Someone who is in the business of repairing Volvo brand automobiles has the right to say so, in advertising, and elsewhere — without obtaining advance permission from Volvo — provided consumers aren’t likely to understand the advertisement or communication to mean that the repair services and/or the business providing them is authorized by, affiliated with, or otherwise connected to

Unable to resist a good trademark story, I snapped this photo in one of the countless gift shops along Hollywood Boulevard, as my family searched for various stars and did the "Walk of Fame," a week or so ago. What drew us into this particular shop was a striking wall full of shelves displaying what appeared to be rows upon rows of mini-Oscar gift statuettes.

Unlikely, however, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences "has carefully limited reproductions of the Oscar statuette . . . ." In fact, the Academy has a pretty controlled press-kit full of legal regulations, and the only trinkets that the Oscar trademark is federally registered for appears to be clothing, books and pamphlets; and the non-verbal two-dimensional depiction of the Oscar statuette is federally registered as a trademark for only clothing, pre-recorded videotapes, and books and pamphlets, no trophies or other gift items, it appears.

Indeed, upon closer inspection, the shop’s sign appropriately reads: "Small Trophy $8.99." It struck me that this is literally the sign of an effective trademark enforcement program. Left to their own devices, it wouldn’t be surprising to see shopkeeper’s signage reading "take home your very own Oscar style trophy," or "Oscar style trophies for sale," but the well-trained sign makes no such mentions and it does not utter the words "Oscar" or "Academy Awards," presumably because the Academy’s Oscar trademark police frequently patrol these parts. Or, perhaps when you’re positioned on Hollywood Boulevard, tourists get the picture, so to speak, without the use of another’s probably famous trademark.

What about when your gift or trophy shop is not on Hollywood Boulevard, but instead, somewhere along the Information Superhighway or beyond?

Continue Reading The Sign of a Successful Trademark Enforcement Program

Putting aside, for now, the unsettled question of who currently owns the iPad trademark, and Dan’s perspective on Apple’s trademark clearance strategies, from last week, look at what our finely-tuned e-mail spam filter just snagged:

It is a similar story to my previous Free Dell XPS Laptop Spam Scam? blog post from last December. Here, however, the Apple, iPad, and the (possible)

Same drill as yesterday. Another email spam scam? More trademark fair use abuse?

Is it just me, or is the branded email spam coming out of the virtual woodwork, or what?

It appears that spam email — complete with fully branded solicitations — is becoming more and more aggressive, both from legal and technology perspectives.

We

What if you were told that if you agreed to "test" a Dell XPS laptop you could keep it, for free?

Would you expect the offer to be from Dell Computer?

After all, who else but the manufacturer would care to give a computer away for simply having you test it?

Would you at least expect the offer to be affiliated with, or authorized, or approved by Dell Computer?

What if the unsolicited email offer avoided your spam filter and looked something like this?

Would you click on the "CLICK HERE" icon as instructed, or would you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page to see if you might be able to learn more before clicking?

Continue Reading Free Dell XPS Laptop Spam Scam?

This billboard ad has appeared in various locations around the Twin Cities for some time now. 

Each time I saw it, I wondered whether it would be the last, given how vigilant 3M is in protecting its various trademarks and other intellectual property. This time, I had a camera handy to capture it.

Now it’s time for some questions.

Is there any

This unsolicited e-mail communication from the Caribbean Island of Nevis got trapped in our spam filter, but I thought I’d remove the link and bring it out under a short leash for some legal training and discussion:

Google Works

Trademark fair use, you ask?

Continue Reading Fair Use of the Google Name, Logo, and Distinctive Color Combination?