is possible to own when the claimed trade dress is distinctive and non-functional, think Taco Cabana. Restaurant trade dress can be so unique in the marketplace that distinctiveness is presumed with a finding of inherent distinctiveness. When not so obviously unique, distinctiveness also can be established with the more difficult

Vice President Joe Biden recently revived popular use of the word “malarkey” or “malarky” — a word that essentially means “nonsense.”

Our DuetsBlog friend Nancy Friedman, author of the award-winning Fritinancy Blog, covered “Malarkey” as the “Word of the Week” earlier this month.

So, imagine my surprise to pass by a restaurant called Malarkys in