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.
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!
It’s bad enough that the Teen Spirit brand tarnishes Kurt Cobain’s memory. But this is even worse:
CUTE & GIRLIE? WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? IT’S 2015 – AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO NOTICED? If you’re old enough to use antiperspirant, you’re old enough to be totally mortified if your mom buys you “cute & girlie [sic]” antiperspirant.
And for the final injury, it should be “girly” the adjective, and not “girlie” the diminutive noun.
It has been quite a while since I last did any drinking for research purposes. Let me tell you, this one isn’t likely to make me resume the practice:
I think the only way this wine’s marketers could’ve pandered to their target market more would be to have made the label pink. With flowers. And a photo of Ryan Gosling.
N.B. Somehow I lost all my photos in my blog transition. I apologize. Technology is hard.
I can’t tell you how many times in my career (now over 24 years in this trademark biz!) I’ve been asked “but what if we change the spelling?” You mean from candy to “kandy”? From cheese to “cheeze”? Or this:
The answer, I’m afraid, is still no. It’s neither protectable nor distinctive. You’re fooling no one.
And that, my friends, is my rant du jour.
Yet still satisfying:
Right there alongside my Raspberry Beret lipstick.
A dear friend in London spotted this gem on an Austrian ski trip and knew it was right up my alley:
I think I’ve found my next winetasting/blogging gig: celebrity/vanity wines. Time to research!
Can someone please help me out with this one? I’m having a bit of difficulty here:
It’s a pet food/stuff brand that I found at Sprouts. I see from probing around that the brand name is the title of an Avett Brothers song (You may recognize it better by the refrain “Brooklyn, Brooklyn, take me in.” Or not.) The company’s website makes it even more complicated by saying “We’re ‘I and love and you.'” To me it sounds like reading a teenager’s text message out loud.
My verdict: as a song title, “I and love and you” is clunky enough; as a brand name, it’s just confusing.
(And yes, I’ve used this post title before. But the wisdom of Lucille Bluth cannot be invoked often enough.)
My brother-in-law just returned from a vacation in Hawaii with his girlfriend, and sent us a bag of 100% Kona coffee that we will surely enjoy. Reading the coffee company’s brochure, I was struck by this item:
Sicily is a vacation gift that keeps on giving – not just the wonderful memories and recipes, but the blogging material that I culled is well out of proportion to the nine days we spent there.
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.
The Grammy Awards were last night, and while it’s not a show from which I really take many fashion tips, I do sometimes marvel at the perfect skin that’s on display. Some of those women must just have armies of estheticians prepping them for days in advance of the big event.
It’s doctor visit season, and both our ophthalmologist and dentist have excellent magazine selections. The receptionist at the dentist’s office actually laughs at how voraciously I snatch the People copies from the racks. Yesterday’s haul: pop star perfumes.
. . . who loves Julian Casablancas and the Strokes, here’s an article from Jezebel reporting on Azzaro’s new men’s fragrance, for which Casablancas is the spokesmodel. Or singsmodel.
As part of educating trademark clients, I often provide them with real-life examples of points I’m trying to make. So for example, when I want to talk about the risk of committing genericide, I talk about Rollerblade and Frappuccino. When I talk about the fact that the same mark can be used by multiple parties so long as there’s no likelihood of confusion, I mention Prince spaghetti, Prince tennis racquets, and the Artist Once Formerly and Now Currently Known as Prince.
So in theory, the same mark on such disparate products as ice cream novelties and condoms, for example, should be able to coexist, without creating confusion. Well, guess what? In practice they do too! I give you Exhibit A – pointed out to me by my 15 year-old daughter:
But the point made by said precocious offspring is not just the coexistence aspect, though as the daughter of two trademark attorneys she’s well aware of that; it’s the smut aspect, as she’s well aware of as the daughter of a mother with a dirty mind. Yes, she said “Magnum? And that popsicle is so phallic!” Indeed.
Look, like her mother, my eldest reads a lot of magazines, and in general is no dummy when it comes to suggestive advertising. That awareness will serve her well in Honors English when she gets to the pickle dish in Ethan Frome, for example. But she actually brings up a significant issue here: Although technically not infringing the Magnum trademark for condoms, is this ad trying to suggest the Magnum condom trademark?
One thing I’m pretty sure of is that the ad isn’t directly trying to suggest the Magnum pose immortalized by Derek Zoolander. But if condoms and Zoolander are what teen girls think about when they see the ice cream ad, maybe that’s what they wanted after all.
Photo from benstiller.net
A brief but enjoyable visit to Maui before the kids get back from camp provided not only relaxation but also some excellent blog fodder.
We had the great fortune to join our friend Bert and some 30 of his nearest and dearest to celebrate his 50th birthday at the remote, secluded but spectacular Rancho Pescadero on the Baja Peninsula near Los Cabos. Good food, luxurious lodging, and margaritas galore to keep the conversations lively.
But a jaunt over to the small village of Todos Santos a few miles away provided just a tiny bit of trademark amusement, to wit:
Not sure what its official status refers to, but hey, it’s Mexico. Have a margarita and go with it.
Have it at the Hotel California, in fact, with Hotel California tequila:
And oh yes, they played the song. My theory, never refuted, is that no matter where you go on this planet, you will hear that song.
And wholly off topic but just for fun anyway, is this to commemorate Milli Vanilli?
Hasta luego, Todos Santos.
I have been slacking, and my number one fan (Hi again Dad!) is complaining about the blogging drought. And since he’s snowbound today, I’m going to have to pull a rabbit out of my hat to come up with a blog post. But it’s going to be random, I warn you. (I clearly don’t have Nancy’s celestial connections.)
First, a great band name: We Were Promised Jetpacks. Pretty much the halcyon cry of resentment over what the 21st century has failed to provide us. And pretty awesome Scottish rock, for a bunch of 21 year-olds.
Second, in the perfume strip deathmatch between Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf, and Flora by Gucci, Flora wins by a nose. But I find the music on the Viktor & Rolf site curiously enchanting. On to more of what’s in this month’s InStyle . . .
Nancy already raised the pharmaceutical naming issue today and in the past, but there’s yet another name that’s been gnawing at me – Pristiq. Although it’s an antidepressant, I can’t help thinking that it sounds a helluva lot more like a feminine hygiene product. Imagine the cross-marketing opportunities: “Feeling blue and not so fresh? Pristiq, now with intimate wipes.” Okay, maybe not. I’ll move on.
But not far. So maybe it’s just me, or maybe I exaggerate for effect, but I get so confused when I hear the Brits talk about “loo rolls.” I always think “isn’t that the guy who sings ‘You’ll Never Find’?” But it’s not, and in fact, Jezebel is reporting that the British have clearly achieved new heights in loo roll – i.e., toilet paper – luxury. That’s right, the Waitrose supermarket chain is now offering loo rolls with cashmere fiber. With the world in an economic downturn, I hardly think that ultra-premium toilet paper is what Britain needs now, but I can also hardly say that I understand European toilet paper marketing concepts.
And finally, as this post is already in the toilet, I will leave you with some examples from FailBlog of how education has failed our country, or at least deprived people of the ability to recognize double entendres.
Rocky and Bullwinkle pic courtesy of Photobucket.