The headline might be considered old news to some, but since intellectual property attorneys from around the world will be descending upon Minneapolis for the remainder of the week, and since I’ll be speaking tomorrow at the American Intellectual Property Law Association Spring Meeting at the Minneapolis Hilton, on the history and public policy
Yesterday the Federal Circuit issued its decision in In re Tam, an appeal filed by a musician whose application to register the mark THE SLANTS had been refused registration on the ground that it was disparaging to Asian Americans. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) relied on the same provision to cancel the…
Last Friday, both slanted arguments and red herrings were present during the 90 minute en banc oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in In re Tam.
The question invited by the CAFC to be addressed in Tam is whether Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act’s prohibition on the…
Kmart recently unveiled a brand new advertisement that’s about as subtle as a shovel to the face. While some have described it as juvenile or immature, I can’t help but chuckle everytime I see or hear it. Maybe that says something about me…
Anyway, here’s the ad.
The ad, which was initially released exclusively online,…
On June 15, 2011, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana put a bullet in Dillinger, LLC’s efforts to hold Electronic Arts liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition based on EA’s use of the word “Dillinger” in one of its video games. EA is the developer and publisher of Godfather video…
On a recent pilgrimage to my home town to visit the University of Iowa and to see the Hawkeyes play football again in hallowed Kinnick Stadium, I discovered that a rather rudimentary and perhaps impolite (or potty mouth), yet passionate (sorry Nancy) branding technique, is alive and kicking in Iowa City. I also learned what now appears to go hand-in-hand (or, perhaps leg-in-hands as opposed to a single hand) with Hawkeye football games, at least those played on their home turf:
Somehow the static sign doesn’t do justice to the in-person-experience, so try the YouTube video.
There was a time when a simple, honest name was good enough.
Anthony, it appears those times are alive and well (or at least kicking) in the middle of the heartland.
Having said that, I’m also reminded of Liz Goodgold’s caution over "Potty Mouth Marketing: Six Reasons Why Vulgar Language is the Curse of Your Brand".
Trademark Office insights below the jump.Continue Reading Primitive & Impolite, But Non-Vulgar Trademark & Naming Technique?
"The name is Bond, James Bond," said Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and Daniel Craig, among others, countless times in film, as part of the famous 007 series. An ideal name for a secret agent. A name and line not easily forgotten, as brands and taglines should be.
And then, there are some names you’d like to forget, but can’t, especially if they are associated with personal injury lawyers, who probably "suk" even more than trademark lawyers (who merely have been dubbed the most basic figure), right?
Well, using Dan’s post from Friday, as a catapult (or, perhaps a hole-digger) for discussion, I’m thinking the jury is still out on 3 being the magic number, at least as it pertains to the 3 letters forming a rather rare surname (Suk) and the same number of words forming a curious (and hopefully misdescriptive) law firm name (Suk Law Firm), so, sorry Dan, I’m not sure there is any way to pull a rabbit out of the hat on this troubled tripartite branding combination:
Seeing the signage here, I’m thinking that any new or temporary receptionists at this law firm automatically require more intense phonetic training than your average law firm receptionist. In fact, this little gem (hat tip and photo credit to Max) probably rivals those spotted by Mark Prus in his recent guest post entitled: "Name Development Faux Pas, a.k.a. What Were They Thinking?!"
Ironically, the tagline for the Suk Law Firm is composed of these 3 words too: "Think About It."
So, I’m assuming they followed their own advice and did, but nevertheless, it probably came down the same way the Drury Inns name did, since the surnames in question no doubt have a great deal of goodwill associated with and emotional attachment to their founders. Might a naming consultant, nevertheless have said, forgetaboutit?
In any event, one of the things I’d be inclined to think about is how the brand name might sound when spoken, especially in a world where word-of-mouth marketing is key, and also how it might be perceived by those in the relevant public, given the possible truncation from its four-letter cousin. Apparently Suk, when the surname meaning is intended, sounds like "cook" or "book," not "pluck" or "stuck." Oh, the things phonetic punctuation symbols can and should be used to do, to help guide the intended meaning by signaling long and short vowel sounds!
On a related note, it reminds me of the unintended meanings that can result when critical spacing is omitted, as was the case, between the branded words "LA MER" to yield LAMER.
Although mispronouncing the Suk surname may be bad enough, when one examines the derivation of the name, it doesn’t appear to improve much on the meaning front either, since Suk apparently is not only a nickname for a "powerful, unyielding man," but also a "stubborn, awkward one". Hmmm, it’s all beginning to make sense now.
For those with any modicum of lingering interest, the Trademark Office’s treatment of SUK appears below the jump.Continue Reading Tripartite Branding Trouble: The Name is Suk?
Mark Prus recently highlighted some examples of a do-it-yourself naming faux pas, where he asked "What were they thinking?!" This one probably deserves the same question and, at least to me, clearly falls into the category of a do-it-yourself trademark application faux pas.
Just so you know, I innocently stumbled across this recently abandoned trademark application for the…
–Dan Kelly, Attorney
One of the hottest pieces of blogfodder these days is the recent ad for Huggies Jeans diapers. Others have commented on the taste aspects of this ad. My question? I wanted to know whether Kimberly-Clark applied to register trademark rights in the tag line, “The coolest you’ll look pooping your pants.” …