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Little Caesars Double-Word Trademark Gets Cheesy Protection

News and Notes Focused on the 3 Public Faces of IP Law

  • Brand Image Protection - Trademark Law
  • Visual Image Protection - Copyright Law
  • Personal Image Protection - Right of Publicity Law

The Image Protection Law blog has been created in order to share stories and information on the legal aspects of: 1) the marketplace reputation of a company or product captured in its trademark, 2) published or publicly-displayed artwork, photography, and any created visual design, and 3) use of a person's photograph or likeness for product promotion or other commercial purposes.

The "IP3" share at least one thing in common: Image is everything. In these posts let's look at what that means in the realm of intellectual property in the news, but let's also be prepared to explore if there's something more beyond "everything." Don't forget, the intellectual in "intellectual property" doesn't mean smart or brainy, although by nature true creators often are. The word is used to refer to any creation, i.e., a "product of the mind." While this blog will be regularly updated, you are encouraged to share your thoughts on these posts.

DEEP DEEP DISH PIZZA.jpg

Brand Image Protection: Little Caesars has gained consumer recognition for its PIZZA! PIZZA! mark. That mark is registered along with others, including PEPPERONI! PEPPERONI! However, Little Caesars' application to register DEEP! DEEP! DISH PIZZA was refused for being merely descriptive.

While having to concede that the applied-for mark was descriptive, Little Caesar argued that its double-word marks were part of a "family of marks." The judges, in their decision, agreed that such a thing there is, but Little Caesar failed to prove it had a family of marks, all with a distinctive common trait, particularly where the double word for this mark - "deep" for deep-dish pizza - is so highly descriptive of deep-dish pizza.

In sum, DEEP! DEEP! DISH PIZZA - with or without the extra topping of exclamation marks and no matter how you slice it - is merely descriptive. It merely signifies "deep," "deeper," or "really deep" and nothing more. Consider the words of the Eddie Murphy character, Alex Foley, in "Beverly Hills Cop II: "I'm undercover deep now, this is deep, but I'm goin' deeper. I don't want no more money or nothin', but I'm goin' deep, deep deep, deep undercover."

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