Trademarkology: The Law of the Brand

One sign of a prominent, strong, and/or beloved brand is a nickname. Consumers sometimes show their affection for their favorite brands by abbreviating them, elongating them, or creating variations of them. On the flip side, sometimes brand owners create their own brand nicknames, perhaps in an effort to manufacture the desired consumer affection. And then there are occasions where it is hard to tell whether a nickname originated with the consumers or the brand owner…
I have fond memories¹ of drowning my pancakes in all the flavored syrups on the table rack at IHOP. But, on June 4, the International House of Pancakes announced that though it had been IHOP for 60 years, it would be “flippin” its name to “IHOb” in a week: This was enough to cause some IHOP patrons to flip out: IHOP’s Twitter account had fun teasing the public, but remained serious about the trademark issues:…
Friday the 13th is once again upon us. The fear of Friday the 13th – paraskevidekatriaphobia – is derived from the Greek paraskevi (Friday), triskaideka (thirteen), and phobia (fear). It has been said that fear of Friday the 13th is the most widespread superstition in the United States today and it has been estimated that as many as 21 million Americans are afflicted with some level of the phobia. This particular phobia appears to be…
In honor of the world’s biggest sporting event, now occurring in Russia, let’s look at which of the big stars of the World Cup is winning the trademark competition. The competition, as I define it, is to show evidence of protecting the mark that is the player’s name or image. Neymar We’ll start with Brazilian star Neymar (Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior), the last one on our list to bow out of the 2018 tournament.…
Maybe it’s just because I am about to go on vacation with seven children under the age of 11 (and their parents), but it seems a lot of trademarks from my childhood have been making appearances in the news recently. Just last month, Hasbro, Inc. obtained a federal trademark registration (Reg. No. 5,467,089) for the scent of Play-Doh. The mark is described as the “scent of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones…
This hockey season, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have been fighting to establish their name in the National Hockey League . . . and with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my post from January about “The Fight Over the “Golden Knights.” The Golden Knights have had a remarkable inaugural season and have battled their way into the Stanley Cup Final –…
There are several different kinds of intellectual property protection (e.g., trademarks, patents, and copyrights). The borders between the types of protection are not always clear, and it may be that some subject matter is eligible for protection in more than one category. Conversely, it may be that qualifying for protection in one category excludes the subject matter from protection in another. This blog post examines the border between patent protection and trademark protection, particularly the…
Hi everyone! You’re favorite Trademarkologist-in-training is back! I apologize for not blogging last month but my husband, Chris, and I were at the 2018 Masters Tournament® in Augusta, Georgia! If that’s not a “get-out-of-work-free card” then I don’t know what is! Tickets to the Masters® have been referred to as some of the toughest tickets to score in all of sports, perhaps only rivaling tickets to the NFL Super Bowl. Aside from corporate sponsorships, being…
Someone said a picture is worth a thousand words. If true, that would make it really difficult to compare a design mark and a word mark for likelihood of confusion purposes. Fortunately, a recent case from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (the “TTAB”) provides clearer guidance. Aquitaine Wine USA, LLC sought to register the mark below in connection with certain French wines protected by an appellation of origin: It was refused registration on the…
The groundbreaking Serial podcast was involved in two very different legal developments last week. The one that made the news involved its protagonist, Adnan Syed. The other, which you could be excused for having missed, involved its trademark. The Serial podcast was a huge hit that introduced a lot of people – including me – to the world of podcasts. Its first season told the story of Adnan Syed, who was in jail, having been…