Amazon Puts the Hurt (Locker) on Competition

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2012 03:29 PM

Heading into last year's year-end holiday selling season, Amazon flexed its muscles and felt some backlash when it provided an app that allowed consumers to find lower prices on any products they found at competing brick-and-mortar retailers. This year, Amazon is finding plenty of new ways to corral consumers as the holiday seasons looms ever closer. One marketing tactic sees the e-tail giant expanding its premium Amazon Prime program. For an extra $8 a month, consumers can get free 2-day shipping, monthly Kindle rentals, and a selection of unlimited streaming video.

And back on the muscle-flexing front, the company just won a legal battle against Apple and such publishers as Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins in Europe, which allows the online retailer to sell online books cheaper than its competitors. Another battle keeping its lawyers busy is for the .cloud domain name, which Amazon wants to secure — but so does Symantec, ARUBA S.p.A., CloudNames AS, and Dash Cedar, among others. 

But don’t think Amazon has completely ditched the brick-and-mortar world. Staples, the largest U.S. office supply retailer, is planning to install Amazon-branded lockers in its stores that would allow consumers to have Amazon packages shipped to their stores for pick-up. Amazon already has similar deals with a few grocery, convenience, and drug stores, including at select D'Agostino, Gristede and Rite-Aid stores in New York.

trademark wars

PepsiCo Lawyers Don't Want Any Bare Naked Branding

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 2, 2012 10:16 AM

Welshman Simon Doherty owns one of the smallest breweries in Wales, the wee Artisan Brewing Co. in Cardiff, but size doesn’t matter when it comes to trademarks.

PepsiCo's lawyers caught wind Doherty was looking to trademark his “Bare Naked Beer” brand two years ago. The American beverage giant thought it was a little too close to its Naked Juice drinks brand. Apparently, the courts agree as a ruling now prohibits Doherty from using the name on his brews. He needs to make the switch to a new name within the next few months, and is offering 100 bottles of his finest for the winning suggestion (that doesn't use the word "Naked.")

Doherty wasn’t a complete loser on the day, though. “We can’t use the brand mark on our beer anymore but there was no case for using the brand on clothing so at least we won that battle,” Doherty told WalesOnline. “I have still been faced with the cost of representing myself in court, which was not cheap, but if PepsiCo had won outright I would have been facing astronomical costs.”

As Doherty figures out his next move, let's just hope Canada's Barenaked Ladies don't slap their brand on a bottle any time soon. [Oops - Artisan informed us on Twitter it's too late for that.]

name game

Jay-Z and Beyonce Lose Blue Ivy Trademark Fight

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 23, 2012 02:18 PM

When Jay-Z and Beyonce named their new daughter Blue Ivy back in January, most people said, “What the heck?’ Boston-based entrepreneur Veronica Alexandra, however, was saying something else.

The 32-year-old’s response was more like “Uh-oh.” After all, her wedding and event planning business, which has offices in Florida and Southern California, happened to have the very same name.

So when the music superstars went to trademark the name for their daughter, Alexandra did the same. And now, the Boston Herald reports, she’s won trademark protection for Blue Ivy

“I definitely needed to protect what it is I’ve been living on,” Alexandra told the Herald. “Now it’s time to create the partnerships and business avenues I’m planning on doing, period.”Continue reading...

chew on this

The Hole Truth: Dunkin’ Donuts Eyes Bagel Holes as Munchkin Sidekick

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2012 03:09 PM

Dunkin’ Donuts thinks it can have a winner with the bagel centers, just as it did when it turned doughnuts on their glazed heads and created Munchkins, sparking a doughnut hole war in the U.S. with Canada's Timbit-flinging Tim Hortons chain. As spotted by the Boston Globe, the people that brought you America Runs on Dunkin' filed for a “Bagel Bunchkin” trademark back in May and plans to use it to sell bite-size bagel pieces in the U.S.

The chain already has a pretty good lock on bagel sales, as the biggest seller of bagels among quick service restaurants in the U.S. Two years ago, it launched Bagel Twists, but is now looking to expand its bagel offerings. However, it may not be able to move forward with their desired name.

The US Patent and Trademark Office “tentatively rejected the Dunkin’ application, noting that the Fred Meyer Stores supermarket chain already registered the rights to the name ‘The Bagel Bunch’ for its traditional bagel line,” the Globe notes. Dunkin’ Donuts is nearing the end of the time window to appeal.Continue reading...


Lenovo Promotes IdeaPad Yoga With Bond-like Short Film

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 12, 2012 05:02 PM

To promote Lenovo's new IdeaPad Yoga (a hybrid tablet and laptop that can be configured, yoga-like, into various 'modes' or 'poses' including bending backwards), the brand released "The Pursuit," a film-like short (that's the director's cut, above) that was shot in Hungary. The Bond-like heroine's mission: "Find the Yoga, uncover the code, make the switch. But with the opposition in hot pursuit her skills and the dynamic moves of the Yoga will be put to the test."

"Yoga was actually the code name," says Lenovo CMO David Roman, "but the code name was so logical — it was just a perfect fit — that it ended up becoming the real name. And it was justifiable to have a name [as opposed to a number] because it really is a new category."

The creave name stands in contrast to Lenovo's "ThinkPad Tablet 2," for example, which may get renamed. "We are looking at our naming overall," Roman says. "We don't feel that our naming is up to snuff. It can be confusing. Taken product by product it makes sense, but put them together it doesn't."

brand strategy

Kraft Foods Revs Old Brands With Kraft Spin-Off and Mondelēz Launch

Posted by Dale Buss on October 1, 2012 02:22 PM

A major part of the logic behind the split-up of Kraft into snacks go-getter (and naming-challenged) Mondelēz International and its more tired North American grocery business is to create a "global snacking powerhouse" — and spur growth in the latter enterprise.

As Forbes noted, Kraft is moving from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ with the move to spin off its North American business and rebrand its corporate parent: "Kraft is keeping its faster-growing global snacks business into a new company named Mondelēz International, ticker MDLZ, while its spun-off North American grocery business will keep the Kraft Foods name but trade under ticker KRFT. Both stocks will list on the Nasdaq when the breakup is complete, and the KFT symbol will be retired."

Now that Kraft Foods Group can begin selling shares with its own listing as an independent company after the market's close on Oct. 1st, it's time for Kraft to fulfill investor expectations as Mondelēz (which will debut on Oct. 3rd, with a defiant macron over its final 'ē') is considered to be the higher growth stock.Continue reading...


H&M Confirms & Other Stories Spin-Off, Delays U.S. E-Commerce Launch

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 27, 2012 11:01 AM

H&M has announced that its new store brand, & Other Stories, will launch in Spring 2013 in "selected European countries," with an online hub at stories.com (which was registered in March), and a waiting Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Along with the news that H&M's U.S. e-commerce launch has been moved to Summer 2013, H&M commented on the pending & Other Stories launch in the company's third quarter earnings update, which was softer than expected —Continue reading...


Polish This Apple: Cupertino No Fan of Grocer's Special

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 13, 2012 04:01 PM

Any other major brand, Apple is vigilant about protecting its trademark and image around the world. But sometimes things can go a teensy bit too far, such as when Kellogg threatened to sue a small nonprofit because it used a toucan that looked nothing like Froot Loops’ Toucan Sam for its logo.

Kellogg eventually backed off and contrite. Apple, as if it didn't have enough to keep it busy, has started the process on what could end up being a similarly silly case. What’s caught the company’s attention is an online grocery in Poland (a “delikatesy internetowe”) that uses the URL A.pl (get it?), according to Reuters. 

Apple isn’t just unhappy with the site’s name. It also claims that the grocery copied “one of Apple's icons to its logo and (is) riding its coattails to win customers,” Reuters reports.Continue reading...

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