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

Legal departments sometimes get a bad reputation for saying “no” too often. A “no” from legal is particularly hard to stomach when you think the potential legal risk is farfetched. In this dispute, Wal-Mart must have decided that there was no way a competitor could own the basic word BACKYARD for grills and grilling accessories.

–Dan Kelly, Attorney

I have generally enjoyed Geico’s commercials over the years, having gone so far at one point as to actually become an auto-insurance customer (but not currently).  Geico’s commercials can be viewed on its website here, and the vast majority of them end with the same tagline–one that I have heard frequently

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

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)

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

Under Consideration’s Brand New Blog has on two recent occasions commented about the trend in using white as the color for product packaging of consumable goods. Wal-Mart was the first to use this color packaging for its private label brand and the European community appears to be following suit. Using a white background has its marketing

Let’s revisit the topic of non-traditional “touch” trademarks today.

Of all the traditional five human senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) and trademarks that can be perceived by one or more of those senses, touch, a/k/a tactile, a/k/a texture trademarks are just about as uncommon as any (taste, perhaps, being the least common). Indeed, back in 2006, Marty Schwimmer from The Trademark Blog correctly noted the dearth of recognized tactile marks. Moreover, despite a 2006 INTA Board of Directors’ Resolution supporting the protection of touch marks, few appear to have reached for or grabbed any such protection (putting aside Kimberly-Clark, already blogged about here).

As arguably one of the most intimate of the senses: ‘Touch is the first sense developed in the womb and the last sense used before death.” Given that and given other unique characteristics of “touch” among the senses, it is a bit surprising that touch marks haven’t been pursued more by marketers looking to create intimate, emotional connections with a brand: “Another distinction of the sense of touch is that it is identified with the real. You can’t believe your eyes, nor your ears, and taste is personal and subjective, but touch is proof.” By the way, since touch/tactile/texture marks are so uncommon, why can’t we agree on what to call them? For what its worth, my vote is to call them “touch” marks since that is the term that names the underlying basic human sense.

Anyway, with that background, as far as I can tell, the one industry that seems to show the most promise or, at least, interest in touch trademarks, is the alcoholic beverages industry, most particularly those companies that focus on selling distilled spirits or wine.

                          


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— Karen Brennan, Attorney

Mommy Bloggers are an ever-growing group of women, estimated to number well into the millions, connecting over the Internet and sharing stories, tips and information relating to all aspects of motherhood.  There is no doubt Mommy Bloggers are impacting the on-line advertising and marketing world.  BusinessWeek recently ran an article dedicated to pitching products and services to Mommy Bloggers and many major companies are attempting to wield the Mommy Blogging economic power.  For example, Wal-Mart’s web site now includes a blogging hub for moms (Elevenmoms) and General Mills has a new blog, written by hundreds of moms recruited to blog about free products they are asked to review, in the hopes the bloggers will spark interest in the products they like.


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