Steve Baird

Steve Baird

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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Latest Publications


When Over-Breadth Can Bite You Like a Lynx

While lynx may not be generally known for having a ferocious bite, they do have sharp teeth and I’m sure they can inflict serious pain when they do decide to attack. In the same way, while breadth can be a good thing...more

9/30/2015 - Brand Intent-to-Use Service Marks Trademark Application USPTO

Easy Registration Refusal, See Park ‘N Fly

Trademark types know all about Park ‘N Fly, whether they travel or not. That’s because it is more than a nearly fifty year old airport parking and travel service brand and federally-registered service mark, it is short-hand...more

9/28/2015 - Likelihood of Confusion Merely Descriptive Trademark Infringement Trademarks USPTO

A BrandVerb Uber Alles?

Uber, the popular brand that helps people arrange prompt ground transportation, is now also being called a verb. The Star Tribune recently reported that the founder of iHail, a recent competitor of Uber in the Twin Cities...more

9/21/2015 - Brand Trademarks Uber

The Recycling of Brand Vessels?

Brand signals have been described as meaning vessels before, and vessels of trust too. Does that make a branded product package, container, or configuration a vessel within vessel? The tin cans below that have been...more

9/8/2015 - Brand Coca Cola Recycling Trademarks

Wanted: Brand Deputies at the MN State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair continues to provide endless blog fodder for those who care about intellectual property. Last week, we wrote about a State Fair vendor concerned about its claimed, but unarticulated “intellectual...more

9/4/2015 - Brand Dilution Fair Use First Sale Doctrine Royalties Third-Party Trademark Infringement Trademarks Vendors

No MN State Fair Photos, Pretty Please?

Well, it is opening day at the 2015 Minnesota State Fair, it was a great day, perfect weather, thank you very much! Happy to see that Lulu’s Public House is going strong, she appears to have some new food items this...more

8/28/2015 - Copyright Fair Use Photographs Trade Secrets Trademark Infringement Trademarks

Retail Store Branding With a Weak Dollar

It costs dollars to create a brand. It costs dollars to protect a brand. And, it probably costs more dollars to protect an inherently weak brand and mark over a strong one. So, choose wisely....more

8/24/2015 - Brand Dollar General Dollar Tree Marketing Trademarks USPTO

Will Marketing Pitfall Lead to Sand Pounding?

Preparing to send off to college my two oldest sons, led us to Ling & Louie’s Asian Bar & Grill’s rooftop patio on Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall last week, and we found an interesting menu item. Under the Sandwiches...more

8/17/2015 - Brand Marketing Trademarks

What Does the Trademark Registration Say?

Remember a while back when many were humming to the tune “What Does the Fox Say“? Today, I’m asking, what does the trademark registration say? Not, what does the trademark say — that is a different and more complicated...more

8/13/2015 - Disparagement Lanham Act Public Policy Slurs Trademark Registration Trademarks USPTO

Still Smashing Trademark Rights?

Why does Smashburger continue down this road of smashing its trademark rights? Especially, despite our previous cautions...more

8/3/2015 - Brand Food Manufacturers Marketing Trademarks

Will Starbucks Be a Closer at the USPTO?

We’ll soon see whether coffee truly goes hand in hand with closers, at least in one famous brand owner’s quest for registration of a non-verbal, non-traditional color trademark at the USPTO. I’ve been noticing Starbucks focus...more

7/20/2015 - Brand Color Marks Starbucks Trademarks USPTO

Trademark Grammar, Concerns, and Cliches?

The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is currently running this advertisement from a local law firm highlighting its “Total Partnership” program (BTW, love the website video, linked here):Although the use of the term...more

7/15/2015 - Brand Partnerships Trademarks

Washington’s NFL Team and U.S. Customs

Last week the NFL franchise that plays football near — but not in — our Nation’s Capital, was dealt another significant legal and public relations blow that would have any rational brand owner working overtime on its...more

7/13/2015 - Blackhorse v Pro-Football Brand Counterfeiting Customs and Border Protection Disparagement Native American Issues NFL Professional Conferences Redskins Service Marks Slurs Sports Trademark Registration Trademarks U.S. Customs

Absolut Apologies, Comparisons, Truncations

It has been a while since a billboard campaign has caught my interest and attention, but the currently running Absolut Goes Dark ads are an exception worth noting...more

7/7/2015 - Billboards Brand Trademarks Wine & Alcohol

Purple-Colored Fabric Tags Attached to Remote Control Found Inherently Distinctive

News flash, last Friday the USPTO approved for publication a non-traditional trademark that I’ve seen in real life before. Let’s just say it is attached to one of our many remote control devices that I’ve had to dig out from...more

6/23/2015 - Inherently Distinctive Roku Trademarks USPTO

Going YARD with the VARO Brand for Batters?

Time spent with my boys in Omaha at the College World Series is hard to beat. Although, last year, Father’s Day weekend was hard to beat too. And, the archives indicate five years ago was pretty wonderful as well. Basically,...more

6/22/2015 - Brand Likelihood of Confusion Trademarks USPTO

Avid Fan Co-Creation of Branding Symbols

When my daughter walks into a Starbucks (given her avid fan status, she does so often with her spending money in hand), she is typically greeted by an employee who says, “I love your shirt, where did you get it”?...more

6/17/2015 - Fashion Branding Starbucks Trademarks

Losing Marbles With Packaging Trademarks

Welcome to yet another edition of non-traditional trademarks, but instead of discussing brown paper bags for chips as trademarks, today we’re focusing on a U.S. trademark registration that surprisingly issued just a few weeks...more

6/8/2015 - Popular Trademark Registration Trademarks USPTO

Food Packaging Trademarks: It’s in the Bag?

Welcome to another edition of non-traditional trademarks in connection with package designs: The Billy Goat Chip Company contends it owns exclusive rights in a protectable and distinctive trademark for the appearance...more

6/1/2015 - Functionality Trademarks USPTO

Top Ten Questions About Rapala Minnocchio

In typical DuetsBlog tradition, here is Rapala’s 2015 billboard for the fishing opener, albeit a few weeks late. I’ll have to admit, I like the telescoped Minnocchio word, and the consistent graphic display from past...more

5/26/2015 - Advertising Billboards

Subway Drops Footlong TM from Advertising

The last time I was at the airport I snapped this photo showing how Subway finally appears to have dropped its use of the TM symbol in association with the word FOOTLONG: As you will recall, Subway had attempted to...more

5/26/2015 - Fast-Food Industry Subway Trademarks

Softening a Double Entendre With a Picture?

It has been a while since I’ve seen a billboard in the Twin Cities worth writing about, but this one engaged my attention. Let’s hope for more as our weather turns for the better. It appears the Minnesota Department of...more

5/19/2015 - Billboards Marketing

Likelihood of Preclusion: Fallout From the Supreme Court Ruling on Likely Confusion

Move over likelihood of confusion, there is another sheriff in town, at least when it comes to looking for guidance on best practices and strategic considerations for a brand owner’s clearance, registration, protection and...more

5/11/2015 - B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries Hana Financial v Hana Bank Issue Preclusion Likelihood of Confusion SCOTUS Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks

More Imaginative THANN Other Soap Brands

On a recent trip to the Washington, D.C. area, I had the opportunity to stay at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, and I’ll have to say, as a trademark type, it was difficult to avoid being drawn to their...more

4/28/2015 - B&B Hardware v Hargis Industries Brand Marriott Trademarks Wal-Mart

Big Green Egg on Hunt for TM Registration

As it turns out, four days after Easter, the USPTO refused registration of the Big Green Egg’s claimed exclusive rights in the shape and color of its popular barbecue smoker and grill... ...more

4/22/2015 - Trademark Registration Trademarks USPTO

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