Yeah, we usually mean this Apple, when we spill digital ink, not today, instead the edible varieties:

Hat tip to Erik Pelton who tweeted about the federal registration of LUDACRISP for fresh apples.

We know something about non-ludicrous trademark protection for apples > First Kiss and Rave.

They are newly minted brands for the MN55 Apple, a cross between HoneyCrisp and MonArk.

As it turns out, Honeycrisp might have been a trademark, but for its inclusion in a plant patent.

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, does that include juris doctors who are into trademarks?

Or, would it be ludicrous for Apple, you know the iPhone XS one, to name a device Honeycrisp?

If only Honeycrisp could be a University of Minnesota apple trademark; Apple still has a chance.

To grasp lessons learned from the Honeycrisp story, and fully digest the Best Buy brand refresh, join us in Minneapolis on Thursday, a few seats remain for our Creative Brand Protection II event:

Winthrop & Weinstine’s Trademark and Brand Protection practice group will host a few hours of trademark and brand protection education, food and drink, and networking!

For the educational portion of the evening, we’ll share valuable insights and guidance for those who love brands and want to learn creative strategies for maximizing their value.

Yours truly, will moderate a panel discussion joined by:

  • Karen Brennan, Senior Director, Intellectual Property, Best Buy
  • Anne Hall, Technology Strategy Manager-Life Sciences, University of Minnesota
  • Aaron Keller, Co-Author: The Physics of Brand; Co-Founder Capsule Design
  • Tim Sitzmann, Trademark and Brand Protection Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine

The panel will share best practices and creative approaches to both launching new brands and refreshing a mature brand. The panel will develop a robust discussion using the University of Minnesota’s MN55 apple launch and Best Buy’s brand refresh to explore the following themes:

  • Transforming a commodity into a valuable brand
  • Strategies for selecting and owning names and marks
  • Carving a path for global trademark and brand protection
  • Legal considerations for refreshing a brand’s visual identity

Reserve your spot now, space is limited. We hope you will join this lively and informative event!

And, I’ll say it again, if only Honeycrisp was an apple trademark, or an Apple trademark . . . .

In the meantime, since Honeycrisp is generic for fresh edible apples, is this stylization distinctive?

Nope, the pedestrian style is not striking enough to be trademark ownable, contrast Miller’s Lite.

– Draeke Weseman, Weseman Law Office, PLLC

Some folks sing in the shower. Others critique the packaging of their face cleanser.

 Garnier’s Clean+ Purifying Foam Cleanser is a good cleanser packaged in a plain-looking bottle. The bottle looks like your normal foam dispenser, and, picking it up for the first time, you would expect to pump the top and get some foam. But looks can be deceiving: Garnier’s bottle has no pump. Instead, you simply twist the top and squeeze.

Looking over the bottle, though, there is no name for this unique foam-dispensing mechanism. Garnier provides only a red elliptical shape at the top with the instruction: “squeeze bottle to foam.”

Does this seem like a missed intellectual property opportunity to you? What about a missed marketing opportunity? What if I told you that eight out of the nine reviews I found on Garnier’s website and Amazon mentioned the feature? Here are a few:

I came across this product because my roommate threw it in the trash. She does that a lot; it’s how I try a lot of beauty products. I’m guessing she couldn’t figure out how to work the pump. #notthebrightestbulb. Anyways, you squeeze the bottle, it foams, and comes out.

The bottle is tricky, maybe put some visual directions on the bottle? This is a new design to most people, as I have not seen such cleansers (or other products) where you would have to squeeze the bottle.

The foam dispenser is genius — super easy to use!

It seems to me that Garnier is missing out here. Without a name for its foam-dispensing mechanism, Garnier has no way to capture and develop the goodwill earned by some purchasers’ positive experiences. Naming the product feature would give the public a shared term to reference in passing along word-of-mouth recommendations and lower search costs when purchasers look for other Garnier products with the named feature. A name would also draw attention to the feature, helping some of the purchasers figure out how to use it. And naming the feature wouldn’t be that difficult: a name like “Simple Squeeze” or “Clean Squeeze Technology” might work.

By using a name to call attention to and capture the goodwill in the product feature, and by protecting the name with a trademark, Garnier could gain a marketing advantage against all those normal pump-top bottles out there. Further, the trademark for the name of the product feature could be paired up with non-traditional trademarks, like non-functional product packaging or color, and marketers could work the name into corresponding “look for” advertising campaigns. All of these trademark rights that Garnier could develop would exist on top of any patent rights and copyrights that Garnier might also acquire for the product feature or packaging. This is the robust intellectual property layering that Steve blogged about last week.

Ok, so maybe this is a lot to ask from a foam dispenser. Then again, people like to squeeze things! And squeezing seems to build serious brand connections. Am I right, Charmin?

So let’s ask the marketing types. What do you think: should Garnier try to squeeze a little more out its foam-dispensing mechanism? Should we trademark types spend more time helping our clients find these opportunities to squeeze the most out of a product feature?