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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

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

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

Acceptable Identification of Goods/Services

Beef jerky is one of my favorite snacks, so while strolling through the Minneapolis skyway, I captured the above floor-to-ceiling advertisement to tell another trademark story....more

All for Saving the Original Minnesota State Fair Curds, Say Aye, Better Yet . . . #s and @s

When Aaron Keller of Capsule deeply cares about an issue (in a deeply fried kind of way), it’s hard not to stand up, pay attention, and follow instructions, especially when his picture of golden little nuggetized cheese curds...more

Here’s to Calling the Kettle, Brand Too?

The teapot read my post from last week and is not only calling the kettle black, but brand too...more

When is a Duck a Goose, or a Ham a Brand?

Every once in a while, the word “brand” appearing on product packaging surprises me, because my earlier understanding of the word preceding it spells generic, not brand....more

Who’s Watching (What) You Create?

This past weekend, with what appears to be our first lasting snowfall, I enjoyed following my daughter around the chilly alleys of downtown Minneapolis while she created for her photography class. As you can see from the...more

The v. Any

When it is clear that you need to take responsibility for an obvious inconvenience, it is far better to own “the” inconvenience than apologize for “any” inconvenience, bravo RBC Plaza...more

11/14/2016  /  Brand

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

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

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

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

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

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

Negative Look-For Advertising Statements

Loyal readers know how important look-for advertising can be in making the difference between establishing trademark ownership in the shape or configuration of a product, and being left with nothing but a goose egg (as...more

2/2/2016  /  Advertising , Brand , Trademarks

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

Naming Products and Services With Brands?

Word to the wise, not the best idea to name a product or service by using another’s brand. So, when Duke’s Seafood & Rib Shack restaurant wants to create a name for their bar, permission would be required to use the...more

On Valuing Cherubs, Cuties, and Halos

Picking up where we left off yesterday discussing brand valuation, I’ve recently taken great interest in the branding of fresh fruits and vegetables — they seem to be the ultimate commodity, a perfectly ripe environment for...more

12/1/2015  /  Asset Valuations , Brand , Commodities

Who Decides What Your Brand’s Worth?

On this Cyber Monday, I’m left wondering, will we ever have a day when the metrics and automated tools available are so accurate and reliable that intangible assets like brands (and trademarks) regularly will be valued,...more

11/30/2015  /  Asset Valuations , Brand , Trademarks

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

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

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

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
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