-Martha Engel, Attorney

It’s rare that we focus on descriptions of goods or services here, but one of the most common reasons that a trademark for a brewery or winery is refused registration at the Trademark Office comes down to the description of services.  “Brewery services” and “winery services” are popular descriptions often used by

Matt Kucharski, Executive Vice President, Padilla Speer Beardsley

I’m not really the kind of guy to recommend brands on social media, which is a bit ironic because that’s the ultimate goal of every marketer – to turn your customers into advocates.

But that all changed the day I discovered Dollar Shave Club, an e-commerce

–Catlan McCurdy, Attorney

First, there was copyright. Then, there was Pinterest. And now, there is drama. The words “copyright infringement” and “Pinterest” have been thrown around a lot recently, mainly due to the blog post of one photographer/lawyer, Kirsten Kowalski. Kirsten recently blogged about her decision to break up with Pinterest aka

Awareness isn’t just about making a name for yourself. It’s about utilizing your network and being aware of others’ strengths in a way that mutually benefits both parties.

As humans, we can’t know everything. (That may be shocking!) That’s why we have friends—referrals—to ask for real-world advice.

With a straight face, I can tell you

— Laura Gutierrez

Whether you believe in personal branding or not, there is some truth to the fact that how you portray yourself off- and on-line is extremely important. Call it “personal branding” or online reputation…whatever you want, as long as you monitor it and shape it in the way you’d like.

A major component

John Reinan, Senior Director at Fast Horse, a Minneapolis marketing agency

Let’s face it: Social media are taking over the world. And the biggest social medium of them all, Facebook, is well on the way to grabbing a premier piece of trademark turf.

Facebook has applied for a trademark on the word “face&rdquo

by James Mahoney, Creative director/writer at Razor’s Edge Communications

What does a 42-year-old military offensive have to do with branding and social media? Quite a bit, as it happens. Consider four seemingly unrelated situations:

First, clothing purveyor Gap experienced an alleged misadventure recently when it unveiled a "new logo" on its website, only to reinstate the old logo a week later in the face of withering online vilification.

Second, Tropicana experienced a real misadventure when the company jettisoned its venerable and valuable "straw in an orange" for a new look and identity. That disastrous move was reversed in the face of actual withering response: a precipitous sales drop that validated the hue and cry.

Third, a few years ago, The Wall Street Journal revamped its look and feel. As change like this always does, this generated initial resistance in the readership, who had to recalibrate their familiarity with the paper. But the change was durable and the transition period short. Since then, the WSJ has continued to successfully tinker with the design and content.

Fourth, history students, and those of us old enough, will be familiar with the 1968 Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War. For others, here’s a brief description: At a critical moment in that war, the North Vietnamese launched simultaneous attacks across South Vietnam during the normal New Year’s armistice. While the offensive was a resounding and crippling military defeat for North Vietnam*, it was perceived as a convincing victory for them by the American public, whose only points of reference were frightening scenes of bloody combat in near-realtime on our living room TVs, and commentary in the media.

So, what’s the connection? All four were abrupt events that dislocated a status quo. All four involved branding and media, social and otherwise. Two were successful; two weren’t.


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–Susan Perera, Attorney

Well, it appears that yesterday’s guest blogger, Andrew Miller, and I are on the same wavelength as I also prepared some thoughts on the new iTunes Ping social networking platform. I guess such is the case in the world of social media where current events can be discussed ad nauseam in a