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trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Monster Energy, Virgin and more

Posted by Nicole Briggs on December 24, 2014 03:02 PM

Monster Energy drinks

Monster Is a Monster: Monster Energy has reportedly filed over 50 trademark-related Notices of Opposition with the TTAB of the USPTO in 2014. Well known as a beverage company, Monster has been on a rampage in the clothing category, trying to block MONSTER CLOTHING CO., MONSTER BUCK, MONSTER RACKS, and CAMP MONSTER. And it doesn’t stop there: the beverage company has also been out to take down Monster Cables as well. Can we all just get along? Or better yet co-exist just like Delta Airlines and Delta Dental or Dove chocolates and Dove soap?

Smoke and Coke: Bad news—if you’re in New Zealand over the holidays you won’t be able to order a “Smoke and Coke" cocktail. Coca-Cola put a stop to Stolen Rum for using the name due to infringement. Coca-Cola also prohibits anyone from using its name to promote alcoholic drinks. It might be a great name, but Coca-Cola just isn’t interested in playing in that category.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Cuba Opening, Rum Brands and Fans Look Forward to Havana Good Time

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 23, 2014 02:16 PM

Havana Club rum Cuba Facebook statement

Among other benefits, some in the branding world are hopeful that the opening of talks by the White House aimed at "normalizing" U.S.-Cuban relations may mean that Americans will soon be able to swim in a river of Cuban-made rum—although they can keep their swimsuits packed away while the legal issues are worked out.

As it now stands, American citizens cleared to visit Cuba may bring back $400 worth of goods. However, only $100 of that can be alcohol and tobacco. It remains unclear when or how that will change. But what is certainly bound to change soon is the number of visitors from the States making their way to Cuba.

Since 2011, Americans have only been allowed to visit the country on educational trips. But the Associated Press reports that those stringent rules will be loosened thanks to the White House's opening of relations, which could mean a big boost to the tourism industry in Cuba, not to mention the rum makers.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Kale Yeah: David Beats Goliath as 'Eat More Kale' Beats Chick-fil-A

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 22, 2014 02:02 PM

Eat More Kale Chick-fil-A Eat Mor Chikin

A Vermont artist who has been battling with Chick-fil-A for three years over a trademark issue has finally emerged as the victor.

The food chain wanted Bo Muller-Moore to stop silk-screening "Eat More Kale" onto T-shirts, sweatshirts and bumper stickers, due to worries that those few consumers that crossed paths with Muller-Moore would confuse his work with the company’s bovine "Eat Mor Chikin" slogan.

But last week the USPTO approved his trademark application to use the slogan, meaning Muller-Moore has won the battle—and the right to keep on making the merchandise and ignore the company’s cease-and-desist letters.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Wrigley, Jaguar, Burger King and more

Posted by Courtney Cantor on November 21, 2014 05:10 PM

What the….Fresh?! There is a frosty chill in the air as the “Icy Cool Breath”-maker Wrigley tries to block fellow gum maker and competitor Perfetti van Melle from registering the trademarks “WTF” and “What the Fresh” in the U.S. Wrigley is concerned the marks could be confused with its Winterfresh brand, and claims that they are too similar. Maybe Perfetti is treading on thin ice, but would you be confused?

Jaguar’s On the Road to EV Town: Or so we think. Recall that “Intent to use” trademark registrations filed at trademark offices around the world allow peeks and guesses as to a company’s future endeavors (remember Apple filing for Apple Watch in Trinidad and Tobago?) On October 30th, Jaguar sparked rumors when it filed for the mark “EV-type.” Auto experts seem to think the combination of “EV” and “-Type” mark a potential move into electric vehicles. We can’t be sure, but we’ll keep our eyes on the road for further indications.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Trademark Watch: Crayola, Burt's Bees, Jack Daniel's and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 7, 2014 02:26 PM

Crayola Sees Red Over Crayons: Hallmark Cards' Crayola brand filed suit in Kansas City (Hallmark's hometown) on Nov. 4 accusing New Jersey-based Alex Toys of using its name. The case involves the use of the word "crayola" on Alex's crayon wrappers and packaging such as the crayon tub above. Crayola wants any Alex materials using its trademark destroyed and a monetary reward for damages and legal fees. 

According to the suit, "The CRAYOLA mark has been used since at least as early as June 31, 1905 by Crayola and Crayola’s predecessors in interest with respect to the CRAYOLA marks on goods including, without limitation, crayons, chalk, crayon sharpeners, markers, modeling clay, art kits, art supplies, art materials, and many others. The CRAYOLA mark was coined by Alice Binney, the wife of company co-founder Edwin Binney, from 'craie,' the French word for chalk, and 'ola,' from 'oleaginous,' meaning oily." Now you know.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...

trademark wars

In Gilt v. Gilt Trademark Spat, There's Guilt Enough for Both Sides

Posted by Dale Buss on October 16, 2014 10:01 AM

Less-than-robust trademark protection by brands can result in the needless spending of a lot of money on legal fees—and even personal "heartbreak."

That's the lesson of a cautionary tale about a lack of trademark vigilance told by the Trademarkologist website in the case of a dispute between Gilt Groupe, the giant members-only discount retailer known for its "flash-sale" business concept that operates Gilt.com, and Gilt, a tiny Portland, Oregon, jewelry store.

It seems, according to the site, that the name "Gilt" was first used by Paula Bixel's jewelry store in 1998. But while registering it with the Oregon Secretary of State, Bixel apparently didn't log the trademark with the US federal government, which wouldn't have cost much to do.Continue reading...

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