Steve Baird

Steve Baird

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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Owning a Cup of Trademark Transparency

Seeing this Caribou Coffee skyway billboard was a good reminder to me of how much we hear about the importance of transparency in our relationships, including those with brands we love...more

9/19/2016 - Tagline Trademarks Transparency

Does a Commodity Ever Need to Apologize?

On this welcome Labor Day, a few different thoughts converged for me, so please allow me to answer my own question in the title of this post, starting by explaining the...more

9/6/2016 - Brand Commodities Signs

Timber! Will the Little Trees Car Freshener Configuration Trademark be Chopped Down?

We wrote about the above trademark warning ad a few years back, and the claimed trademark owner likely recognizing vulnerability as to validity...more

8/29/2016 - Dilution Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks Unfair Competition

Worthwhile Uncomfortable Conversations

Seth Godin wrote this past weekend about joint ownership of creations...more

8/22/2016 - Entrepreneurs Intellectual Property Protection Joint Inventors Seth Godin

Can Starbucks Tolerate Cannabis Parody?

A couple of weeks back, I captured this image from a t-shirt for sale in Starbucks’ backyard — at a shop in the Pike Place Market area of Seattle...more

8/15/2016 - Coca Cola Decriminalization of Marijuana First Amendment Parody Starbucks Trademarks

Zero Tolerance #USOC Trademark Overreach

By way of follow-up to Tim’s and David’s recent discussions about Rio2016 and related U.S. Olympic Committee trademark enforcement issues, it appears that a local Minnesota carpet cleaning business called Zerorez, is poised...more

8/9/2016 - Facebook Olympics Social Networks Trademarks Twitter

The World’s Healthiest Trademark Puffery

Above the Law recently published a Techdirt story reporting that the USPTO denied Whole Foods‘ attempt to federally-register the laudatory trademark: “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store“....more

8/8/2016 - Lanham Act Trademark Registration USPTO Whole Foods

2(c) or Not to See Political TM Speech?

That is the question, at least for the day. It’s also a question we hope the U.S. Supreme Court will address. In particular, does a careful focus on the USPTO’s routine application of Section 2(c) of the Lanham Act,...more

7/25/2016 - Disparagement First Amendment Lanham Act Political Speech Trademark Application USPTO

Trademark Goods/Services Limitations, Why Not Exclude Any Federal Unlawful Activities?

Those involved in the cannabis industry — where certain activities are legal in some States, but unlawful under federal law — continue to search for creative strategies and solutions in protecting their trademarks and service...more

7/18/2016 - Controlled Substances Act Marijuana Marijuana Related Businesses Medical Marijuana Trademark Registration USPTO

Standard Character Trademark Overbreadth

When we hear the word “overbreadth” in close connection with the word “trademark,” the often discussed “trademark bullying” topic will frequently come to mind. Yet, discussions about “trademark overbreadth” are not...more

7/12/2016 - Likelihood of Confusion Trademark Bullying Trademark Registration Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

KIND Taglines: About Owning Your Ad Copy?

First things first: Happy 4th of July, Dear Readers! That was a pretty honest, simple, genuine, transparent, straightforward, to the point, not belaboring at all, under any circumstances, my most sincere wishes to our...more

7/5/2016 - Brand Descriptive Trademarks Tagline Trademarks

One Trademark Certainty in Uncertain Times

Watching the morning news for even a few minutes can leave one struck by how we truly live in uncertain times. I suppose every generation has too, but is it more striking at this moment? There are plenty of examples to...more

6/27/2016 - Trademark Application Trademark Registration USPTO

Look-For Advertising Sans the Clunky Words

We’ve written before on the subject of non-traditional trademarks and how look-for advertising can be quite helpful in not only educating consumers that a color or other design feature should stand out in their mind as...more

6/20/2016 - Advertising Tagline Trademark Registration Trademarks USPTO

Madonna Not Scandalous for Wine Anymore

The headline might be considered old news to some, but since intellectual property attorneys from around the world will be descending upon Minneapolis for the remainder of the week, and since I’ll be speaking tomorrow at the...more

5/17/2016 - Trademark Registration USPTO Young Lawyers

America’s Most Watered-Down Beer (Name)?

Last week the Twittersphere was chirping loudly and negatively in response to reports that Belgian-owned Inbev would be replacing the Budweiser brand name with “America” on beer cans, as shown above. No bow-tie can shape in...more

5/16/2016 - Anheuser-Busch Beer Breweries Marketing Trademarks

A Missed Step in Branding Fitness Trackers?

I’ve been wearing one of these little guys on my wrist for almost a year now. Love it. The personal awareness it raises for me in the areas of sleep, diet, and activity, has been profound....more

5/9/2016 - Corporate Branding Fitbit Generic Popular Trademarks USPTO

ELLE Fails to Un-ring Bell, DJ Action Sticks

Question for the day, how common is the given name Elle? I’m really not sure, I don’t believe I’ve ever personally known anyone with that name, and Mongabay doesn’t even include Elle in its listing of girl’s first names, but...more

4/25/2016 - Dilution Fashion Branding Trademark Infringement Trademark Registration USPTO

Yet Another Trademark Based on My?

Love the new bold look of the Mello Yello can, and it’s hard to miss the prominent abbreviation to MY, along with the trademark assertion: This is My World. Actually, as we have written before, there are more than a few...more

4/19/2016 - Brand Coca Cola Food Manufacturers Trademarks

When Can You Show Real Fruit on a Package?

The short answer is, when it’s not false or misleading about the product inside the package. This past weekend, my daughter and I found ourselves in Costco, picking up some provisions, and this bag of non-provision...more

4/11/2016 - False Advertising Food Manufacturers Product Packaging

UPS: Word, Acronym or Initialism Trademark?

Life is full of ups and downs. The world of trademarks often tends to mirror life. Yet, for the time being, the USPTO currently recognizes only one brand and mark as living solely on ups...more

3/21/2016 - Brand Popular Trademark Registration Trademarks UPS

On Protecting “My Pillow” as Your Trademark: They Say, When You Make Your Bed, You Might Just End Up Sleeping in It

We had some great questions from the audience during the Mastering U.S. Trademark Registration Practice seminar in Minneapolis a few weeks ago. During the session on genericness, someone asked about MyPillow, expressing...more

3/14/2016 - Brand Inherently Distinctive Trademark Infringement Trademark Registration

Yes, No, and the Ever Confusing Maybe . . .

Yes and no are at opposite ends of the spectrum. North Pole, South Pole. Night and day. Win, loss. Black, white. Available, unavailable. Protectable, unprotectable. Infringing, non-infringing. They represent a binary...more

3/7/2016 - Brand Trademark Application Trademarks

Trademark Fair Use, Where Are You TYLT?

A little nominative trademark fair use might have saved these little gems from going right back to Costco, as gently used merchandise, with opened and not so gently mangled packaging to boot...more

2/29/2016 - Fair Use iPhone Trademarks

Energizer Bunny to Drain Duracell’s Battery?

When I first heard last week about a trademark infringement lawsuit between Energizer and Duracell over pink bunny icons, my first thought was, Duracell is The Copper Top battery brand, what would motivate Duracell and how...more

2/23/2016 - Breach of Contract Parody Trademark Infringement Trademarks

The Strategic Use of TTAB Proceedings to Advance Trademark Registration Efforts

Yesterday we wrote about how petitions for partial cancellation under Section 18 of the Lanham Act can be creative and powerful tools when an applicant is confronted with likelihood of confusion registration refusals under...more

2/16/2016 - Corporate Counsel Lanham Act Likelihood of Confusion Trademark Application Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks Young Lawyers

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