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THE SLANTS Decision Affects More than a 2(a) and an (R)

In Monday’s decision in the newly minted, Matal v. Tam case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit decision that the Trademark Office’s refusal to register THE SLANTS mark on disparagement grounds was...more

On Flag Day, What Flag Can You Protect?

Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national flag 240 years ago. Although maybe more obscure than Fourth of July or Memorial Day since it is not a federal holiday, this has...more

Cover The Earth…With a Brand Refresh

I spent much of Saturday morning watching Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting. I have previously made the pilgrimage to Omaha, waiting outside before dawn with a plan for...more

5/10/2017  /  Brand , Logos , USPTO

The Muddy Waters of Use for Beer Brands

The Craft Brewers Conference is an impressive affair. Between the number of brewers I’ve met from across the country as well as internationally, and the colossal trade show, the breadth and scope of the industry is probably...more

Pass the…Creative Work

I laughed when I saw yesterday’s Adweek article about Heinz adopting Don Draper’s “Pass the Heinz” pitch from the hit show “Mad Men.” Given the lackluster creativity observed from the Super Bowl ads, have we actually reached...more

Who Will Own New Designs in a Jetsons-like Era?

While on my flight back from speaking on trademarks & the alcohol industry at this year’s CiderCon, I listened to a fascinating TedTalks podcast on advancements in artificial intelligence that you can find here. Some of the...more

“Pardon Me, PORTON,” says PATRON, “But We Heard You”

Pisco is a light-colored brandy traditionally produced in portions of Peru and Chile.  One brand that offers this product in the United States is PISCO PORTÓN (the later word meaning “gate” in Spanish)....more

Jager Fears the Deer: Brand Refresh Turns Into Battle

The word “Jägermeister” conjures up memories (or maybe lapses in memory) for many. I have only had the German liqueur in the beautiful blue-collar town of Milwaukee, WI – home of my college alma mater. While you would never...more

“Just Say No” to Rejection of Marijuana Trademarks

Overshadowed by that yuuuge, shocking, {insert adjective for your feelings here} win was the legalization of recreational marijuana in three more states – California, Massachusetts and Nevada – in conflict with federal law. ...more

Creative Acronyms Refused Sometimes…Or CARS

Today’s offices treat acronyms like linguistic yoga (TOTALLY). ICYMI, they’re popular also in texts, tweets, and other “thumb-talking” activities. LOL. SMH. Legislators are having fun with them lately too, for...more

Four T’s at Four: What Breweries Need to Know About Their IP Before They Consider an Exit

“Forties at 4” was a time-honored Friday tradition among my engineering classmates in college. After our last class, several of them would purchase Miller (if we could find it in a 40 oz) or Old English or some other malt...more

An OXI Surprise

One of the blessings of homeownership is the surprise that accompanies a major appliance breakdown. I had the pleasure of experiencing one of these events over Labor Day weekend when my dryer decided it was done working. ...more

9/15/2016  /  Brand , Trademarks

What’s the Story with STORIES?

Instagram recently released a new feature called Instagram Stories, which allows users to curate a collection of photos or videos of moments to share with friends for them to view, but then it disappears after a day. The...more

Attorneys Getting Crafty About Firm Names

I consider myself to be, among other things, a craft beer attorney. I enjoyed speaking last week at the Midwest Craft Brewers Conference as part of a great panel on brand positioning, trademarks, and the use of social media...more

POKEMON GO Caught By…POKEMON?

Last week was rough. We went from celebrating America to watching her at her worst. We saw officers shoot two black men in Baton Rouge, LA and Falcon Heights, MN, a black man shoot cops in Dallas, and resulting social...more

A Duel Over DUO Leaves Only Uno

The never-ending battle at the Trademark Office over trademarks for beer and wine suffered another casualty last week, this time over the mark DUO. Applicant Uinta Brewing Company filed a use-based application to register...more

Here, Have a BREXIT

The British are leaving! The British are leaving! Many people on all sides of “the pond” last week watched the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union with interest, and were shocked when they actually voted to cut ties...more

Are we entering the era of engine sound marks?

One of the biggest issues facing electric car manufacturers is how quiet they are. So quiet in fact that 60 Minutes edited in an engine roar to its Tesla story. The quiet can have dangerous consequences for pedestrians and...more

Be a Service “to Others”

It’s rare that we focus on descriptions of goods or services here, but one of the most common reasons that a trademark for a brewery or winery is refused registration at the Trademark Office comes down to the description of...more

Who’s Got PRINCE Control?

My home state of Minnesota prides itself primarily on three things: our ability to withstand our winters, our 10,000 lakes, and our dearly beloved Prince. While we take a beating when it comes to our sports teams, all of...more

The USPTO Says “Yes” But the TTB Says “No” To LSD

Government approval of commercial speech has been a hot topic of discussion by trademark nerds here and elsewhere in light of recent decisions regarding the Redskins and The Slants marks. As those decisions proceed up...more

March Isn’t Just for Madness, It’s For CRAFTNESS

Here’s hoping your 2016 brackets did better than mine last week, but this has been quite a crazy and exciting tournament thus far. As a Marquette fan, the Indiana–Notre Dame–Wisconsin area of the bracket has been quite...more

Consent or Not, No Trademark Registration for Brewer’s TIME TRAVELER BLONDE Mark

When an application has been refused registration in view of another’s prior filed mark, one way to resolve the issue is through a consent agreement wherein the registrant consents to the registration and the parties set out...more

Dude, It’s Gotten GNARLY for Beer and Wine

Trademark issues regarding breweries and wineries are increasingly intertwined as both breweries and wineries grow, flower, and spread out throughout the country. I have talked before about the issues relating to a perceived...more

A Meaningful Shift in Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl ads this year were much like the game itself – maybe one remarkable catch, a few fumbles, and heavy on defense. Some even deserved a penalty flag – like the one for toe fungus and the revolting...more

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