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Classic Trademark Fair Use of Google Mark?

North Memorial Health must be spending significant advertising dollars at the moment, with a variety of ads appearing all over the Minneapolis skyway system, above is one current example....more

Rosland Drops “What’s in Your Safe” Tagline?

Cause and effect is difficult to establish when all the relevant facts have not been assembled. We certainly don’t claim to have all of them here, with Rosland Capital’s current TV commercial. ...more

Branding Stories Around The Lack of Memory

I’ve been meaning to write about a TV commercial for a while, but I keep forgetting to do it. Perhaps I need the very product being advertised in the commercial, because what gained my attention was the clever tagline...more

11/6/2017  /  Advertising , Slogans , Tagline , Trademarks , USPTO

Some Subtle Stories Make Great Trademarks

One of my passions is to find common and favorable ground between legal and marketing types. One of the readings during week three of Seth Godin’s intensive altMBA workshop reminded me of a great example to illustrate how...more

Does getaroom Make U Want 2 BookaRoom?

A tv commercial for yet another hotel booking website just caught my eye, called getaroom...more

Owning a (Wholesome) Four Letter Word

I’m not talking about those kinds of four letter words (by the way, we’re still awaiting the Brunetti decision to learn their fate), so today I’m talking about this wholesome kind...more

What Are You Thinking, Coke Zero?

The above advertising billboard is plastered all over the Twin Cities at the moment, and it got me thinking, so here I am, once again, writing about Coke Zero, remember this can?...more

“Hook and Loop” Meet Chutes and Ladders

Nearly everyone in the IP community is talking about the hilarious viral Velcro music video released last week. Hat tip to Patently-O, Martha, and Brett...more

10/3/2017  /  Advertising , Brand , Generic , Genericide , Trademarks

Making Fair Use of the Super Bowl Trademark

Over the weekend, the Star Tribune continued the growing drum beat of understandable excitement for Super Bowl LII, as it steadily approaches U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis....more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part III

Of course, loyal readers have been eagerly awaiting Part III of the series (see Part I and Part II) focusing on Tam’s intersection of federal trademark registration and the First Amendment....more

Are pretzel crisps crumbling into genericness?

Marketing types and legal types who review labels, be well advised to choose words used carefully. In other words, if you believe you own rights in Pretzel Crisps as a trademark, it’s not wise to use the number of...more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part II

As the drum roll proceeds to the upcoming Midwest IP Institute in Minneapolis and sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (and Simon Tam fame) on Thursday September 28, in a few days, I’ll be making a stop...more

A Special Thank You to Suzan Shown Harjo

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the filing of the petition to cancel the R-Word registrations held by Pro-Football, Inc., the NFL franchise playing near the Nation’s capital....more

2017 Minnesota State Fair Comes to a Close

Well, it’s official, the 2017 Minnesota State Fair is almost in the books now, it came and went, without the longstanding Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds stand (notwithstanding a heroic #savethecurds campaign); it was...more

R-Word Looking Scandalous in Maryland

Daniel Snyder, NFL owners, FEDEX, and other NFL sponsors, take note, breaking news from courageous Neal M. Brown, Ed.D., Head of School, Green Acres School in Bethesda, Maryland, about twenty miles from FEDEX Field...more

8/30/2017  /  Disparagement , FedEx , NFL , Redskins , Slurs , Trademarks

No Underestimating The Value of Trademarks

That’s our motto here, but we live, eat and breathe trademark protection, so no surprise. Our friends in the creative and design community also know the value of trademarks. ...more

I’m Saying, I’m Down with the I’MN Slogan

Love the new Minnesota State Lottery advertising slogan: I’MN. Or, as one of my college age sons often says, when he’s in agreement with someone’s idea or proposal, I’m down....more

8/21/2017  /  Brand , Slogans

Joust Do It? A New Form of Nike Battle Cry?

By now, you’re familiar with my enjoyment in capturing and sharing new billboard signage that hits the streets of the Twin Cities. Question, what tagline might have inspired this one?...more

3:16 as a Trademark?

Over the weekend, IPBiz reported that WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) has filed an application to register 3:16 as a trademark for clothing items. A Google search confirms that 3:16 has religious significance as it is...more

Federal Trademark Registration, the First Amendment, and Freedom of Speech: Part I

Looking forward to sharing the podium with Joel MacMull of the Archer firm (counsel for Simon Tam, where our friend Ron Coleman is a partner) to discuss “Trademark Registration and the First Amendment,” on September 28th at...more

“Not So Fast,” Mr. THRILLED Daniel Snyder

Lee Corso (former coach and ESPN football analyst) frequently utters this famous sports media catchphrase on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program: “Not so fast, my friend!”...more

It’s as Suggestive as a Butter Knife for Steak

We’ve written quite a bit over the years about the Spectrum of Distinctiveness for trademarks, and the all-important difference between suggestive marks and merely descriptive ones, with only the former being allowed...more

The Brand With 3 Stripes, Bands, or Stitches?

We’ve written a lot over the years about Adidas’ three-stripe non-verbal, non-traditional trademark. Turns out, Adidas actually owns a federally-registered trademark for the verbal, spelled-out, look-for advertising...more

IVIKE, Can We Have Just a Little More Space?

Hat tip to Sri for capturing this image of a passing by backpack, illustrating how much a little spacing can end up making all the difference in the world, when it comes to brand identity...more

Nominative Fair Use of Ride-Share Logos?

Earlier this year, we contemplated a suitable, accurate, and efficient generic name for the service category created by the highly-disruptive Uber brand: App-Based Ride Service....more

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