Destination: Kent

I could try to be all hoity-toity and call it Seattle, but this item is pure Kent.  We just came back from a few jam-packed and fun-filled days visiting friends and family in Seattle.  It’s fun to dine down memory lane there, and a key stopping point was dim sum in Kent at the renowned Imperial Garden Seafood Restaurant.  While the dim sum was top-notch, the decor never fails to provide some kind of amusement.

This time we experienced their new widescreen monitor advertising items we could be eating if we weren’t eating what was already on our plates:

We spent much of the meal wondering what “Associated appetizer” could mean.  Then, a trip to the ladies’ room offered another mystery:

While My Shaldan has a Facebook page, they’ve yet to let the public in on the creative process that brought us the magic of their name.  So if anyone has any clues, I’m all ears!

Apologies for the blogging inundation; I figured you needed something to chew on in advance of what will likely be a bit of a hiatus while I get this bad back fixed.  I hope to come back fixed, full of hospital-related brand trivia, and a half inch taller.  

Destination: Our Nation’s Capital

According to Wordnik, a nebbish is a Yiddish term for a “timid unfortunate simpleton.”  In my sojourns among the nebbishy, I’ve also heard the term abbreviated to “neb” or “nebby,” as in “He’s such a neb.”

That’s why I was kind of stunned to see this sign at 2nd and Massachusetts on Capitol Hill in DC recently:

Maybe it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy: The place styles itself a “caffe 4 friends” and anyone who would find that cute or appealing must be a nebbish?

Once again, I find myself repeating the immortal words of Inigo Montoya : I do not think it means what you think it means. 


NSFW means “not safe for work,” for those not in the know.  So that means you may not want to click on this link to Lelo, a site that offers “the world’s best pleasure objects.”

So how did I get there, you may ask?  Well, Lelo was advertised on Carnal Nation, from which an article on the dirty minds of thirteen year-old boys was featured on Jezebel.  I am all for awareness of what’s going on in the minds of my daughters’ friends, so I read the article and checked out its source.

So why am I interested in Lelo? Do you remember how I drone on and on about how companies should determine if possible whether their proposed trademark has an undesired meaning in a foreign language?  Yep, “lelo,” in Spanish, means “stupid” or “idiot.”  I have to wonder how the name goes over in the Spanish-speaking countries where Lelo does business.

On the other hand, I’d love it if their stock retort were “Don’t call me stupid.”  

Destination: Maui

A brief but enjoyable visit to Maui before the kids get back from camp provided not only relaxation but also some excellent blog fodder.

Did you know that wine is made in every state in the US?  Well, it is, and we certainly weren’t about to miss Maui’s Tedeschi Vineyards, despite a drive that had me closing my eyes and popping ginger candies along the way.  We learned about Hawaiian agricultural history from our engaging guide Nani, and tasted some surprisingly delightful wines, particularly the sparkling pineapple wine:

Marc is pictured here holding a bottle of it.  The sparkler bears the charming moniker “Hula O’Maui.” We couldn’t resist bringing a bottle home in the suitcase.

What else?  Well, one of my betes noires as a trademark attorney is the continuing ability of the National Association of Realtors to be able to convince relevant adjudicative bodies that the term “realtor” is indeed a trademark despite clear evidence that the non-real-estate-professional public uses the term generically.  Apparently the fact of the term’s coinage back in 1916 wasn’t even enough to convince the TTAB in the linked opinion.  Well, I was able to locate some more evidence of that genericness – in a ladies’ room stall at Mama’s Fish House outside of Paia:

The photo was from a 1938 Honolulu newspaper.  And I merely affected an air of supreme confidence when the other woman in the bathroom looked at me quizzically when I exited the stall.  Not everyone is a trademark geek like I am, alas.

I loved the name of this store – Endangered Pieces – but even a brief glance while stopped at a traffic light assured me that there was a reason these pieces were endangered!

On our last day, we strolled Front Street in Lahaina desperately looking for somewhere decent for lunch.  We couldn’t locate our first choice, so we gave in to thirst, heat and exhaustion and plopped ourselves down at the Hard Rock Cafe.  In our defense, they were advertising ono tacos as their catch of the day special, and they were just delicious, as was the Maui Brewing Co. Bikini Blonde Lager. The hostess was kind enough to drop off this flyer advertising the logowear we could purchase there:

The oxymoronic nature of the phrase “Hard Rock Couture” was nowhere more evident than on that same hostess, who was lavishly face-painted, tattooed and pierced.  But she did carry her pen in her more than ample cleavage, which I did find quite resourceful.  I’ll store that tidbit away for that day when I have my hands literally full and stowing a pen behind my ear just won’t work!

Finally, a tribute to my early legal career in Seattle:

And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.  And so do vacations come to an end and kids come back from camp.  But it was a lovely stay and we’ll dream of returning.  I leave you with the trip’s beautiful earworm: Over the Rainbow, by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole – which we now own on CD, thanks to Marc’s winning answer in the “Guess the Midpoint of the Flight” contest on our LAX-OGG flight.


Happy Blogiversary to Me!

I’m sorry, I have had it with bacon and I’ve had it with misspellings as trademarks.  Today my friend Leslie offers both in one shot (so to speak): Bakon Vodka.  Let me say it again: MISSPELLING A GENERIC TERM DOES NOT MAGICALLY CONVERT IT INTO A TRADEMARK.  Sorry for screaming, but apparently not everyone heard me say this before.  As for the vodka, while I appreciate bacon-y goodness as much as the next person, I think we have reached bacon overload in this country.  Ca se voit, as they say.

So what else can I offer you on this, the three-year anniversary of the day I went public with the thoughts that until then had merely been buzzing around in my brain and inflicted sporadically on my husband?  

A few things, again from InStyle Magazine which I now have to score on the sly at my nail salon:
Well, there’s Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand.  I know where they’re coming from – “unique clothing” – but once again, the foreign language dilettante in me hears “Klo” and thinks “oh, that’s ‘toilet’ or ‘loo’ in German.”  On the other hand, they do use “every day” correctly on their website, which I commend.

Spornette, a hair brush brand?  In theory I don’t mind it, but in practice, I am not wild about how the logo appears on the website:

That’s right, the mark reads “pornette” with a jazzy “S” swoosh alongside it.  Oops?  I understand that the mark is a play on the company’s founder’s surname, Sporn, but I think any name that contains the “porn” formative needs to be careful.  Google “pornette” and see what I mean.  Or don’t, preferably.  At the same time, I love their slogan: “A brush with success.”  

Finally, Moroccanoil.  It’s argan oil, presumably from Morocco.  Thus the mark is descriptive if not generic.  They got registration under section 2(f) of the Trademark Act, but still, this bugs me.  Looks like they’re involved in litigation over the name, evidence once again that when you select a descriptive term as a trademark, you often wind up in disputes with your competitors.

I can’t believe I’ve been blogging for three years.  Time does fly when you’re really having fun, and I can honestly say I love doing this.  Thanks to my loyal readership (hi Dad and Marc!) and to the friends and family who plant the seeds for many of my observations.  Keep ’em coming.

Doggy. Style.

I’m a big fan of good (and not-so-good) magazine titles.  Having a dog has broadened my horizons in many ways, not the least of which has been exposure to a new world of naming.

This magazine – its name and its tagline – just thrill me:

My favorite fictional dog magazine title, hands down, is, of course American Bitch, from the brilliant and warped mind of Christopher Guest, in the movie Best in Show.  Yes, if Reggie had been all white, we’d have had no choice but to name her Rhapsody, even with only one mommy.

Photo from