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Category Archives: Trademarks

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Dispute Over Bad Moms Mark

Posted in Idea Protection, Infringement, Law Suits, Television, Trademarks

Florida start-up entity BAD MOMS, LLC beat the producer of the movie with the same name to the punch! Specifically, the company sued the producer for declaratory judgment and an injunction preventing the movie producer from using the mark in connection with any of the Florida company’s goods and services or those related thereto. Both… Continue Reading

Chief Justice John Roberts Talks Trademarks

Posted in Articles, First Amendment, Patents, Trademarks

It’s not every day you’re presented with the unique opportunity of seeing and hearing the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court live in your own backyard, thanks very much Caleb! Tuesday was that day, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. was here in Minneapolis for the 2018 Stein Lecture at the University of Minnesota’s Northrup Auditorium, as the… Continue Reading

Verbing a Wine Brand Won’t Make You a Star

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Welcome to another edition of trademark stories that are inspired by billboard advertisements: This one was captured for obvious reasons, if you’re familiar with our interest in brandverbing: Just Verb It? A Legal Perspective on Using Brands As Verbs: Part I Just Verb It? Part II: A Legal Perspective on Using Brands as Verbs Just Verb It? Part… Continue Reading

Intellectual Property Law Ruins the Party, Again

Posted in Copyrights, Goodwill, Infringement, Law Suits, Trademarks

Video games offer a melting pot of intellectual property: trademark law, copyright law, and even patent law all come together in a delicious mix of intangible property. However, not all video game franchises are equal. Few can claim the same level of longevity, success, and nostalgia as Nintendo’s Mario Brothers series. Among the most popular… Continue Reading

Look-For Louboutin Kick-in-the-Pants Shoes?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Fashion, International, Look-For Ads, Marketing, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Sight, Trademarks, USPTO

A recent Mall of America and Nordstrom shopping trip (with visiting extended family), coupled with some initial moments of admitted boredom, led me to wandering through the shoe department: Let’s just say, the stroll through the shoe department made it all worthwhile, to capture the above image, showing Louboutin’s latest fashion sense, leading to my mental… Continue Reading

What Is in a Name? That Which We Call Heisman; by Any Other Name Would Be Ambiguous

Posted in Articles, Domain Names, Fair Use, Famous Marks, First Amendment, Infringement, Law Suits, Marketing, Sight, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademark Bullying, Trademarks

It’s fall, and you know what that means: football season! For many, this means a return to the couch each weekend to spectate America’s most-watched sport. But the popularity of doing so appears to be in decline. This shift isn’t only affecting the NFL, but also college football as well, as ticket sales continue to plummet…. Continue Reading

When Are You in a Lather About Trademarks?

Posted in Articles, Branding, Loss of Rights, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

As you know, I enjoy telling trademark stories about soaps encountered on my various trips: Lather® (brand) soap recently caught my eye — and the lens of my iPhone — while in Palo Alto. Interestingly, the USPTO has treated the word as inherently distinctive, in Lather’s registrations. In other words, not merely descriptive, even though using the product surely produces some…. Continue Reading

Is a Wellness Brand Vaped by Nicotine?

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, FDA Approval, Law Suits, Marketing, Trademarks

Juut, an award-winning salon and spa founded in Minneapolis, has grown over the last 30 years, expanding into Arizona and California, with a focus not only on beauty, but health and wellness. Juut was founded by David Wagner (author of Life as a Daymaker — How to Change the World by Making Someone’s Day), naturally the Juut name means: “to uplift humanity… Continue Reading

UGG Is Not Synonymous With A Type of Boot

Posted in AlphaWatch, Branding, Dilution, Famous Marks, Fashion, Genericide, Idea Protection, Infringement, International, Law Suits, Marketing, Patents, Trademarks

The popular UGG® branded sheepskin boots are at the heart of a dispute in the Northern District of Illinois. Deckers Outdoor Corp. (“Deckers”) owns 29 federal registrations for the trademark UGG in connection with numerous goods and services, including footwear, clothing, wallets, passport covers, plush toys and retail store services. The company also has four… Continue Reading

Creative Brand Protection II — A Picture Book

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

Another Creative Brand Protection event is in the books, thanks to our incredible panel of experts: Karen Brennan, Senior Director, Intellectual Property, Best Buy Anne Hall, Technology Strategy Manager-Life Sciences, University of Minnesota Aaron Keller, Co-Author: The Physics of Brand; Co-Founder Capsule Design Tim Sitzmann, Trademark and Brand Protection Attorney, Winthrop & Weinstine Their insights… Continue Reading

The Potential Folly of Pursuing Only a Hashtag Mark

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, TTAB, USPTO

Credit: Local Solutions I write today regarding a squirrelly thought: are the benefits of registering a hashtag trademark almost always outweighed by the consequences? In light of a recent Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) ruling and the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure’s (“TMEP”) provisions, hashtag marks offer much less protection than traditional character-based marks,… Continue Reading

Wine Spectator v. Weed Spectator – Is Wine Related to Cannabis?

Posted in Dilution, Infringement, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks

M. Shanken Communications, publisher of Wine Spectator — a popular magazine, website and mobile application that offers wine ratings on a 100-point scale — has filed a lawsuit against California-based Modern Wellness, Inc., based on that company’s use of “Weed Spectator” for ratings of cannabis. The federal complaint, filed in New York, alleges claims including trademark infringement,… Continue Reading

If Only HoneyCrisp Was an Apple Trademark

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

Yeah, we usually mean this Apple, when we spill digital ink, not today, instead the edible varieties: Hat tip to Erik Pelton who tweeted about the federal registration of LUDACRISP for fresh apples. We know something about non-ludicrous trademark protection for apples > First Kiss and Rave. They are newly minted brands for the MN55 Apple, a cross… Continue Reading

New NFL Season, New Trademark Fights

Posted in Branding, Goodwill, Infringement, Social Media, Trademarks, TTAB

As we move into Week 2 of the NFL, the big clash in North Country is Sunday’s Green Bay Packers – Minnesota Vikings game. All the buzz is whether the second-coming-of-Favre Aaron Rodgers will prevail over the vaunted Vikings defense. But here in my trademark bubble, I’m more interested in the Jacksonville Jaguars versus former… Continue Reading

Time for a Pillow Fight?

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Look-For Ads, Non-Traditional Trademarks, Product Configurations, Product Packaging, Trademarks

Like many new parents, my wife and I own a Boppy® infant support pillow.  Examining the packaging, I noticed an excellent example of “look-for advertising:” Typically, look-for advertising is part of a campaign to build consumer recognition of a product design to a level where it can support a claim of “acquired distinctiveness,” that is,… Continue Reading

Scandalous/Shocking Trademark Applications

Posted in Articles, Branding, First Amendment, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Erik Brunetti is not one step closer to being able to federally-register his vulgar and scandalous FUCT trademark for clothing; his portfolio of applications remain log jammed (here and here): So, scandalous trademark applications are still on hold at the U.S. Trademark Office, since the government is now asking for the Supreme Court to reverse… Continue Reading

Budweiser and Jim Beam on the Same Team

Posted in Advertising, Articles, Branding, Food, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

In April, news broke that two iconic alcohol brands were joining forces to create a remarkable new beer: Jim Beam Budweiser Copper Lager. Fruit of the joint labor is now available for consumption: The unique combination doesn’t appear destined to fall flat, as in the early days since launch, it seems to be attracting even… Continue Reading

‘O’ Stands for Oklahoma, Ohio, Oprah…

Posted in Articles, Branding, Fair Use, Famous Marks, Law Suits, Marketing, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Sight, Squirrelly Thoughts, Trademarks, USPTO

As Steve blogged earlier this week, we’ve had a lot of “zero” on the mind lately—marks related to the word and numeral. It got me thinking about the letter ‘O,’ especially since it has been in recent trademark news. If you missed it, The Ohio State University and Oklahoma State University are now dueling it… Continue Reading

How to Master the Patentese of Trademarks

Posted in Almost Advice, Articles, Branding, Marketing, Trademarks, USPTO

Since launching almost ten years ago, we’ve focused on helping and guiding marketing/branding professionals, as we seek to facilitate their graceful collaborations with trademark professionals. Our approach has strived to deliver valuable information, without the typical jargon and legalese. It seriously borders the obvious to say that folks who connect with us here know the… Continue Reading

After Battles for Fees, Victory for Comic Con and (partially) Grumpy Cat

Posted in Agreements, Articles, Civil Procedure, Famous Marks, Infringement, Law Suits, Product Packaging, Sight, Trademarks

The battle for attorneys’ fees after an intense trademark dispute often leaves many prevailing parties empty handed. This is because the Lanham Act only provides for attorneys’ fees in “exceptional cases.” Congress’s (and courts’) reluctance to award attorneys’ fees stems from the “American Rule,” which provides that each party to a lawsuit is responsible for paying… Continue Reading

No What? ZERO Means 0 and 0 Means ZERO!

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

Taking our discussion about Coke Zero a little further than Monday’s discussion, is it any wonder that “zero” stands for nothing, none, nada, when it comes to calories, given icons like this one: In other words, it doesn’t and it can’t hold trademark significance for calorie-free, no-calorie, or zero-calorie food products and beverages, and spelling out “0” as ZERO… Continue Reading

LOL? Why Is P&G Seeking Registration of Three-Letter Acronyms for Soap?

Posted in Branding, Mixed Bag of Nuts, Trademarks, USPTO

Procter & Gamble (P&G) has filed federal trademark applications to register several well-known (at least among millennials) acronyms used in text messages, including LOL (laughing out load); NBD (no big deal); WTF (what the f***); and FML (f*** my life). The applications identify cleaning products, including liquid soap, dish detergents, surface cleaners, and air fresheners. P&G’s products… Continue Reading