James E. Lukaszewski ABC,APR, Fellow PRSA, President of the Lukaszewski Group Division of Risdall McKinney Public Relations

When we analyze what causes management communications programs to implode, explode, derail, self-destruct, or simply slide into the ditch, there are identifiable behaviors and activities that precede or predict disaster or negative collateral damage. Here’s a checklist

Actually, not just the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (governing appeals from the federal district courts in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin), but the Seventh Circuit is the most recent to reaffirm that our current legal system does, in fact, provide protection against real “trademark bullies” — and more generally — those who abuse

Years ago I recall hearing a veteran trademark lawyer warn intellectual property continuing legal education attendees, "When your toolbox only has a hammer in it, everything in your world starts to look like a nail."

Fair enough. It’s time for all of us to revisit the contents of our professional toolbox.

Last week, following the firestorm of criticism surrounding Best Buy’s cease and desist

by Randall Hull of The Br@nd Ranch®

AKA: "Oh What a feeling".

Unless you have been on a trek to one of the poles or living in a cabin deep in the woods somewhere, you have likely heard about the huge problem facing Toyota Motor Corporation and its U.S. organization Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc.

More on single color trademarks today. Eighteen months ago, Wolf Appliance obtained a federal trademark registration in connection with "a red knob or knobs" of "domestic gas and electric cooking appliances, namely, ranges, dual-fuel ranges, cooktops, and barbeque grills."

Wolf put its registration to the test a couple of weeks ago in a federal

Social media has become the must-have tool for every marketer and this tool is gaining popularity with every industry. For example, the insurance industry is typically known for more low-key advertising and marketing channels. However, companies like HCC Medical Services, LLC and Blue Cross Blue Shield have jumped on the social media band wagon. HCC Medical Services has

My job sometimes is rescuing attorneys, often from themselves. Perhaps the quintessential illustration is a comment made by a corporate general counsel recently, whose organization was responsible for a number of victims, including fatalities. Her opening line to me was, “We’re not the empathy department in this company.” However, the reason she was talking to me was that

A brief study in how the Lion’s Tap could have had its burger and eaten it too.

I have to say, in the interest of full disclosure, I have an irrational love for the Lion’s Tap.

Ever since I worked in Eden Prairie back in the 1990s, I’ve been hooked. Fast forward the better part of a decade, put our family a cool 35 miles away in Shoreview, and we still find ourselves driving nearly an hour on special occasions to grab a burger.

That’s part of what made me so damn mad when I saw McDonald’s latest billboards. Who’s your patty? For Angus burgers? You’ve got to be kidding. Lion’s Tap is "my" patty, thank you very much! They’ve had the slogan on their tastefully tacky t-shirts for over four years.

I thought about it though. I know Lion’s Tap. But my guess is that only a small smattering of people do (perhaps 3-4% of the Twin Cities population if you were to survey). Who are they going to think came up with the slogan? And if they walked into Lion’s Tap tomorrow, who would you think was ripping off whom? That’s right. You guessed it.

It bugged me. I was a bit upset. I was ready to come to my restaurant’s defense.

Until they sued.

You can read more here, but the fact of the matter is that Lion’s Tap decided to run to the courts to remedy what is calls a trademark infringement case.

Here’s the problem, instead of coming off as the victim (which you could argue Lion’s Tap is), they come off as another coffee-in-the-crotch, show-me-the-money, lawsuit-happy opportunist. Just read some of the news stories and read some of the comments to see what I mean, here, here, and here.

Ick.

Let’s explore what Lion’s Tap "could have" done differently, and how it might have panned out.


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