Camera roll catch-up: Jess gets her dander up

When I see that a mark like THRŌ is registered:

for goods that include, you know, throws – I get all kinds of irritated. The owner has to disclaim the term “throw”  apart from the mark as shown – so what do they get? The ability to use the word with the diacritical mark? Against whom could you possibly enforce the registration? WHY BOTHER SPENDING THE MONEY? FFS, the mark is THRŌ for a throw, it’s right there on the hangtag?

Herein my rant for the day.

Camera roll catch-up: More brands of my youth

That’s right, PSSSST! dry spray-on shampoo. A revelation 40+ years or so ago and a product that probably started returning to the market about five years ago (I’m guessing – I suddenly started getting it in my Birchbox shipments). Yes, I can remember what it smelled like, but no, I cannot remember any commercials or catchy jingles. And what a great onomatopoeic trademark!

Camera roll catch-up; slogan edition

I’m pretty much worn out with all the CRAVE marks and variants out there, and their underlying suggestion that we’re all desperately trying to maintain healthful diets but are nonetheless captive to insatiable cravings that possess us and impel us to reach for something naughty.

But for dog’s sake, if you’re going to go the crave route, could you at least get the informal gerund correct?

CRAVE’N? Not “cravin'”? I despair.

Camera roll catch-up meets brands of my childhood

My mom was an indifferent lunch maker when we were kids, but I suspect she had a secret thing for these, because they were the processed snack food most likely to show up in our lunchboxes:

I love everything about Ding Dongs – the flavor, the texture, the name, and the zany font that appears on the packaging. Not as romantic a trigger as madeleines, but I cherish the memory nonetheless.

 

Camera roll catch-up

Yes, I’ve been remiss. And each time I scroll through my iPhone to find a photo, I come across photos I’ve taken expressly for the purpose of blogging them. So here comes a new feature to showcase my photographic impulses.

The name is – [chef’s kiss] – just wonderful. The mark is even registered. However, a bit of a wrinkle there: the registration covers this stylization:

Trademark image

The owner filed its section 8 declaration using a photo of the product as it appears in my photo above. Is this the same commercial appearance? But the PTO accepted it. But this raises my eternal question of why don’t people simply file for the word mark rather than a stylization that they might change five years down the road?

 

 

Comparison beer shopping

I love when I can capture a lesson in trademark distinctiveness in one photo:

On top, you have OMISSION beer. Oh, what a superb name. Authoritative and succinct – and suggestive of the fact that something is missing, though the mark itself doesn’t say exactly what. Instead, it leaves that task to the little box on the upper right-hand corner of the cardboard case: “Crafted to remove gluten.” There we go – now the consumer is aware of a factor vital to its purchase decision.

And then below OMISSION, we have GLÜTINY. Where to begin? Well, I cannot ignore the pointless metal umlaut  (aka röck döts!) that they’ve stuck over the U. Maybe, along with the skull-and-wrenchbones logo, they’re trying to destigmatize gluten-free beer to indicate that metalheads can drink this too? Oy. Then there’s the strange term “GLÜTINY” itself; assuming it’s a homophone for gluten-y, doesn’t that mean it’s gluten-filled or glutinous or gluten-rich? And wouldn’t that then not make any sense whatsoever for a beer that has been “Crafted to remove gluten”? Or wait – is it supposed to rhyme with “mutiny”? Yes, according to the New Belgium website. (And if it’s a gluten mutiny, I see we have yet another #shitmanteau on our hands!) But I still think that if you have what is essentially the word “gluten” in the name of a gluten-free/reduced beer, you are confusing the consumer as to what the product actually contains … as well as whiffing at the opportunity to create a good and distinctive mark.

Shitmanteaux in Toyland

Spotted in the toy aisle at Target:

It’s very hard to pronounce the T in EnchanTimals (and I can’t figure out why it’s capitalized) – so if you do attempt to utter the word without emphasizing the T, you sound like you’re three sheets to the wind. But I’m confused as well: if this #Shitmanteau means “enchanted animals,” which is which, the girl or the fox? I’m so glad my girls are past the age where this would appeal!

 

Illiteracy in America

How on earth are we to expect kids these days to spell right when we create brand names with pointless misspellings?

There’s no reason I can think of to spell “divine” the way Valspar – now Sherwin-Williams does here; the term would be equally registrable and protectable as a (laudatory but not descriptive) trademark if spelled correctly. You lose at least two points here, says the spelling bee veteran.

But you get suspended for this one:

I blame Scrubs for making Elliot happen as a girl’s name (though I love the show, don’t get me wrong). But I blame dingbat parents – and here, toy companies – for distorting the name’s spelling, presumably to girlify it.  I’ve tried to wish it away as Ellie T – but no, that’s unjustified.

Destination: New York

Please excuse the lousy photo quality here. We were running to meet friends on a visit to NY last month, but I had to stop to get the shot:

Yes, that’s CALLAHEAD … for portable toilets. The name elicited a huge groan among our party!

(Psssst, Callahead – your registration has been cancelled! It sure looks to me like it’s in use!)

Not again

Did you listen to yourselves with this copy?

“Meet Monsieur Big. Fall in love with every stroke!” Indeed.

Because I’m twelve.

 

Phonetic equivalents

Sooooooo – it’s pronounced like “Dallas,” right?

Any other pronunciation wouldn’t make sense to American English speakers who are aware of that major Texas city. Hey, I wonder if they’ve opened a Fallas in Dallas! Did you go to the new Fallas? I think I’d better stop now before it gets ugly …

H/t to my cousin Jamie, who’s always on the lookout for me!

 

Destination: Corona del Mar, California

So of course there has to be a juice bar, right? Because California, right?

I just can’t decide whether or not this is what I call a shitmanteau (and yes, if you follow me on Twitter you are well aware that I am trying to make #shitmanteau happen) – i.e., a portmanteau that just doesn’t work.

I think I’m going to err on the side of calling this a shitmanteau because the “sej” part of the word is so incongruous to the English language.  But your mileage may vary.

Meanwhile, the Summer House restaurant just next door was a superb lunch location and our weekend getaway to sunny southern California was everything we could’ve hoped for – good friends, good food and wine, serious Fitbit mileage, real estate envy, and always, always in the OC (don’t call it that), quoting from Arrested Development.

 

Baby bounty

We are once again empty nesters, both daughters now comfortably installed in their midwestern liberal arts paradises.  I already miss them both, but it’ll be nice to enjoy our home without them.

But when I saw this product on the shelf at Target, I was overcome with memories of one of my favorite mothering tools:

Yes, you’ve got it, the bulb syringe. So first of all, kudos here for calling the damn thing what it is: a snotsucker. Second, I’m all about a brand that doesn’t tell me what it is, so cheers to Fridababy and its name and line of non-descriptive products (especially Windi!) The only concern I have is that unlike with the old bulb syringe, the caregiver is doing the actual sucking of the snot. (Which is of course a sentence I never expected to type …) I am just not sure I’d have been on board for that level of commitment to nasal evacuation.

Points to ponder – A trademark geek post

Just finished reviewing a big juicy trademark search report and, as always, I have many, many thoughts entirely unrelated to my conclusions about the subject mark’s availability for use and registration. Here goes:

  1. Why does a municipality of about 12,000 people need a nine class federal trademark application for a logo mark that’s composed of a single letter in a stylized format? We’re not talking Beverly Hills here – this place is unlikely to be on anyone’s tourism bucket list. Even assuming TEAS Plus pricing for the nine classes, that’s $2025 before legal fees. More important than a local food bank or police overtime?
  2. When over 10% of the search report consists of pages showing a certain party’s oppositions, you can probably conclude that that party is a trademark bully.
  3. Oops, when reading quickly I saw “Tryon” as “Tyrion.” Damn you, Thrones!
  4. A search report that is 2000 pages long will contain at least 10 lawyers I know as filing correspondents.
  5. Is “ASSOCIATION SERVICES, NAMELY, PROMOTING THE INTERESTS
    OF HOMEOWNERS THAT RESIDE IN THE COMMUNITY” really a service being performed in interstate commerce? Why does a local municipality that’s presumably offering those services to said homeowners need federal registration? (Okay, it’s just a variation on the theme of #1.)
  6. Honestly, why is anyone filing applications for goods that include cannabis products?
  7. Gonna say it and not be shy: Those Madrid registrations with biblically long IDs really clog up the register.
  8. When Disney, Nintendo, McDonald’s, Marvel Comics, Warner Bros., Merck, 20+ sports teams, and 20+ universities and colleges show up in the search with registered marks, that tells you the mark is weak.
  9. The Finnish term for “limited company” is osakeyhtiö, and its delightful abbreviation is OY.
  10.  Any application that contains automobiles, pantyhose, and whips among its identified goods should be immediately suspect – can its owner really have a bona fide intention to use the mark on all those items?
  11. Why does a high school need federal trademark registration of its logo?
  12. Boy, do we Jews seem to gravitate to trademark law!
  13. Here, have a doggie as a reward for your kindness in slogging through this post:

Stupidly spelled names, part the infinity

I know that “gluten free” and “dairy free” are magical incantations that suggest eternal life and perpetual thinness. And I know that almond milk is also revered among the faddishly health-conscious.* I don’t condemn Baileys (WHERE DID THE APOSTROPHE GO?) for jumping on that bandwagon; we all have to make a buck. But what I do begrudge them is the inanely unimaginative name they went with on this ride:

It doesn’t mean “almond” in any language. All I can think of is that they selected the term so as to be able to register it as a trademark and not have to provide a translation statement, since the term is just a bastardization of the word “almond” and its French version, “amande.”

As always, I will insist on pronouncing it as I read it, which is “al-MAHN-day.” That is, if I ever get the chance, as it’s not likely I’m going to order something that sounds as unappealing as almond milk liqueur.

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*I confess that I use a tiny bit of almond milk to lighten my coffee in the morning. I find its bitterness complements the coffee’s bitterness rather than softening it as milk does. Just FTR.