Let’s all hope that the Supplemental Trademark Register is not on the death watch.

It appears though to be on life support, at times, and especially with the USPTO’s heightened focus on “merely informational” matter, including laudatory messages.

This is a common basis for registration refusal nowadays: “Merely informational matter fails to function as a

Over the weekend, IPBiz reported that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has filed an application to register 3:16 as a trademark for clothing items.

A Google search confirms that 3:16 has religious significance as it is a common truncation that signifies one of the most widely quoted verses from the Bible, namely, John 3:16.

Despite

 

I’d venture to say that virtually every product sitting on a store shelf is crying out "try me" — some more colorfully than others, some more subtly than others, some more creatively than others, some more persuasively than others. However, most don’t just some out and say the words.

Assuming that to be the case, is it right that only one sauce brand can actually come out and say it?

Hat tip to GuestBlogger Mark Gallagher of BlackCoffee for providing the photo on the left and raising the question.

Turns out the "TryMe" brand has a long history, and it was first registered in 1926 with these style and format limitations (making reasonable a single syllable pronunciation with a silent "e"):

 

Then TRYME registered in 1996, again as a compressed mark, but this time without any style or format limitations (making the "TryMe" usage possible and still supporting the registration), and it now appears from the photos above, that the brand owner favors a compressed style that encourages a two syllable pronunciation ("TryMe").

I’m not sure if James Brown ever promoted the "TryMe" brand, but it might be a nice fit . . . .

 

It all leaves me wondering whether this two-syllable usage and migration undermines the validity of the trademark, by placing "TryMe" closer to the category of non-protectable informational matter.

For a sampling of other words and phrases found in certain contexts to be merely informational and not worthy or capable of trademark protection, see below the jump.


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La Mer The Body Creme

Millimeters apart on the label, miles apart in meaning. Yes, a few extra millimeters of blank space can make all the difference in the world for some brands. Especially when the brand name consists of two words, and the typical visual treatment has all letters appearing in identical size and style (all caps), and when compressing the words yields an unintended, unfavorable meaning. Take the above luxury skin care brand owned by La Mer Technology, one of the Estee Lauder companies.

Honestly, I’m not sure how, but a few weeks ago, I came across Felicia Sullivan’s blog post "Covet Fall’s Top 10 Beauty Indulgences" on The Huffington Post, featuring the above product image. I took a double take at the brand name, laughed out loud (initially thinking it was a spoof product), and after realizing it wasn’t, I knew I couldn’t resist writing about it.

Part of my due diligence involved questioning my wife about it, she being far more experienced in these kinds of matters. I was "kindly" informed that "anybody who is anyone" knows La Mer is a coveted luxury skin care brand. Since being educated, I now introduce my wife as anyone, and myself as no one. Ironically, you might say I fit at least one slang definition of "lamer" — "a person who is out of touch with modern fads or trends, esp. one who is unsophisticated." There are other meanings too, that I suspect don’t implicate the target market for $130 an ounce skin care products, or value-priced 16.5 ounce containers at $1,390. Just so you know, I also have come to know that anyone who knows anything about the French language knows La Mer means "the sea".


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