Remember me?

Long time no post. We have all passed much water. And so on. In the event we all have to run screaming from Twitter, I figured I’d fire up this blog again. I admit I had a good chuckle to see that my last post was on the subject of prosecution time of 7.5 months to registration. Ah, the good old days.

Anyway, happy Halloween, and I just may be back. Meanwhile, for your troubles, puppies not dressed for Halloween. And the Packers jersey is not intended to show team affiliation or fandom, dog forbid.

Camera roll catch-up meets brands of my childhood

My mom was an indifferent lunch maker when we were kids, but I suspect she had a secret thing for these, because they were the processed snack food most likely to show up in our lunchboxes:

I love everything about Ding Dongs – the flavor, the texture, the name, and the zany font that appears on the packaging. Not as romantic a trigger as madeleines, but I cherish the memory nonetheless.


Baby bounty

We are once again empty nesters, both daughters now comfortably installed in their midwestern liberal arts paradises.  I already miss them both, but it’ll be nice to enjoy our home without them.

But when I saw this product on the shelf at Target, I was overcome with memories of one of my favorite mothering tools:

Yes, you’ve got it, the bulb syringe. So first of all, kudos here for calling the damn thing what it is: a snotsucker. Second, I’m all about a brand that doesn’t tell me what it is, so cheers to Fridababy and its name and line of non-descriptive products (especially Windi!) The only concern I have is that unlike with the old bulb syringe, the caregiver is doing the actual sucking of the snot. (Which is of course a sentence I never expected to type …) I am just not sure I’d have been on board for that level of commitment to nasal evacuation.

Points to ponder – A trademark geek post

Just finished reviewing a big juicy trademark search report and, as always, I have many, many thoughts entirely unrelated to my conclusions about the subject mark’s availability for use and registration. Here goes:

  1. Why does a municipality of about 12,000 people need a nine class federal trademark application for a logo mark that’s composed of a single letter in a stylized format? We’re not talking Beverly Hills here – this place is unlikely to be on anyone’s tourism bucket list. Even assuming TEAS Plus pricing for the nine classes, that’s $2025 before legal fees. More important than a local food bank or police overtime?
  2. When over 10% of the search report consists of pages showing a certain party’s oppositions, you can probably conclude that that party is a trademark bully.
  3. Oops, when reading quickly I saw “Tryon” as “Tyrion.” Damn you, Thrones!
  4. A search report that is 2000 pages long will contain at least 10 lawyers I know as filing correspondents.
    OF HOMEOWNERS THAT RESIDE IN THE COMMUNITY” really a service being performed in interstate commerce? Why does a local municipality that’s presumably offering those services to said homeowners need federal registration? (Okay, it’s just a variation on the theme of #1.)
  6. Honestly, why is anyone filing applications for goods that include cannabis products?
  7. Gonna say it and not be shy: Those Madrid registrations with biblically long IDs really clog up the register.
  8. When Disney, Nintendo, McDonald’s, Marvel Comics, Warner Bros., Merck, 20+ sports teams, and 20+ universities and colleges show up in the search with registered marks, that tells you the mark is weak.
  9. The Finnish term for “limited company” is osakeyhtiö, and its delightful abbreviation is OY.
  10.  Any application that contains automobiles, pantyhose, and whips among its identified goods should be immediately suspect – can its owner really have a bona fide intention to use the mark on all those items?
  11. Why does a high school need federal trademark registration of its logo?
  12. Boy, do we Jews seem to gravitate to trademark law!
  13. Here, have a doggie as a reward for your kindness in slogging through this post:

Stupidly spelled names, part the infinity

I know that “gluten free” and “dairy free” are magical incantations that suggest eternal life and perpetual thinness. And I know that almond milk is also revered among the faddishly health-conscious.* I don’t condemn Baileys (WHERE DID THE APOSTROPHE GO?) for jumping on that bandwagon; we all have to make a buck. But what I do begrudge them is the inanely unimaginative name they went with on this ride:

It doesn’t mean “almond” in any language. All I can think of is that they selected the term so as to be able to register it as a trademark and not have to provide a translation statement, since the term is just a bastardization of the word “almond” and its French version, “amande.”

As always, I will insist on pronouncing it as I read it, which is “al-MAHN-day.” That is, if I ever get the chance, as it’s not likely I’m going to order something that sounds as unappealing as almond milk liqueur.


*I confess that I use a tiny bit of almond milk to lighten my coffee in the morning. I find its bitterness complements the coffee’s bitterness rather than softening it as milk does. Just FTR.


For the majority of the population

Women, that is. And in light of today’s high-stakes oral argument in the Supreme Court over access to abortion , I am posting again because Ithink it worthwhile to highlight this excellent marketing campaign for an IUD:


SKYLA as a mark is youthful, calling to mind the (IMHO incomprehensible but whatever) millennial craze for the name “Skylar” (and its equally icky spelling variants). But what I really like here is the “Plans prioritized” tagline. It’s an alliterative tribute to Planned Parenthood, while at the same time being nicely communicative.

Reproductive rights are human rights, and I am hopeful the Supremes will continue to recognize that fact and turn the states away from their march to the back alleys of the past.

Suave guava

Those are the only two words that immediately came to mind when I saw this mark:


I am guessing from the stylization of the word in the lower right-hand corner of the photo that the intention is for the mark to be pronounced “do-a-vee” – and I would have no gripe with that, if the ad didn’t also show the mark in text as “DUAVEE.” It’s that lack of differentiation between the halves of the mark that calls this post’s title words to mind, and makes me want to pronounce it “dwah-vee.”

Still, I’ve seen far worse, and have no quibbles here on the product itself – remember? I’m a femme d’un certain age.


Say it, don’t thpray it

I’m not sure if this is just a failed attempt at a portmanteau or a mark whose owners never bothered to utter the term aloud before adopting it:

Ultherapy copy

Ultherapy is a non-invasive neck, eyebrow, and under-chin lift from Ulthera. At my advancing age, I can’t look askance at such procedures; I can, however, wonder about a mark and company name that sound like “ulcer” pronounced with a lisp. The moral of my story? Think twice about a mark that contains “th-” when there’s a word in the language that’s the same as your mark if lisped. Or at least I’d think twice …

Destination: Villa Chiara and the power of words

Finally, back in Sicily. And here’s just a reminder of how your faithful blogger’s overactive mind works. I saw this cereal box out on the counter at our friend’s house:

Nice Morning

And all I could think of is Nice-Matin, which is both the Nice, France morning newspaper‘s name; and the name of a great restaurant on the Upper West Side in New York, where I spent a glorious afternoon two years ago sipping rosé alone and reminiscing about my days living in that neighborhood so long ago. Who knew a cereal box could be my madeleine

Clever leverage

United’s relatively new “luxury lifestyle and literary magazine”:


It’s a great name for a magazine, and a wonderful tribute to “Rhapsody in Blue,” United’s trademark anthem.


Not just gender confusion

This sidebar item from the American Express Rewards site also seems to be confused about what century we’re in:

At least it’s not “Ladie’s,” though.

The Zen of Tattoos

I recently saw a woman with a tattoo across her back that said “Primum non nocere” – or “First, do no harm,” a principal precept of medical ethics. Am I the only one to see the irony here?

For an amusing discussion of tattoos in the medical profession, see here.

And why tattoos? Personal branding, isn’t it?

Which is it?

Potatoes for people who can’t read? Or potatoes that can’t read? OR MAYBE they’re hybrid potatoes that don’t have eyes! Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Yes, while Alexia sounds like a pretty name, it actually, according to Merriam-Webster, means “aphasia marked by loss of ability to read.” If it meant something like pus-filled cyst, I’d have a bigger problem with it, but since knowing the real definition doesn’t make me lose my appetite, I’ll give them a pass.

The dog days of autumn

I know, you were thinking perhaps I’d provide a welcome respite from the run-up to the election, but I’ve failed you. With good excuse(s), I promise. First, the younger daughter had a tonsillectomy 11 days ago. A teenager recovering from a tonsillectomy beats all previous land speed records for whiny, needy clinginess. She’s back to school today but still in lots of pain, and I thought caring for her alone would test my caregiving skills … but there’s more!

Right after we got her home from the hospital, our beloved toy poodle started acting skittish and strange. When she couldn’t even drag her tiny tuchis off the floor, we knew something was wrong and hightailed (!) it to the veterinary hospital. Well, like mother, like dog: Reggie had ruptured a disk and required a hemilaminectomy with fenestration. (Just as long as it wasn’t defenestration, I always say). Six days in the hospital and untold sacks of gold later, Reggie is home with us trying to pretend nothing’s happened, yet needing my constant supervision.
We’re grateful to the team at VRCC in Denver that took such good care of her. I guess when you shell out that much cash on a dog, you merit a goody bag, and ours contained a cute plush organic pet toy from this company:
Simply Fido is an absolutely great name – I like how it evokes “simplified,” which is a nice connotation for organic products. I just hope the company, with its Brooklyn base, is weathering Hurricane Sandy safely.
Stay healthy, please!

Let me get this straight …

So I’ll get 36 hours of protection if I use it every 12 hours over a day and a half? 48 if I use it every 12 hours over two days? I think all I’m going to get from this is reinforcement of my multiples of twelve. I can’t stop looking at this bottle and thinking there’s something wrong about this assertion; is anyone else similarly troubled? 

Drinking with my ladybrain V

Here is a wine that speaks softly yet still carries a big
stick. What the hell do I mean by that? While its name by no means falls into the
bitch category,” I know it’s speaking to me. 

Heaven only knows that one of the pleasures of wine
is its power to help take the edge off a tough day. Yes, it helps you relax:


This is a German riesling from Schmitt Söhne,
and I think they were smart to ditch their mouthful of a German name
in favor of something easily marketable and pronounceable. Relax is low in alcohol, refreshing on
the palate, and was a lovely complement to the cheese you see in the photo
behind it. No, it’s not a complex wine, but for the $7 or so I spent? Well
worth it. Though it’s neither festooned in pink nor bitchy, the sleek design and succinct name are nonetheless subtly targeted to women, in my view, as it conveys just exactly what my
having-it-all generation wants to do after a day of multitasking.

(Thanks to my pal Jody for those gorgeous riesling glasses!)

Either way, you win

We are training our trademark specialists young. My 15 (and a half!) year-old spotted this cleverly-named Oreo variety at Target today: 

Although I could not be enticed to purchase the cookies, I appreciate both my daughter’s eagle eye and Nabisco’s excellent name for this variation on the Oreo theme.

Out of the mouths of babes

Last night my fifteen year-old hollered, “MOM! Is it ‘Pet Smart’ . . .  or is it ‘PETS MART’?” Well, dog my cats, as it were; I’d never thought about it that way.  Yes, PetSmart is, like New Shimmer, both a floor wax and a dessert topping. Although the logo would suggest the former,

PetSmart - Pet supplies and pet products for healthier, happier pets
the latter interpretation works just fine!

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.