When can a brand owner lawfully use a competitor’s trademark on the brand owner’s product? Over the years, we’ve lifted away a lot of dust on the hairy subjects of classic trademark fair use, nominative fair use, and comparative advertising, especially in the context of billboard ads. It isn’t every day we see comparative billboard ads actually affixed to… Continue Reading
North Memorial is pressing up its commitment to using the Google mark on outdoor billboards: I have the same questions from last month for its digital campaign in the Minneapolis skyway. And one more: Will this increased visibility result in an emergency, calling for a Juris Doctor?
Carvana — online car dealer and operator of “a higher state of car buying” — sports a halo in its non-verbal logo shown above, but is it an angel when using the Google name and logo in t.v. ads? In other words, is the use licensed by Google or could it be defended successfully without permission as trademark nominative fair use?… Continue Reading
Downtown Minneapolis is starting to come alive for upcoming Super Bowl LII, you can feel the energy building and commerce flowing, new ads and signage being erected almost daily: What do you think, is the Super Bowl reference in the above temporary sign, a fair use? More particularly, nominative fair use? I do. But, will… Continue Reading
North Memorial Health must be spending significant advertising dollars at the moment, with a variety of ads appearing all over the Minneapolis skyway system, above is one current example. In addition, there are a series of humorous and sarcastic TV ads that were designed to poke the bear of our broken health care system, congrats to Brandfire on… Continue Reading
Over the weekend, the Star Tribune continued the growing drum beat of understandable excitement for Super Bowl LII, as it steadily approaches U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The article also plays the typical NFL-enabling drum beat of caution against local businesses that might see fit to fairly and truthfully reference the Super Bowl in some… Continue Reading
A little nominative trademark fair use might have saved these little gems from going right back to Costco, as gently used merchandise, with opened and not so gently mangled packaging to boot: Little did I know when grabbing this impulse item at Costco over the weekend (without my expert child companions) that — after anxiously… Continue Reading
While filling up my gas tank at our local Costco last week I coudn’t resist capturing this photo of pump signage to ask our dear readers a few pointed questions: Is there any doubt that the automobile depicted in the Costco advertisement is a Corvette Stingray? If so, HiConsumption should resolve any lingering questions. How did… Continue Reading
Absorbing all the television commercials in between football action on the field can be as much fun on Super Bowl Sunday as the actual game itself, at least for trademark and marketing types, especially when your favorite team isn’t even on the field. One of my personal favorites from this past weekend’s Super Bowl XLVI was the… Continue Reading
Successful trademark enforcement programs . . . .
Really, Trolls-R-Us? Seriously, I stumbled upon the above web site last evening (without using this online tool), doing some research for a future blog post on trolls, and it really left me with just one question. No need to dwell on such mundane topics as likelihood of confusion, dilution, or even fair use defenses, instead, I was left wondering, just how many… Continue Reading
This little gem arrived yesterday, basically an email promotion for this weekend, featuring Randy Moss and celebrating his return to the Minnesota Vikings: Of course, I’m thrilled too, that Randy Moss has returned to play ball in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean we forget all about his legal rights (name, image, likeness, right of publicity, to name a few),… Continue Reading
The newest fare at the Minnesota State Fair is not Camel-on-a-Stick, Buffalo-on-a-Stick, or any other kind of Food-on-a-Stick, but rather, Trademark-on-a-Stick. Earlier this week, the Minnesota State Fair (owned and operated by the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, a Minnesota State Agency) was hot to skewer the unauthorized use of its nearly three-decade-old and more recently trademarked logo, by incumbent Republican U.S. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, in a political ad… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
Before we asked whether the Accountemps billboard makes fair use of 3M’s Post-It note and canary yellow trademark: After (as in today): Now, I’m not taking credit (or blame, depending on your perspective), I’m just saying, we noticed the change and thought you should too.
I have asked the question before about the Google brand appearing in a Rapala billboard ad, here. I have asked it when 3M’s Post-It note appeared in an Accountemps billboard ad, here and here. Now I’m asking it again with a different brand and a different billboard ad: Does Morrie’s Automotive Group’s use of the Match.com brand… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
The Easter Bunny eats lettuce, right? OK, not a very substantive tie-in for today’s Easter Day post . . . . Anyway, about five weeks ago the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois rendered a trademark decision in Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises,Inc. v. Leila Sophia AR, LLC, d/b/a Lettuce Mix, granting plaintiff Lettuce Entertain You a temporary restraining order… Continue Reading
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) iPad configuration… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading
A couple of weeks ago I posted an Accountemps billboard advertisement that prominently features what appears to be a 3M Post-it brand removable adhesive note, and I asked whether it constitutes fair use, and whether 3M’s permission is necessary to run the advertisement, since 3M owns a federal trademark registration for the color "canary yellow" in connection with these notes…. Continue Reading
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… Continue Reading