Martha Engel

Martha Engel

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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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

6/15/2016 - Auto Manufacturers Copyright Electric Vehicles Sound Marks Tesla Trademarks

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

5/19/2016 - Breweries Service Marks Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks Wineries

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

4/28/2016 - Music Industry Prince Sound Recording Copyrights Trademarks

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

2/25/2016 - Breweries Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks Wine & Alcohol Wineries Young Lawyers

Patent System is not the Fire that Hoverboards Need to Put Out

One of the hottest toys during the 2015 holiday season was the hoverboard, and doesn’t that seem about right for this year. I saw my first hoverboard earlier this summer — a guy was walking and holding hands with his...more

12/30/2015 - IP License Patent Litigation Patents Popular Trademarks Young Lawyers

GREENLIGHTing Trademark Protection for Social Movements

Today is Veterans Day, and we all owe veterans (and their families) a debt of gratitude for their service and their sacrifices to ensure our freedom. Veterans are our friends, our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and...more

11/11/2015 - Trademarks USPTO Veterans Wal-Mart

Bud…Bud-WINE-Err?

You might be familiar with the popular mid-90s commercials suggested by the title of this post. However, the intention of this post is about the use of trademarks on beer to refuse trademark protection for wineries and vice...more

10/28/2015 - Anheuser-Busch Beer Likelihood of Confusion Trademarks USPTO Wine & Alcohol

When Brands Get Personal, Do They Lose Their Identity?

Marketing has always been an exercise in getting consumers to make a connection with a brand. As our friend Seth Godin once said “Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the story that you tell.” With the...more

10/9/2015 - Brand Coca Cola Food Manufacturers Product Packaging Social Networks Supply Chain Trademarks

Game, Stripes, Match…No Love Between Skechers & Adidas

Maybe I haven’t quite accepted the fact that the US Open and New York Fashion Week are over and September almost is too, but stories on tennis and fashion always get my attention, especially when they include a little...more

9/23/2015 - Adidas Fashion Branding Fashion Design Fashion Industry Popular Sketchers Trademark Infringement Trademarks

Apple Takes Us Back to PENCIL and PAPER

If you are a member of the Cult of Apple, like tech, or even just watch the news, you’re probably aware that yesterday was Apple’s big fall event where they announce new product launches and updates. The event showcased a...more

9/10/2015 - Apple Facebook Patents Samsung Trade Dress Trademarks

Targeting Graphic Tees

Up here in the North, we are big fans of the store that has it all – Target. In fact most Minnesotans will often joke that we cannot step foot in a Target store without spending at least $100 and walking out with items we...more

8/19/2015 - Copyright Fashion Branding Logos Manufacturers Marketing Retailers Social Networks Target Trademarks

At The Corner of Trademarks and Confusion

Even in the age of the Internet, the geographic use of a trademark is an important consideration in determining whether your mark is likely to confuse consumers as to the source of your goods or services. Geographic...more

7/16/2015 - Advertising Beer Breweries Geographically Descriptive Likelihood of Confusion Logos Restaurant Industry Trademarks

Not a Soccer Fan But SHEBELIEVES

Although I’m an avid sports fan, I rarely watch soccer and quite frankly I also rarely watch women’s professional sports. I have some very logical reasons for my avoidance of soccer (in what other sport does the clock tick...more

7/7/2015 - Athletes Soccer Trademarks World Cup

I’ll Take a Trademark, Up, With a Twist

Indeed Brewing Company, a popular brewery here in Minneapolis and a favorite of mine, announced that they were revamping their acclaimed packaging. A story in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal unveiled their new...more

6/19/2015 - Brand Breweries Popular Product Labels Trademarks

Is Brewer’s BOSTON 2024 Ahead of Its Time?

Boston Beer Corporation, makers of Samuel Adams beer, received approval for its intent-to-use trademark application for the word mark BOSTON 2024 for “beer,” which generated some news buzz in light of the city’s bid for the...more

6/11/2015 - Beer Brand Breweries Intent-to-Use Olympics Trademarks

For Game of Thrones Beer, Quoth the RAVEN “Nevermore”

The HBO show “Game of Thrones” is a popular show for nerds and non-nerds alike. And if you also happen to be a beer nerd, Brewery Ommegang has been making a series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers in a collaboration with...more

5/28/2015 - Beer Breweries Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks Wine & Alcohol

Trademarks Can Be a Bitch

And I mean that literally. We’ve laid down a lot of digital ink in the past about pejorative marks – lately in reference to the Redskins and The Slants, both of which have been deemed disparaging enough to deny them a...more

5/13/2015 - Disparagement Offensive Language Popular Trademarks Young Lawyers

Trolling for an Inventive Method for Patent Enforcement

In the wake of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert leaving their respective shows on Comedy Central for newer pastures, John Oliver has emerged as a new beacon of political humor and satire. If you haven’t watched his show, and...more

4/22/2015 - Inventors Non-Practicing Entities Patent Assertion Entities Patent Trolls Patents Technology Trademarks

The Keys are in the Design

We often ask kids this question: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  While my trajectory towards lawyering is true, my answer wasn’t always immediately “lawyer.”  I sought something that satisfied my passion for the...more

4/9/2015 - Auto Manufacturers Automotive Industry Design Patent Patents Trademarks

March Madness For INNOVATION

Following a nice evening out chatting with Kevin O’Keefe, it’s time for my favorite weekend of all – the NCAA tournament. Now this post isn’t necessarily about basketball, but rather rivalries. In particular, rivalries...more

3/19/2015 - Breweries Tag Line Trademarks

Deck Stacked Against HOUSE OF CARDS

No spoilers here, I promise.  Like many Americans since it was released on Friday, I’ve been binge-watching Season 3 of House of Cards.  If you haven’t watched the program, available only on Netflix, it’s a riveting drama of...more

3/4/2015 - Entertainment Industry Netflix Television Shows Trademarks USPTO

The NORTH STAR Guides One to Trademark Issues

Minnesota is known as the North Star State – L’Étoile du Nord. The state of hipsters, unique dining experiences, bitter cold winters, gorgeous summer nights, and fantastic craft brewers also has an impressive craft cocktail...more

2/25/2015 - Beer Likelihood of Confusion Trademarks Wine & Alcohol

The Controversial SAWS of “Justice”

What if the Trademark Office took Taylor Swift’s controversial new trademark applications and stalled examination of them, preventing them from getting approved, despite having no legitimate basis to refuse their...more

2/11/2015 - Legislative Agendas Patent Trolls Patents Trademarks USPTO

The Odds and Evens of Q’s: Trademarks in the Car Industry

Last week was the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, one of the top trade shows in the automotive industry. The highlight of the show for car buffs was the new Ford GT, which I will try not to drool too much...more

1/20/2015 - Auto Manufacturers Automotive Industry Likelihood of Confusion Trademarks

BLACKHAWK Down: Registration Refused Based on Relatedness of Wine & Beer

While the Minnesota state legislature ponders whether consumers should be able to purchase liquor on Sundays within the state, the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has once again concluded that consumers are...more

1/14/2015 - Beer Likelihood of Confusion Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks USPTO Wine & Alcohol

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