Extra credit: “Chivas,” according to the goat soap’s website, means “female goats.” Sounds like an admission against interest as far as descriptiveness, no? Though perhaps not quite far enough to achieve genericness and run into the azucar morena problem.
(I just realized that this exam format must be a subconscious tribute to my sister’s completion of one half of her legal education. Heaven help her!)
Meanwhile, happy Chanukah where appropriate; blogging may continue slopeside over the holiday break, but you never know, so I wish you a merry Christmas where appropriate as well, and a very happy New Year to all.
I often find myself having to explain to clients that the first person to invent something that creates a wholly new category doesn’t also get to protect the name of the invention. My favorite example is cookie dough ice cream – great idea, but the company that first created the taste sensation may not prohibit its competitors from calling their products by that name.
Moreover, under US trademark law, abbreviations for descriptive or generic terms are not entitled to trademark protection. For example, “TV” is no more protectable than “television,” and “BLT” no more protectable than “bacon, lettuce and tomato.” (Mmm . . . bacon . . . )
That’s apparently not the case in France. One of the finest culinary joys you can experience in France is in the candy department: caramel au beurre salé
, or in English, salted butter caramel. The caramel can be found all over France, not only in the form of candies, but also as an ice cream flavor or filling for a pastry (try the Aoki tarte featured here).
Self-styled “caramelier” and chocolatier Henri Le Roux claims to have created the delicious substance back in 1977. But he took the creation a step further, and sought and received trademark protection for the mark “CBS” to cover “Chocolats, glaces comestibles, crêpes, biscuiterie, gâteaux, sucreries, à base de caramel au beurre salé.” Let’s just say that that wouldn’t fly at all here in the US, and it’s a reminder that every country’s laws regarding trademark protection vary.
Nonetheless, bravo, Henri: Keep the caramel coming even though you’re overreaching on the trademark front!
H/t David Lebovitz
Apologies for the blogging drought. Thanksgiving and ski season, not to mention Chanukah (for which I’m woefully ill-prepared) are keeping me hopping already. So let’s just call this post a potpourri of things that have flitted across the radar screen recently.
1. Noted, in Plantation, FL, by my cousin Craig: a lawn service company truck bearing the name “Lawn Order.”
2. I’ve been agonizing over the new slogan adopted by the IFC movie channel, “Always, Uncut” for two reasons. First, the comma: Not needed and frankly, confusing. Because that brings me to the second point: Sorry, but given some of the offerings on IFC, “uncut” suggests a particular genre of movie that I am not entirely certain the channel wished to emphasize. Basically, are we talking editing, commercial interruptions, or circumcision here – and whatever it may be, why the damn comma?
Thank you for your patience. I have enough trouble with the idiotically-spelled Syfy channel’s moronic “Imagine Greater” slogan; this one serves only to reinforce my conviction that television naming is the opposite of reasoned.
3. When I first exercised my urge to write about trademarks.
4. Speaking of slogans, I’m not always a curmudgeon about them. This weekend we’re heading off to ski at Beaver Creek, where their slogan is “Not exactly roughing it.” If ever a phrase expressed my philosophy of life, that’s the one.
Photo of grooming cats from Beaver Creek website.