Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's Funny. From Non Sequitur.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Much Ado About a Dot. I couldn't possibly let this one go without a post. Reuters is reporting that uber-trendy Sprinkles Cupcakes (which bills itself as "The Original Cupcake Bakery") has sued the rapidly-expanding Famous Cupcakes for trademark infringement. Sprinkles alleges that Famous Cupcakes has infringed its federally registered trademark for a circle within a circle placed at the center of a cupcake. Without commenting on the merits of Sprinkle's claims (since I haven't seen the complaint), I will make the observation that the "modern dot" design appears to be quite the fad in graphic design right now, appearing on bedding, stationary, swim meet logos, and numerous other items I'm too lazy to look up. (I'm pretty sure that one of the current in-store displays at Caribou Coffee uses something similar to the "modern dot.") As for the cupcake battles, Famous Cupcakes gets extra points for shipping their cupcakes nationwide, although I must give props to Sprinkles for announcing plans to come to DC. (And if you want to know just how out-of-hand the cupcake craze has become, do a search of TEAS for marks registered and applied-for in connection with cupcakes and bakery services...) Now I really want a cupcake.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Bet NutraSweet is Wishing it had Splenda's Lawyers. The WSJ Law Blog is reporting on a recent decision issued by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in a trade dress infringement suit brought by the makers of Splenda against a generic artificial sweetener manufacturer. From the opinion:
[W]hile it is true that the packaging of other sweetener products often contain depictions of coffee, iced tea, baked goods, fruit, and/or cereal, these depictions do not diminish the inherent distinctiveness of the Splenda trade dress when we consider the trade dress as a whole. . . . [The fact that other sweetener products used a yellow, blue and white color scheme prior to the introduction of Splenda] does not detract from Splenda’s inherent distinctiveness.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Life Imitates Ad. Following up on this post, it seems like Coke Zero has gotten itself in a real trademark litigation. According to Law.com,
Last March, Baig's attorneys contacted Coke for the sixth time in a formal demand letter. On June 5, Coke received yet another letter from Baig's counsel stating that Baig was 'dead serious about filing suit' and promising to forward a copy of the complaint he intended to file if Coke did not meet Baig's demands by June 13. That complaint, according to the Coke pleading, never arrived.
I would say that that should be sufficient to support a DJ action.

Monday, June 23, 2008

</Radio Silence> I just had to share this one. According to Reuters, "Robert Burck -- for 10 years a fixture in Times Square, who strums a white guitar while dressed only in white cowboy boots and hat and skimpy white underwear -- filed the suit in February over video billboards depicting a blue M&M dressed in his signature outfit." (How did I miss this until now?) Now here's the interesting part: "Burck, who poses for photos with giggling tourists in return for dollars slipped into his boots, has trademarked his look and licensed his name and likeness to companies for endorsements and advertisements, including a Chevrolet commercial that appeared during a Super Bowl." 1) Yes, Burck has a registration for a design consisting of a man with a guitar in a cowboy hat and boots, but I'm not sure that constiutes "trademark[ing] his look." 2) The services in his registration for NAKED COWBOY seem really broad. Is singing in a video game really the same thing as "entertainment services, namely, providing an on-line computer game"? 3) Isn't NAKED COWBOY a bit misdescriptive? 4) Am I the only one less likely to buy a product endorsed by this guy?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

From the IP is Everywhere Files. Phosita points to this patent application comprising a "method and instrument for proposing marriage to an individual." Would have been a lot of wasted effort if Ellie said no...

And finally, here we have a Bearded Iris called "Copyright."