Trademark geeks – do you see a 2(a) or 2(c) problem here?
If you didn’t, the PTO is on your side. If you did, you’re probably old like I am.
Apparently I’ve been blogging for over nine years now. So happy bloggiversary to me. Perhaps in celebration of those nine years, I’ve just made a big move from solo practice back to big firm practice. I joined the firm of Sherman & Howard L.L.C. on July 5 as Counsel. I’m delighted with this change of pace and lifestyle, and am very excited about the change. I’m also excited to discover downtown Denver, however belatedly after living here for nine years, to commute by train, and to relearn what dressing for work is all about.
BUT WHAT TRADEMARK ODDITIES HAVE I NEGLECTED TO SHARE SINCE MY LAST POST? I’m glad you asked. First of all, the INTA Annual Meeting in Barcelona was a thrill for many reasons, not the least of which was being introduced to fun brand Catalunyan names such as this:
And if Globber wasn’t enough, there’s this:
And one of the best window displays I’ve ever seen:
Yeah, some people think sewing machines. Others think about genericism, regardless of the language:
Finally, perhaps a bit too snarky for a bar name?
All in all, a grand time was had by all, it seemed, not to mention all the damn ham! Would return, 10/10! Meanwhile, until then, I’m enjoying my new digs and learning how to talk to people again – not just puppies!
LOTS of magazines this time, so let’s have at it:
Is anyone else mildly disturbed by the idea of a perfume from a famous shoe designer? L’eau de Choo? To me, the Jimmy Choo brand means shoes, and shoes alone, and I think migrating the brand to fragrance could be challenging. But I guess to others, a luxury brand is a luxury brand, whether on feet or elsewhere.
I have been walking by this clothing shop on the rue St. Dominique in Paris for years:
It’s always seemed like a klutzy name to me (and also weirdly close to Karl Marx), so this time I thought I’d actually grab a photo and look into its story. Well, indeed, their naming story is one of the lamest I’ve ever seen: the wife of one of the founding brothers came up with the idea of making a cashmere and silk sweater bearing the first names of three great designers; the brothers then launched the brand itself, and subsequently, stores with the name.
Pardonnez-moi if I’m slightly underwhelmed by this gripping tale. Meanwhile, shouldn’t Messrs. Lagerfeld, Jacobs, and Galliano have a problem with this? Under US I would expect that publicity rights and 43(a) might kick in somehow. But here we are in France, and here Karl Marc John has been going steady since 2010. So I’ll just sit back and enjoy my memories of a delightful six days in Paris and try not to let this one gnaw at me.
Bought a shirt with this label recently:
Not so sure that’s the best branding. Poof, or poofter, is a derogatory term for a gay man. Wordnik also notes that it’s a term used by magicians to indicate a “sudden vanishing.”
Naturally, the apotheosis of both these meanings can be found in this Arrested Development clip, which I invite you to savor as much as I have.
Another fun fact: Poof can also mean the product or sound or act of flatulence! Don’t say I’m not trying to find entertainment where I can!
I know, right? Not Paris, not Sicily. The Levys are branching out! We took advantage of Volvo’s spectacular overseas delivery program to visit Denmark and Sweden, and we were not disappointed. (Except by the rain and cold. If I never see a certain v-necked gray sweater of mine again, it’ll be too soon.) Great food, scenery, museums, and people. The language, not so much; devoted readers know what a language whiz kid I think I am, but Swedish and Danish? Just impenetrable.
Still, there was entertaining/scatological branding galore. First on the list? This charming hat shop in Copenhagen:
Is that just like a small fart? I can’t even begin to guess, because the language, as I said, is impenetrable.
Next, also in Copenhagen, we have an impenetrable carshare slogan:
But funny, of course, because I’m twelve.
Next stop, a 7-11 at a gas station on the highway in Sweden, where we drove our new Volvo to visit my husband’s college roommate. (Think “Welcome to Sweden” but in reverse. Sort of.) And though we really had to get back on the road, I honestly could’ve spent all day savoring product names … like this one:
And this men’s shop was closed when we walked by, thus suggesting it didn’t live up to its name:
That’s the entertaining start to our Scandinavian odyssey; more to come!
Would, or should, anyone really disagree with the proposition that the food you eat should taste good? I think not. But is that proposition on its own worthy of serving as a trademark? To wit:
I note that it’s registered, but think that registration won’t go far to enabling the mark’s owner to prevent others from saying – not using as a trademark – that food, in fact, should taste good. Your mission statement shouldn’t necessarily be the same thing as your trademark.
Similarly, if asked the question set out in this mark (which is registered, despite the absence of the symbol), I’d of course say “hell yeah,” though I wouldn’t necessarily view that question as a mark:
While a slogan or catchphrase may be registrable with the PTO (because “Food should taste good” and “Wanna betta butt?” are not technically descriptive of the goods they designate), that doesn’t mean they’re good trademarks. Multiple word brand names do not roll trippingly off the tongue, are difficult to remember and thus susceptible to misidentification,* and ultimately make me think of one of Saturday Night Live’s most memorable fake brands, Oops! I Crapped My Pants!
Mr. Levy was speaking at an ABA conference this past weekend, so spousal solidarity impelled me to join him at Snowmass, where we enjoyed great skiing and dining.
Apropos of nothing trademark-related, Snowmass is a place where you can see this ad for Bogner skiwear in Aspen Magazine –
and think “Who on earth would ever wear that?” … And then, mere hours later, you’ll see someone at the Two Creeks chairlift wearing the exact same outfit!
Said Aspen Magazine offers so much more, though, so stay tuned.
I’d say this clothing company takes the ampersand naming trend to a new and unpronounceable level:
But I like the rugs.
I spend so much time and money at DSW that it’s no wonder I have been officially designated a “Shoe Lover” (duh, as if I haven’t known this since Mr. Massey’s shoe shop in Newark back in the 60s …) With me, two teenage daughters, and a husband who loves shoes too, we’re there all too often, and are all too familiar with the brands they carry.
But when I saw this one I was speechless. I don’t care how many registrations* their owner has for this mark and marks incorporating it:
IMHO, that’s a whole lot of money spent on something that’s virtually unprotectable. Is it worth trying to buy a krazy spelling of clogs? And would you even try to enforce it? (Hint: TTABvue contains no records indicating the owner of the KLOGS trademarks has opposed any applications based on its ownership of KLOGS. I rest my case.)
*2(f), Supplemental, and with disclaimers of the right to use “clogs” apart from the mark as shown.
Here’s a mark I’ve never understood:
Mrs. Polyglot here can inform you that “betula” is Hebrew for “virgin.” Betula is also the scientific name for “birch” – but in my book, if you’ve got one translation of a word that you wouldn’t choose as your mark in English, even if you’ve got an alternate that’s less troublesome, think twice. On the other hand, I may work at home now, and have long lost the New York lawyer panache I once had – but you won’t ever see me in Birkenstocks, virgin or otherwise! I have to maintain some kind of dignity!
I always say that at any given spot in the Munich airport, if you chose to drop to the floor and give it a lick, you’d do yourself no harm: It’s just that clean. Back when we first visited in 2004, with daughters then eight and six, I nearly wept with joy at the notion that I could send the girls into the restroom stalls without fear of their contracting some grave malady (hello, JFK!)
The airport also has gorgeous examples of German cars on display (no, we didn’t bring one home this time), and the usual array of tantalizing retail establishments and their entreaties to spend. One shop I can’t help stopping in is the Swatch store; I am a long-time Swatch owner, having purchased my first in Paris back in 1984 and my most recent last summer in Honolulu. We don’t have a Swatch store here in Denver, which is good and bad: I’d have even more of them if we did, but because we don’t I never get replacement batteries and the watches eventually die and even new batteries don’t work. So my jewelry drawer looks a bit like a Swatch graveyard, I confess.
All this is to say that we dutifully checked out the Swatch store at MUC, and I got a huge chuckle out of this great wordplay:
Mascara isn’t hellish enough? I’m not sure if they’re trying to say here in Germany that fashion is godly, ranges from heavenly or hellish, or what?
Bonus: the y in German is pronounced like “oo” in English, so Olymp would sound like “O-loomp” to us!
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?
These are possibly the grooviest shoes I’ve ever seen (in terms of something wearable, that is). I saw a cousin wearing them last weekend and immediately beamed up Nordstrom’s online shoe department. One week later, they’re mine, and I’m all agog.
But Bernie, tateleh, darling, you know what your initials are and I know what your initials are. Did you really have to put them on the box?