Personal Brands

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Ross’s Top 10 Law Firm Domain Name Mistakes (Part II)

Last week I discussed Ross’s Domain Name Rules 1-5, how to ensure that your website is easy for prospects to find, and that you’re using best practices in selecting your domain name. Here are Ross’s Rules 6-10; I hope it’s...more

The Designer Formerly Known As…Intellectual Property Issues Arising From Personal Names As Fashion Brands

Kate Spade, Paul Frank, Joseph Abboud, Catherine Malandrino, and Karen Millen—aside from being well-known designers, all have something else in common; they no longer own the right to use their personal names as their brands....more

What's in a Name?: An Overview of the TTAB's Recent Surname Decisions

Barr. Aldecoa. Hechter. Adlon. Kepler. Butterfields. What do these words have in common, you may ask? They were all recently found to be "primarily merely a surname," and refused registration by the Trademark Trial and Appeal...more

MarkIt to Market® | January 2017

The January 2017 issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to Market® includes an overview of the TTAB's recent surname decisions, the changes made by the USPTO to their trademark processing and services fees, and lists the new gTLD...more

Using Hashtag #Disclosures in Social Media Advertising

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has been cracking down on brands for paying Instagram users to endorse their products or to share brand content without disclosing the relationship. Indeed, the recent settlements entered...more

Celebrity Brands: The Line Between Fair Use and Infringement

All brand owners are faced with difficult decisions regarding how aggressively to police their brands. The decision is particularly difficult when the unauthorized use is by a loyal customer or fan. While some traditional...more

Michael Jordan’s Great Win in China—or Is It?

On December 8, 2016, Beijing time, the China Supreme People’s Court issued a public decision granting Michael Jordan a win in his four-year battle over the right to own his name in Chinese characters. But the win was not a...more

Who’s the PATRÓN Anyway?

PATRÓN (meaning “boss” or “landlord” in Spanish) is a pretty famous brand name of tequila (federally-registered since 1993), and don’t forget this gem from the archives...more

Law Firm Holiday Cards – Do’s and Don’ts

Q: Are holiday cards effective? A: I think that they can be considered one more nice way to stay in touch, to send a friendly communication to a large number of clients and prospects all at once. Of course, I said that...more

Half Baked: The Brave New World of Branding Weed

In last week’s election, California voters passed Prop 64, which means recreational marijuana can be sold and used by persons over 21 within the state. But don’t get excited about the gold rush just yet. Recreational...more

Court Holds That Fashion Designer Karen Millen Cannot Use Her Name in Connection with Future Clothing Lines

A recent UK court held that Karen Millen, a fashion designer and co-founder of the Karen Millen brand, was prohibited from using her name, KM or K.Millen or any other confusingly similar names in connection with clothing and...more

Marketing your brand with influencers? Make sure the FTC hits the “Like” button

Brand owners and their attorneys are grappling with an important question: how to disclose their connections to luminaries like PewDiePie. If you haven't heard of PewDiePie, don't worry—he's a 26-year old Swedish...more

Franchisee d/b/a Franchisor’s Trademark: The Fictitious Name Registration

The fictitious name, also known as the d/b/a, doing business as, trade name or assumed name. Every franchisee uses one and, in almost all cases, it’s the franchisor’s trademark. And while it may be considered “fictitious,”...more

Gladys Knight Files Unfair Competition Lawsuit Against Her Son

This Monday, seven-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist Gladys Knight commenced a federal unfair competition lawsuit against her own son and his businesses in connection with a chain of Atlanta-area chicken and waffle...more

Smiling Lawyers on Your Home Page

Smiling lawyers – the latest website home page cliché. For 25 years, I’ve been railing against the obvious, literal visual “Law” clichés — the gavels, globes, columns, skylines, buildings, handshakes, blurry lawyers...more

Are Online Trolls Ruining Social Media Marketing?

Earlier this year, I helped moderate a lively panel discussion on social media business and legal trends. The panelists, who represented well-known brands, didn’t agree on anything. One panelist would make an observation,...more

Social Links: Social’s potential to upend the investment industry; online ad fraud; a proposal to fix Twitter

Social media has upended a number of industries. Is Wall Street next? Facebook is getting into the video game live-streaming business....more

Social Media Competitions in the UK: Play Fair

With 1.65 billion users on Facebook, 332 million users on Twitter and 400 million on Instagram, it is unsurprising that many companies are seeking to increase brand awareness and customer engagement by running competitions...more

Retailers Take Notice: Will Customers .shop at Your .store?

Have you thought about establishing a new distinctive web address for your business? Do you worry that someone else may try to register your brand name within one of the new generic top level domains (gTLDs)? Whether...more

Branding FIVE Litigation Firms: 5 Law Firm Case Studies

We recently launched five Litigation websites. On the surface, the five law firms seemed relatively similar — dynamic boutiques led by tough, trial-oriented killers who routinely give opposing counsel the fight of their...more

Brandmarking - Volume 5, Number 1 - May 2015

THEY CAN’T REGISTER THAT AS A TRADEMARK -- CAN THEY? Ronda Rousey, the famous Mixed Martial Arts fighter has filed several applications to register a trademark that presumably reflects her feelings about her detractors....more

Drumpf or Trump: The Name or The Brand?

Campaign season makes ripe political commentary. On February 28, 2016, comedian John Oliver featured a segment on his show “Last Week Tonight” about the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump....more

Primarily Merely a Drumpf

This presidential election cycle has been nothing if not entertaining. Mr. Trump has been a particular favorite among late night T.V. hosts. In one particular 20-minute monologue, Last Week Tonight host John Oliver...more

MarkIt to MarketTM - February 2016

The February issue of Sterne Kessler's MarkIt to MarketTM newsletter discusses the trademark implications of so-called "zombie" brands, examines Reddit reactions to the Fine Brothers' attempts to register and monetize the...more

Kylie v. Kylie

Kylie Minogue has filed an opposition to Kylie Jenner’s attempt to register the KYLIE mark in connection with “Advertising services, namely, promoting the brands, goods and services of others; endorsement services, namely,...more

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