Drinking with my ladybrain V

I promised; now I’ll deliver. Here it is once again, Nuvo:

I’ve kind of dumbed down the drama of the bottle by photographing it on my dining room chair against my dull gray dining room wall (gotta get that repainted one of these days!) Here’s how it appears on the Nuvo website:
Nuvo Sparkling Liqueur
Definitely a more feminine look than in my photo. Still, this photo doesn’t begin to capture just how electrically pink Nuvo was when I poured it; it’s nearly neon in its intensity.
Nuvo markets itself as “a lifestyle choice for trendy individuals.” (And may I also add that it’s clumsily and incorrectly marked as “NUVO©“?) Whoever those individuals may be, the web copy also advises that drinking Nuvo is for “Celebrating Life Everyday [sic]” and that it “comes housed in a gorgeous, perfume-like bottle that adds flare [sic] and decor to any event.” Again, whatever that means.
So what does it taste like? The site says it’s made with premium French vodka, sparkling white wine, and passion fruit nectar, intended to “dazzle your taste buds and delight your palette [sic].” Dear Reader, I am sad to report that my palate was not delighted. Fizzy vodka with disinfectant is more like it. It’s also very strong, with a kick like wasabi. Lest you think that this is just my own bias, I can promise you that the four other adults who tasted it this weekend also marveled at Nuvo’s harsh and astringent character. The pink perfume flask was definitely deceiving.
A few things I don’t understand, though: The Nuvo website’s “mixology” section suggests mixing Nuvo with … wait for it … more vodka, for a new sensation. Another variation includes mixing tequila with Nuvo, which sounds just disgusting. And while I see from the website that Nuvo is targeting both the “urban lifestyle” and “Latin spice” markets, I have a hard time picturing anyone other than a woman picking up this pink bottle. Perhaps that’s why Nuvo has branched out to add Nuvo Lemon Sorbet, which they refer to as being “sleek like a yellow Lamborghini.” Sleek it may be, but at 25% alcohol, I think I’ll have to pass. 
The good thing about Nuvo? One, despite my kvetching about its taste, it’s a pretty good name – a phonetic spelling of the French word nouveau, so its appearance is really distinctive. And two? It’s a liqueur, so it should stay drinkable for a while after opening, which will enable me to use this with guests as a cocktail conversation piece, if you will. Not bad for an investment of $10! 
(And for Nuvo’s website’s copywriters? Check out this invaluable resource so you don’t make me [sic] again: http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/errors.html !)

One step forward …

In case you missed it, there was big news in France a few months ago: the government officially ordered the honorific “Mademoiselle” to be removed as an option from official forms. The origin of the term was effectively “damsel,” which indicated a woman’s status as unmarried, as “Miss” does in comparison to “Mrs.” here. Madame, it appears, will function as “Ms.” does here, to identify adult women regardless of age or marital status. Some in France may balk at the change; I sent an email to a hotel clerk last summer and addressed the woman as Madame Untel (untel being French for “so-and-so”) – but her reply was signed Mademoiselle Untel. Old habits die hard, I guess.

And it seems that old habits die hard in Italy as well, as this new fragrance from Salvatore Ferragamo suggests:
Random internet evidence leads me to conclude that “Signora” is now appropriate in Italian for use with women over the age of 18, regardless of marital status, so I am not sure if this fragrance is designed for a younger market, or if it’s trying to evoke memories of the purity of youth. (I feel icky even typing that.) I’m just not sure it’s either modern or appropriately retro. Ferragamo’s own copy only confuses things further:
Signorina, the new fragrance from Salvatore Ferragamo is the celebration of chic girls with a sophisticated, subtly cheeky and fresh scent signature.
An Italian description I found was pretty much in the same spirit:
Signorina è il profumo giusto per le giovani donne contemporanee, creative e anche un po’ audaci. 
Loosely, that’s “Signorina is the right perfume for young women who are contemporary, creative and a bit daring.” Wow … or not.
I’m studying Italian right now in advance of a summer excursion, so while I will happily pronounce “Signorina” with my best Sophia Loren accent, I nonetheless register my disapproval of the name as anything but contemporary. 

How to protect trade dress; or, shopping for wine again

Check out this unusual wine bottle label:

How do you protect it as trade dress? Here’s a good start:
Will that alone work? Not necessarily. As I always tell clients, a trademark registration is not a self-executing document: on its own, it does not function to prevent infringement, and enforcement of rights requires litigation, most of the time. Similarly, merely saying that this label is “exclusive trade dress” won’t prevent copycats. But that statement shows that Coppola is serious about protecting its rights, and that copycats will likely be challenged. (They’ve also registered the label design as a trademark, for belt-and-suspenders protection.) Here, because there’s nothing purely functional about this label design, I think the label may be protectable trade dress. And the recent Maker’s Mark decision from the Sixth Circuit appears to support that claim.
But I didn’t buy the wine, because 14.5% alcohol will have me face-down in my dinner after about a glass, distinctive label or not!

May Birchbox

This month’s Birchbox shipment is sponsored by CW and the show “Gossip Girl.” So I’m thinking what’s inside will not be targeted to my demographic:

Surprise! Gossip Girl trivia contest insert notwithstanding, this month’s haul seems tailor-made for the baby boomers among us rather than Gens X and Y. First up, an old friend:
That’s right, Algenist.  Still not wild about the name, but I’ll take firming and lifting.
Next, Dior. A classic brand, and not a bad idea to get their products out to a new generation. 
I wore Miss Dior perfume years ago (as did my mom), and also dabbled in Diorella and Diorissimo. I think they’ve reformulated the scent, as what I just spritzed on my pulse points is much funkier than the elegant scent I recall, and I will chalk up the migraine that’s sure to ensue to the pursuit of art. Or whatever I want to call this blogging. “Extase,” or “ecstasy,” for the mascara seems to be a tentative reach towards the consumer who has no trouble asking for Asphyxia or Mildew as eyecolor names. Dior’s already gone there with Addict lip glow, so I guess ecstasy is the logical next step.
Finally, confirming that these products really are for old ladies like me, we finish with two products from the Kerastase “Age Premium”* line, the Bain Substantif:
and the Masque Substantif: 
Well, I see “substantif” and think “that means ‘noun’ in French,” and so do my Petit Robert and my Larousse. But what do I know about marketing language? And why do I want a bath or masque on my hair? This all leads me to believe there’s a marketing think tank somewhere where they sit around all day sipping wine and musing over what silly combinations of French words will seduce the American consumer into sealing the purchase decision. [Can I have that job? I’d be really good at it.] Still, I think the French copy wins out here though: do you prefer “shampoo nutri-vitalisant” to “rejuvenating shampoo”? I sure do!

In fact, I have submitted my preferences to Birchbox so that they can refine my monthly selection to provide what they think I’m most likely to purchase. So far they’re getting it mostly right, though I’d say Taylor Swift’s fragrance last month was a bit of a miscue. 
Stay tuned for next month’s haul!

I represent Pacific Bioscience Laboratories in connection with trademark work; they are now
 owned by L’Oreal, which makes Kerastase products.


Drinking with my ladybrain – you were wondering where it went? Have no fear, it’s coming back, now that I found this:

Two thoughts before I even open the bottle: (1) the slogan beneath the brand name reads “L’esprit de Paris.” Je suis desolee, mais je crois que non. And (2) the youngest Levy opined that the bottle top looks like a sippy cup for adults.
Stay tuned for the lowdown on what’s inside the bottle!

Destination: DC

Another INTA Annual Meeting has come and gone. I think it was my 14th, but you do reach a “but who’s counting?” overload. We had a great time (that’s not just me affecting the royal “we”; both Levy trademark lawyers attended) seeing new and old friends; lunching with my sister at one of DC’s most charming restaurants on perhaps its prettiest street; enjoying the oxygen-rich air that energized the pace of our strolling through the District; attending lively sessions (especially those where Professor Tushnet was participating); and socializing aggressively, i.e., plenty of cocktails. My humblest apologies again to Marty for showing up late to the Meet the Bloggers event, but better late than never.

So a quick jaunt up to the American University neighborhood for lunch with an old friend took us past the delightfully-named Middle C music store. It’s not just the name of the store that’s clever:
Couldn’t resist! All in all, a successful and enjoyable Annual Meeting. Next year in Dallas!