Trademarks are a crucial part of the world of intellectual property, but not every person, inventor, writer, or company knows what to do to obtain a trademark or how to appropriately utilize a trademark. With that in mind, we would like to answer some frequently asked questions about trademarks in today's post.
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.
A couple of federal court decisions - one of them from the highest court in the land - may well be prompting some to wonder where the line is now when it comes to what can and cannot be federally registered as a trademark.
Allstate first began using its registered trademark "DriveWise" in December 2010 and has used it continuously since then. Kia Motors Corporation filed its first trademark application in 2016 for the phrase "Drive Wise" as a stylized design mark.
"She's not going to be passed around," said the federal judge before "Grumpy Cat" was brought into the California courtroom. She sat in a cat carrier as she awaited her owner's testimony in a licensing violation case. She is not expected to testify.
San Francisco creatives, whether they are artists or forward-thinking business people, know globalization is not a passing fancy. Money-making opportunities abound in markets other than the United States, but taking advantage of them requires extreme due diligence to protect your interests. Without proper care, something could get lost in translation, literally, with harsh financial consequences.
Last week, our post was about a cross-border trademark fight between a nearly monolithic beer brewer and one that has no presence beyond a small town in one U.S. state. This week, we take another plunge into the brewing world without the tongue-in-cheek tone of the last. That's because of the iconic nature of the mark in question - Route 66.
There's something about craft beer that seems to encourage unusual names. Who would drink a Pabst or Budweiser when there are such products available as Buttface Amber Ale? Or "I'll have what the gentleman on the floor is having - Polygamy Porter." From Palo Alto, we have Hoppy Ending Pale Ale.
In our last post, we explored the issue of "genericide." As we discussed, the genericization of a product or a brand is something that attentive business people want to avoid. The risk is that if a trademark isn't defended and the product or service it's associated with becomes commoditized, it can erode the ability to optimize earnings.
Some readers with receding hairlines or graying tresses will remember the age of generic products. Back in the 1980s, goods from bleach to spaghetti noodles started appearing in grocery stores. They stood out for what they lacked - specifically colorful labels, company branding and logos. Generics carried minimalist black and white labels; so instead of Budweiser, a person might buy simply Beer.
In our last post, we began looking at an ongoing lawsuit between two winemakers--one located in Clarksburg, California--which highlights the issue of federal trademark protection vs. state trademark protection. At the center of the disagreement is both companies' use of the term "essential" on their wine labels.