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Tag Archives: Trademark Strength

Happy Birthday: TTAB Turns Sixty in 2018

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Infringement, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

We follow closely and write a lot about what goes on with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); these ironmongers do too, really well. Serious trademark and brand owners care about TTAB decisions because many trademark disputes begin and end there, as the TTAB determines the important… Continue Reading

Who Decides What Your Brand’s Worth?

Posted in Articles, Branding, International, Marketing, Patents, Product Configurations, Trademarks

On this Cyber Monday, I’m left wondering, will we ever have a day when the metrics and automated tools available are so accurate and reliable that intangible assets like brands (and trademarks) regularly will be valued, bought, and sold online? At rock bottom, a brand’s value is at least what another — in an arm’s… Continue Reading

Google’s Latest Trademark Bugaboo?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Infringement, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Search Engines, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

Fame tends to attract attention, and imitation, especially unwanted imitation from, well, even pests. The Google trademark appears to have obtained such a high degree of fame that no third party can include the word “Google” in its mark without having a problem, regardless of what the third party happens to be selling. Ron, can you say, right in gross?… Continue Reading

Putt-Putt Has No Miniature Trademark Rights

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademarks

With all the golf coverage of the Masters Tournament and the coveted Green Jacket, this past weekend, it seemed particularly appropriate to report on a recent trademark case involving the miniature variety of golf: Putt-Putt, LLC v. 416 Constant Friendship, LLC (April 5, 2013 D. Md.). So, I learned two things this weekend, Adam Scott… Continue Reading

Beware the Paralyzing “Whac-A-Mole” Trademark Mentality

Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Infringement, Marketing, Trademarks

Trademark enforcement against infringing domains on the Internet is frequently likened to playing Whac-A-Mole. Just as soon as you eliminate one, up pops another, and another, etc. Dan’s post from last week on the most recent land rush on the Internet — with the creation of almost infinite Internet real estate — may be a warning that this comparison… Continue Reading

Brand Extensions That Significantly Expand Trademark Strength, Scope, and Risk

Posted in Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks

As we have written before, any brand extension requires the necessary due diligence to mitigate the risk of a serious trademark conflict. And, from a trademark perspective, both strength and scope of rights necessarily expand as the number of different goods and services sold under the brand grows. If recent marketing research on brand extensions is followed… Continue Reading

A Legal Obligation to Enforce Trademark Rights?

Posted in Dilution, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Genericide, Infringement, Law Suits, Loss of Rights, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

When trademark owners are accused of bullying and shamed in public, a common and knee-jerk defensive response to justify the cease and desist letter or enforcement action is: “We have a legal duty and obligation to police and enforce our trademark rights.” And, some might even go on to say: “If we don’t enforce our mark against this use,… Continue Reading

The Galleria of Retail Jewelry Store Taglines

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Goodwill, Marketing, Television, Trademarks

 On this Valentine’s Day, after enduring weeks of the same endless running of national retail jewelry chain advertising, leading up to this annually celebrated day of love and affection, I thought it might be fitting to try a few retail jewelry store taglines on for size and examine — at least from a trademark perspective — their protect-ability and likely placement on the… Continue Reading

What Serious Trademark Owners Do

Posted in Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

There are many things that serious trademark owners do throughout the lifecycle of a trademark to mitigate risk, protect the valuable goodwill in their underlying brand, and preserve their valuable investment in this important intellectual property asset. Here is a fairly extensive, but certainly not exhaustive, and often forgotten, list of those things: Clear new marks before using them… Continue Reading

Trolls-R-Us?

Posted in Mixed Bag of Nuts

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

A Monster Mash of Halloween Store Marks

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Dilution, Marketing

–Susan Perera, Attorney It’s that time of year again, when retail stores featuring ghosts, goblins, and all things spooky begin to appear. This year multiple parties went trick or treating at the USPTO to register their trademarks for Halloween retail store services, and apparently they weren’t all reading Steve’s post from earlier this year regarding party… Continue Reading

Crowded Trademark Parties & Coexisting Store Names

Posted in Branding, Famous Marks, Food, Infringement, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

If you don’t mind the wait, a crowded parking lot is often a good strategy when hunting for an excellent restaurant while you’re in unfamiliar territory. Similarly, a large crowd lining up outside a retail store is typically a good sign that the business is doing something right, or perhaps, they just happen to have something rare that everyone wants…. Continue Reading

Another Marketing Pitfall: How to Crush a Smashing Brand Name & Trademark

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Genericide, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks

Last week we blogged about the dreaded D-Word and how some marketers unwittingly undermine trademark rights in a brand name by explaining that the name "describes" or is "descriptive" of the goods or services sold under the brand. We also have blogged about the danger of "taking a suggestive name, mark, or tag-line, and using it descriptively in… Continue Reading

What a Crock, Pot That Is . . .

Posted in Branding, Genericide, Infringement, Keyword Ads, Law Suits, Marketing, Search Engines, Trademarks

We’re not talking the foamed footwear Crocs® that Randall Hull wrote about in his What a Croc! post from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, we’re talking slow cookers — on this snow-capped Valentine’s Day in the Twin Cities. Every once in a while a stroll down the grocery store aisle leaves me surprised when… Continue Reading

Taking the Cake With Suggestive Trademarks?

Posted in Branding, Food, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

John Reinan provided yesterday a marketer’s perspective that questioned the value of coined trademarks. In my experience, as a trademark type, one place on the spectrum of distinctiveness where both trademark and marketing types can have their cake and eat it too, is the delicious category of suggestive trademarks. From the legal side of the coin, suggestive… Continue Reading

A Marketer’s Perspective: Questioning The Value of Coined Trademarks?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Guest Bloggers, Marketing, Trademarks

I’m thrilled to have this platform to vent about a long-standing beef: awkward, made-up product and company names. Trademark lawyers call them coined. Among the worst offenders are automobiles, technology and finance. When I was a kid, cars had names like Roadmaster, Thunderbird and Catalina. Now a prospective car buyer has to wade through an… Continue Reading

Striking The Pose of Differentiation?

Posted in Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Marketing, Sight, Trademarks

As you’ll see, I’m no equestrian (nor equine expert for that matter), but given the non-verbal logos shown above, are you able to tell what company operates a fleet of these semi tractor-trailers? Does the color of the horse help? Horse breed? The direction it is facing? How about its pose? Some possible considerations and the answer below the jump.

Counting By Numbers, or Stripes? A Likelihood of Confusion Tale.

Posted in Branding, Domain Names, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

     When it comes to scope of rights and trademark enforcement, as a trademark type, it’s hard not to admire Adidas’ success in preventing the use of two, three, and four stripes, when its long-standing federally-registered design mark consists of three stripes. At least in the U.S., Adidas appears to have gained a one… Continue Reading

Battle of the Nerds? Best Buy’s Geek Squad¬Æ on Trademark Patrol

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Domain Names, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

    Best Buy, owner of the Geek Squad brand since 2002, has filed a federal trademark infringement complaint in Minnesota against a pair of individual defendants apparently located in Missouri and California, for allegedly registering and using <thegeekpatrol.biz> domain and the names "Geek Patrol," "Geek Squad," and "Geek Squad Patrol". Here is a copy of the Complaint, including Exhibit A (Trademark registrations), Exhibit… Continue Reading