Steve Baird

Steve Baird

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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Airline Brand Strategery: It’s Transfarency

Earlier this month Southwest Airlines launched a brand new ad campaign called “Transfarency,” which is said to highlight the airline’s “low-fare credo and its lack of bag fees, change fees or hidden fees for passengers.”...more

10/19/2015 - Brand Inherently Distinctive Lanham Act Southwest Airlines Trademark Registration Transparency USPTO

Ads Touting Function Shoot Down Trademark

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about brand owners who shoot themselves in the foot with their advertising. And, I’m sure it won’t be the last. As we’ve discussed before, touting the function of a product design...more

10/12/2015 - Advertising Brand Functionality Patents Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Trademarks Utility Patents

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coke Walks Tightrope in ZERO Branding

As you may recall, last September we wrote about Coca-Cola’s Significant Interest in Zero Marks, discussing Coca-Cola’s defense of a trademark infringement suit brought by an individual named Mirza Baig, who claimed rights in...more

4/20/2015 - Brand Coca Cola Food Manufacturers Popular Trademark Infringement Trademark Litigation Trademarks

The Shiny Bright Red Holiday Star Brand(s)

In the context of the holiday season, what comes to mind when you see a shiny bright red star?...more

12/1/2014 - Brand Macy's Retailers Trademarks Wine & Alcohol

Mmm (Mmm, Good) Coca-Cola?

Love the recent holiday billboard ad for the beloved Coca-Cola brand! Having said that, whenever I see branding around the sound Mmm, for food and beverage products, even if it is only one Mmm, and not back-to-back...more

11/25/2014 - Brand Coca Cola

Mayhem: Ahem, Metaphorically Speaking

Metaphors are a good choice for trademarks. A metaphor typically requires some thought, imagination or perception to understand the connection between the mark and what’s for sale....more

11/3/2014 - Brand Marketing Trademarks

Coca-Cola’s Significant Interest in Zero Marks

Coca-Cola just announced it is introducing Coke Zero in India, which will make it the sub-brand’s 149th market in the world, a truly remarkable reach. As the popular Coke Zero brand is approaching its tenth anniversary...more

9/30/2014 - Brand Coca Cola Popular Trademarks

A Less Possessive Hershey’s Brand?

The possessive form of the Hershey’s brand dates back to at least as early as 1894, according to U.S. Reg. No. 54,041 – a more than 100 year old trademark registration from 1906....more

9/3/2014 - Brand Hersheys Trademarks

Trademark Pronunciation Revisited

Remember this little gem on trademark pronunciation from the DuetsBlog archives two years ago? - Open Wide and Say Ahh: Probing Brand Name & Trademark Pronunciation Judging from a search of Google, the JD Supra...more

8/6/2014 - Brand CAFC Trademarks

Harley-Davidson Booze Coming Soon?

With the 74th Anniversary of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally less than a week away, it seemed like a good time to check in on recent Harley-Davidson trademark activity at the USPTO....more

7/28/2014 - Brand Harley-Davidson Popular USPTO

Apple’s Word Count for Non-Verbal Branding

A picture is said to say a thousand words, and ironically that is almost literally and exactly true when it comes to Apple’s focus on non-verbal icon branding....more

7/9/2014 - Apple Brand Trademarks

Owning a New Look Through Advertisements

We’ve spilled a lot of digital ink on the importance of “look for” advertising when a brand owner wants to legally own a non-traditional trademark like a single color, or perhaps the shape of a product, or even product...more

5/27/2014 - Advertising Brand Trademarks

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