Sanctimonious infringement?

Hemant Mehta at Friendly Atheist posted a story on this product:

My thoughts of course went beyond the mere amusement factor of “scripture candy,” straight to the inspiration, clearly not divine, for “The Jelly Bean Prayer” logo. I offer you the logo of the leading jelly bean product on the market: 

Clean or sin? You be the divine judge.

Too much work for a drink

One of my general admonitions for clients about their trademarks is that they should neither turn them into plurals nor chop them off to make nicknames.  There are exceptions to every rule – Coca-Cola became Coke, and Federal Express became FedEx, with little damage to the brand’s renown or image.

I am not so sure it works as well in this case:

I’m sorry, “Belve” just does not roll trippingly off the tongue. It’s too close to “belch.” Is it a combination of “belch” and “hive,” perhaps? Do you want to know? Do you hear yourself asking the bartender for a Belve and tonic, or a Belve martini straight up with a twist? No, you don’t, because it sounds ridiculous.

Then, to the ad itself: Tying “Belve” to “Believe,” with the inserted “ie” in a blurred, tomato-red font? All I can read there is “Lie.”  And I doubt that’s what they intended. But what did they intend here?  Believe in bloody Mary flavored vodka? Believe that this couple is getting dangerously close to Newport cigarette ad territory?

Alternatively, we can probe other paths they can take with Belve: “It’s twelve, time for Belve!” “Don’t shelve the Belve!” Or not . . .

Once again, I can only fall back on the immortal words of Lucille Bluth: I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.  And don’t forget while we’re talking Bluth lore (or at least I am, as I’ll never stop), vodka goes bad once it’s opened.

Must not

Fight the power – don’t waste money on overpriced Kosher-for-Passover food:

Especially ones whose names have among their meanings “grape juice before or during fermentation,” “mustiness, dampness, or mold,” or even worse, “the frenzied state of certain male animals, esp. elephants or camels, that is associated with the rutting season: a big old bull elephant in must.” No, I will not chew on that.

It’s official

I’m opinionated:

I was delighted to explain to Ben Zimmer the myriad reasons I believe Apple’s claim to “App Store” is DOA; regardless of Apple’s attempts to infuse the term “app” with 21st century meaning, an app store is a store where one can buy apps. Trademark law won’t allow Apple to claim that another meaning of “app,” to the extent they can contrive one, nonetheless allows them to appropriate the term for themselves, to the detriment of their competitors. And by the way, how disingenuous is it to argue that “app” means “Apple” while at the same time claiming trademark rights in the phrase “There’s an app for that”? I know, it’s called arguing in the alternative. Here, though, it only illustrates the weakness of Apple’s claim.

And speaking of opinions I’m not shy about voicing, when it comes to willful infringement, I can’t really envision anything worse than upstart Mutt’s Hut opening its doors five miles from Clifton, New Jersey hot dog landmark Rutt’s Hut.  Read the owner’s defense yourselves – it’s breathtakingly unconvincing. I think when you’ve been in business since 1928 and are featured prominently in national food guidebooks and television shows, you’ve got a strong trademark, secondary meaning, fame, and everything else you need for a successful infringement claim. Yes, I’m on the Rutt’s Hut side – while I’ve never indulged, I have serious Jersey roots and family members to whom Rutt’s is a shrine of artery-clogging delight.