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–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications Back in the ’70s, National Geographic ran a story on Boston firefighters. The writer mentioned a barb that a fireman tossed his way. “Ya gonna do another silver jets piece, huh?” Adding sarcastically, “Ya know: silver jets of water piercing the dark sky as they bravely battle the inferno…” I owe that firefighter a debt. Since I read his diss, Silver Jets has been a mental caution sign against veering…
A local real estate agent has argued that the above design is unique enough to make the SOLD! designation distinctive and registrable as a service mark for “information in the field of real estate and real estate services,” among other goods and services. The USPTO wasn’t sold on the idea, but not for the expected reason. Given the USPTO’s growing love for the “merely informational matter” category of incapable subject matter…
They say one Bad Apple can spoil the bunch. But what can a Happy Apple do? It depends on which one you buy, but you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right Happy Apple. One Happy Apples brand involves fresh apples, apple cider, and caramel apples.  The other Happy Apple is a cannabis infused drink. Sure, the names are nearly identical, but does the candy apple company have a viable trademark infringement claim against…
From time to time, I post squirrelly thoughts. Today, I wonder: Should a large company with famous, distinct trademarks sometimes hold back from aggressively enforcing those trademarks, even when doing so might at first appear to be a useful competitive strategy? I’m sure many executives at McDonald’s–the worldwide fast-food chain that it is so ubiquitous The Economist uses the prices of the Big Mac to measure purchasing power parity throughout the world–are questioning some past enforcement decisions.…
Wow, what a start to 2019!  We already have a Supreme Court case to look forward to, some great guest posts here and here, and plenty to build on from 2018.  Our first trade show of the year is also in the books – this time in Louisville, Kentucky for the Archery Trade Association’s annual trade show.  In addition to supporting clients in the industry, we had the privilege of working with…
–James Mahoney, Razor’s Edge Communications I try to focus my commentary on good creative work. Otherwise, I’d be posting multiple times a day because there’s so much mediocre or outright poor work. But today, I can’t resist Moen’s running full-page ads for its new Flo product. On a field of irregularly scattered, different-size circles filled with ones and zeroes—”digital” water, get it?—the headline reads We Hacked Water (So It Can’t Hack You). Huh? The body…
– Mark Prus, Principal, NameFlash Mastercard has become the latest company to shift to a “no name” approach to branding. Of course, they aren’t the first to do this (see Nike, Starbucks, Apple, Target, etc.). We are living in an image-driven world (e.g., Instagram) so this trend is not surprising. A Mastercard spokesperson said: “As the consumer and commerce landscape continues to evolve, the Mastercard Symbol represents Mastercard better than one word ever could, and…
Last Friday, the Supreme Court decided it will hear the Brunetti case, and take a closer look at Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, the portion forbidding federal registration of trademarks having matter that is scandalous or immoral. So, it appears my big prediction for 2019 is pointing in the affirmative direction: “In terms of my big trademark prediction for 2019, it will be revealed whether the scandalous bar to federal registration is invalidated,…
Before we think predictions for 2019, let’s consider the vast ground we’ve covered in 2018: The TTAB turned sixty years old, so we offered some commentary and predictions; Super Bowl LII came to Minneapolis, so we covered ambush marketing and fair use; We celebrated a Minnesota Vikings’ Minnesota Miracle, a very distant memory now; Following that Miracle, Martha explained why the Philly Special isn’t so special; Draeke shared how to
With the holiday season half way over, and Christmas less than a week away, you’re running out of time to bring some holiday cheer to those around you. Luckily, Chipotle, Taco Bell, and Jimmy Dean have your back and they’re ready to help you surprise and delight your food-obsessed friends and family this Christmas. Perhaps your spouse just can’t get enough burritos from Chipotle? Well, how about Chipotle-branded guacamole, salsa, or tin foil…