Two for the price of one?

I’ll bet that the graphic artist who designed this logo thought it was a brilliant idea to combine the dot on the “i” and the apostrophe here. Unfortunately, my eye thinks otherwise.

Remember, your URL doesn’t contain punctuation! Maybe make it Jenni with two Ns?

Birchbox January 2014

I think it’s time for a new category. I’ve raised the same point before, but let’s just call this what it is: the Linda Richman taxonomy:

Yes, you can recite it along with me: Coastal Scents eye shadow is neither coastal nor scented. Discuss.

Destination: London fashion

I spotted yet another violator of my Golden Rule of marketing: don’t use the word “fat” to promote a product for women.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll give these guys a pass since they’re an “active lifestyle clothing and accessories retailer” for the whole family, not just for women. But I have two questions that The Fat Face Story on their website doesn’t answer: (1) Why Fat Face, and (2) why isn’t the face fat?
 

Destination: London Heathrow again

Marie-Claire UK, the gift that keeps giving. This one’s not UK-specific, but I just had to comment on the cognitive dissonance of this ad campaign:

Where do I begin? With Boss Jour Pour Femme, in French for a perfume from a German company? With the clanking “Boss Jour” combo itself? I find the juxtaposition of these two words strangely disturbing and can’t quite put a finger on why. The tagline, “This Will Be Your Day” sounds more like a movie slogan than an enticement to purchase perfume. Is it the interior half-sideboob? The murky yellowish morning light, which suggests Beijing pollution rather than Tuscany sunrise? Or is it merely Gwyneth Paltrow’s preternatural smugness? I’m going to leave it at all of the above, but welcome insight.

Destination: London Heathrow

Magazines for the return trip, of course. This time I found an ad in Marie-Claire UK that provided me with not just blog fodder, but trademark geek blog fodder:

What does this ad tell me about British trademark law? See the (R) after Pink Lady? Pink Lady is a cultivar* name – a cultivated variety of a plant. Under US law, cultivar names do not function as trademarks, and are therefore unregistrable. When a PTO examiner is faced with an application for a trademark for goods that include “live plants, agricultural seeds, fresh fruits, or fresh vegetables,” he or she must inquire of the applicant whether the term has ever been used as a varietal name, and whether such name has been used in connection with a plant patent, a utility patent, or a certificate for plant variety protection. [citation omitted] The examining attorney must also undertake an independent investigation of any evidence that would support a refusal to register, using sources of evidence that are appropriate for the particular goods specified in the application.” [emphasis added]

Why do I add emphasis? Because the PTO doesn’t always do its appointed duty, and registrations for cultivar names like ASPARATION and BROCCOLINI have slipped through.  I’ve actually investigated the PTO records on these registrations; there’s nothing in the respective file histories to indicate whether indeed the examiner made the necessary inquiry about plant protection. I think their registrations predate this comprehensive (and new, I think) language, and thus those registrations are probably bogus. But they’re there, registered, and, in my view, obstructing the rights of growers of that cultivar to call it what it is.

I’ve had clients in the past who have tried, unsuccessfully, to register cultivar names. As far as I’m concerned, cultivar names are the equivalent of generic drug names. You need to have a name to call the “drug that does x, y, and z” once its patent has expired so others may lawfully manufacture the drug; similarly, if others may lawfully grow the apple cultivar that’s been named Pink Lady, they shouldn’t be restricted from calling it Pink Lady.

And that’s what trademark geeks do when they read foreign magazines!

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*Bonus: Merriam-Webster online advises that cultivar rhymes with abbatoir, which opens up a world of possibilities.

Destination: London. And 2014.

Just got back from a week in rainy and sunny London, where there was lots to see, if you could get through the crowds. One highlight was the fish and chips here:

There’s nothing in my book like a good fish pun (see, e.g., the “Sole Man” video from the Fish episode of Bill Nye The Science Guy,* featuring my brother-in-law as part of the “Salmon Dave” duo), and while beyond pricey, the dish was outstanding.

Lots more to show you, but until then, all the best for a wonderful 2014.

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*Unavailable online, sadly, due to copyright restrictions.