Infomercials: So was HAIR BLENDER taken?

by Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A.

One of the best things about television is terrible (or terribly hilarious) infomercials showcasing American ingenuity.

Behold, one of the latest …The Air Curler®.

Click here to see video.

Seriously?  Would anyone ever think to put their hair into a blender?

There’s actually an issued patent for the device.

But WAIT…there’s more!  Much to my initial surprise, as I alluded to above, AIR CURLER is actually a registered trademark (on the Principal Register) for “blow dryer attachment in the nature of a heat-resistant hollow conical shape with an air nozzle that spins hair” with a disclaimer of “Air.”  Initially, AIR CURLER was filed as an intent-to-use application by the owner, Adriana Born, for “blow dryer attachment.”  The only office action requested additional information regarding the product.  Ms. Born submitted the following:

The Air Curler is a bowl that that attaches to most blow dryers. It has a air nozzle inside the bowl that creates a vortex from the air of the blow dryer. As the hair spins it will dry it and curl it at the same time. The Air Curler was invented to make curling hair safer and easier for women to style their hair.

After that, it appears that a rather helpful examining attorney at the Trademark Office contacted Ms. Born and suggested the disclaimer and an amendment of the goods description to “blow dryer attachment in the nature of a heat-resistant hollow conical shape with an air nozzle that spins hair.”  “Blow dryer attachment with air nozzle that curls hair” — merely descriptive.  “Blow dryer attachment with an air nozzle that spins hair” — ahHA suggestive.

As Mark Prus of NameFlash observed in his post last month, many As Seen on TV product manufacturers want highly functional names because all they really want is the viewer to grab their credit card and order their product (well, two of them for the price of one product plus shipping & handling).  Of the marks Mark listed, only one of them is not a registered trademark:

  • PERFECT PANCAKE, owned by Allstar Marketing Group, LLC for “metal cooking pans, namely, spatula free household and commercial cooker for making pancakes and eggs,”  disclaimer of “PANCAKE,” Principal Register
  • FURNITURE FIX, owned by HIP Innovations, LLC for “support system for furniture, cushions or mattresses to improve the look and feel, namely, non-metal panels to provide lift and firmness to cushions or furniture,” Supplemental Register
  • WAXVAC, owned by Lenfest Media Group, LLC for “battery powered ear cleaners for personal use,” Supplemental Register
  • PERFECT FRIES, applied for by In Demand Marketing LLC for “machines for cutting and cooking potatoes into French Fries,” disclaimer of “FRIES,” abandoned for failure to file Statement of Use

I wonder if people generally can identify any of these infomercial products by their trademark name.  Aside from OXICLEAN, SHAKE WEIGHT, and the SNUGGIE, there are no products that I can readily associate a trademark with the product.  Perhaps in the As Seen on TV space, it’s the desirability of the product that matters, and let’s face it, is anyone really concerned about the source of a product they purchased through a TV infomercial?  Trademarks are meant to be source identifying and allow consumers to distinguish between products from various sources.

What’s your “favorite” awesomely bad informercial?  Is it this one? (makes me laugh every time)

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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