Steve Baird

Steve Baird

Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

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Latest Posts › USPTO


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

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

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

How Many Ways Can a Trademark Be, Cool?

To the extent you’re also all about brands and trademarks, and you imagine a trademark story with each brand you might encounter, I suppose there are an infinite number of ways, right?...more

1/18/2016 - Brand Trademarks USPTO

Watch the Informational Refusals, Please!

Let’s suppose you conduct sightseeing tours using a tram car, maybe on the boardwalk in New Jersey. Maybe even a famous tram car service you’ve operated since 1949?...more

1/11/2016 - Service Marks Sound Marks Trademarks USPTO

Jelly Belly Seeks Registration of Candy Shape

Last week Jelly Belly Candy Company filed a non-traditional trademark application with the USPTO to federally register the shape of its Jelly Belly candies. The claimed mark is drawn like this...more

12/22/2015 - Jelly Belly Trademark Application USPTO

On Mastering U.S. Trademark Registration

For those interested in learning more about the valuable benefits of federal trademark registration and how to successfully navigate the registration process at the USPTO, it’s time to mark your calendars for an upcoming...more

12/8/2015 - Continuing Legal Education Trademark Registration Trademark Trial and Appeal Board USPTO

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

On Slanted Arguments and Red Herrings

Last Friday, both slanted arguments and red herrings were present during the 90 minute en banc oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in In re Tam....more

10/6/2015 - CAFC Copyright Disparagement En Banc Review First Amendment Government Speech Doctrine Lanham Act Preemption Trademark Registration Trademark Trial and Appeal Board USPTO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bringing Down the Bauhaus for Trademarks?

We’ve been spilling a lot of digital ink lately on the topic of non-traditional trademark protection and how the functionality doctrine serves as an absolute bar for such protection. As you know, for some time, we’ve...more

4/7/2015 - Advertising Functionality Trademarks USPTO

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