mobile commerce

Google Taps Telco-Backed Softcard to Goose Google Wallet, Fight Apple Pay

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2015 12:23 PM

Apple recently entered the mobile payment market with Apple Pay—baked right into its iPhone 6 devices—and made big news when JetBlue began to accept Apple Pay for in-flight transactions, among its hundreds of other partners.

Google, which has been in the electronic payment business for some time with Google Wallet, isn’t waiting around to see what Apple does next.

This week, the search behemoth announced it's partnering with three US mobile carriers—AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—to pre-install the Google Wallet app in Android devices this year, and will integrate the three carriers' mobile payments joint venture, Softcard, as part of the deal. Continue reading...

trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Sriracha, Left Shark, Red Bull and Pit Bull Edition

Posted by Nicole Briggs on February 13, 2015 03:54 PM

No Crying Over Spilled Sriracha: With no trademark protection, the name “Sriracha” is hot right now. Tribe just released a Sriracha-flavored hummus, while Heinz is launching a Sriracha-flavored ketchup and Tabasco has its own version. Yet David Tran, the man who created the sauce, doesn’t see the lack of a trademark as a missed opportunity. Rather, he sees it as free advertising for Huy Fong Foods, which has never had a marketing budget.

MLB Challenges WalletHub over “W”: With 1,000+ trademarks on file for the letter “W,” who can say it belongs to just one company? Major League Basebll feels the WalletHub logo too closely resembles the “W's” held by the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs. Attorney S. Lloyd Smith, who represents WalletHub's owners, feels the MLB is “plainly overreaching in this case.” However, the league asserts that the logo’s resemblance is likely “to cause confusion, to cause mistake, and to deceive the trade and public.” How likely are you to confuse WalletHub’s personal finance site with a sports team logo?Continue reading...

automotive

Ford Gets in Sync, Dropping MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch

Posted by Dale Buss on December 11, 2014 01:19 PM

Ford Sync 3

When it came time to improve on its Sync infotainment system and brand a few years ago, Ford got a little too clever, some felt, undermining the seameless technology experience for owners and tarnishing its sterling brand.

Now, with the launch of the third-generation Sync 3, Ford is finally on the road to correcting mistakes which have cost the brand a great deal of comfort and credibility with Ford buyers and came up with a new system that a company researcher told brandchannel is "simpler overall."Continue reading...

automotive

Lincoln Goes Black Label as Brands Buff Up for LA Auto Show

Posted by Dale Buss on November 17, 2014 12:54 PM

The North American auto industry continues to ride a surge that is harkening back to the halcyon days of a decade ago, when 16- and 17-million-unit years represented a modern sales peak for the business. Automakers must also find ways to boost sales without the benefit of an incipient economic recovery and the "pent-up demand" by consumers that helped them reach their current peak. That's what auto shows are for.

The 2015 auto show season moves to the U.S. this week with the Los Angeles International Auto Show getting under way with a press preview on Tuesday. Like January's North American auto show in Detroit, it's staged by local associations of auto dealers, but its biggest influence will be as a platform to showcase brands' production models, concept vehicles and feature, which will be closely watched far beyond LA.

Based on sneak peeks and previews, the Los Angeles event will bring car buffs luxury sedans, "super sports cars and SUVs," as brands look to wow consumers—and get them to open their wallets.Continue reading...

health matters

A League of Your Own: Kobo Founder's Health App Syncs Wearable Tech Data

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 13, 2014 11:23 AM

When U.S.-based Borders Books introduced the Kobo e-reader back in 2010, it was seen as a potential “Kindle Killer.” Borders, alas, folded the following year, but Kobo kept quietly rolling along.

Now the man who created Kobo, Michael Serbinis, is introducing a new product that he hopes will excite consumers and the medical community alike: A healthcare app and personal wellness portal called League. Having raised $4 million Canadian in seed money, League is preparing to launch early next year, according to a press release.

League can be accessed via a website and iOS and Android mobile apps, which will monitor information provided by wearable technology devices, such as FitBit's tracking of steps taken, all controlled by the user and open, if desired, to healthcare providers too. Continue reading...

automotive

Mercedes-Benz Adopts New Naming System as Ultra-Luxury Maybach Returns

Posted by Dale Buss on November 11, 2014 03:01 PM

What's in a name? Quite a lot, actually, when it comes to premium-luxury car brands. Mercedes-Benz is extending a new trend in the industry by overhauling the names used to identify its vehicles as it prepares for the launch of 30 models, including 11 all-new vehicles, by 2020.

As part of its re-badging, the automaker announced the resurrecting of the Maybach name on a model that will be introduced next week at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Maybach brand, which starred in a Jay Z and Kanye West video, represented its ultra-high-end models before being retired in 2012. Now, as rumored earlier this year, Maybach is making a comeback, this time as the Mercedes-Maybach sub-brand, which will serve as a home for Mercedes-Benz ultra-luxury-high-end automobiles. Confused?Continue reading...

trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Dunkin' Donuts, GM, Mike Gundy and more

Posted by Jerome McDonnell on October 31, 2014 04:41 PM

Dunkin’ Donuts settles the Cronut debate, calls it like it sees it: In this case, the chain's croissant-doughnut hybrid is definitely not a Cronut, which we all know is the trademark of Monsieur Dominique Ansel. Rather, Dunkin' Donuts decided on a purely descriptive naming approach, and christened its new pastry the “Croissant Donut.” While Ansel received plenty of criticism for asserting rights to the word Cronut, this situation serves to perfectly illustrate what a trademark is and is not. A trademark is a name associated with a specific product from a particular provider; it is not an attempt to monopolize the actual product or how that product can be made. As Ansel puts it on his Facebook page, “McDonald’s has a burger named the Big Mac and Burger King offers one known as the Whopper. Neither prevents the other from serving up a hamburger.”

Meanwhile, brand and trademark folk will gladly weigh in on the merits of “Cronut” (a suggestive name) vs. “Croissant Donut” (a purely descriptive name). While there should only be one Cronut for this type of pastry, the Dunkin’ Donuts “Croissant Donut” will have to contend with versions from Jack in the Box, Japan's Mister Donut, Rich's Food Service, Disney (available at Epcot), and Moe's Doughs Donut Shop in Brooklyn—to name just a few. Continue reading...

trademark wars

The Cronut Contenders: Dunkin' Donuts, Crumbs Bake Shop and #NotaCronut

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 27, 2014 07:02 PM

Just as New York-based pastry chef Dominique Ansel is launching his new book—called, fittingly, The Secret Recipes—comes news that Dunkin' Donuts is launching a Croissant Donut, which sounds an awful lot like Ansel's now-trademarked Cronut.

Only, as the Associated Press reports, Dunkin' doesn't want anyone calling it a cronut.

As John Costell, Dunkin's president of global marketing and innovation, told AP's Candice Choi

"that bakers around the country have been mixing doughnuts and croissants for at least 20 years. He said Dunkin' is constantly tracking consumer and bakery trends and has been looking at pastry 'combinations' for several years now.  'Are we copying a specific bakery in New York? The answer is no,' Costello (told AP)."

According to Choi, the Not-a-Cronut will be available in November for a limited time at $2.49 each (vs. Ansel's $5.00 Cronuts), and follows the brand's test of "a croissant-doughnut in South Korea it dubbed a New York Pie Donut" last year.Continue reading...

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