Whole Foods has marketed itself as a healthy and organic grocer and claims that it is “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store”. This branding effort has paid off as consumers tend to view the brand as a fresh alternative to big box grocery stores. But the Trademark Office recently put a damper on the grocery chain’s health hype when it rejected the company’s attempt to trademark “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store” because the mark is “self-laudatory” or a “puffing mark.”
After several hundred protestors turned out in Park City, Utah to fight Vail Resorts attempt to register the trademark “Park City”, the business group has decided to abandon its trademark application. This is a change of course for the Colorado based ski resort ownership, which had been pursuing trademark protection on its recently acquired Utah asset, Park City Mountain Resort. Local residents are now relieved to know that the name of the town will not be trademarked and local businesses will have less concern over branding conflicts.
Continue reading “Locals Protest Park City Trademark Application”
M&M’s may be loved the world over, but if Swedish people want them, they may need a new name. This news comes after the Swedish Court of Appeals ruled that the M&M’s mark causes confusion among Swedish consumers due to a traditional Swedish chocolate candy that also comes marked with the letter “M”. Mars, the manufacturer of M&M’s, will now need to change the name of the candies in Sweden, appeal the decision, or face penalties laid out by the Court of Appeals if it continues selling there.
Converse’s Chuck Taylor shoes are one of the oldest and most recognizable athletic shoes around. Designed specifically for basketball players, the shoes were introduced in 1917. Converse says that it has sold more than a billion pairs of the shoes worldwide since then. However, even though the shoes have a long history and a distinctive look, they don’t have exclusivity on every design element incorporated into the shoe. That’s the ruling from the US International Trade Commission after Converse filed a trademark complaint with the ITC in 2014.
Coca-Cola is a giant in the beverage industry. If you said everyone in the world knows what Coke is, it may actually be true and not just an exaggeration. With such recognition and substantial marketing resources behind its zero calorie drinks like “Coke Zero”, “Sprite Zero” and “Powerade Zero”. Coke has finally convinced the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to allow its trademark registration on the term “zero” in conjunction with its beverages. This grant comes in spite of Dr. Pepper’s protests that the term is a generic reference to zero-calorie drinks. The decision is limited however, and leaves the door open for Dr. Pepper to also register its “zero” products and pushes any future disputes into federal court.
The Navajo Nation is one of the largest indigenous tribes of Native Americans. Its language has been featured in major motion pictures and its culture has been portrayed in books and on TV. Yet, as far as trademarks go, all this recognition may not be enough for “Navajo” as a trademark to qualify as famous. That’s what a judge recently declared as he threw out a trademark dilution claim from the Navajo Nation’s trademark infringement suit against the clothing store Urban Outfitters.
An appeal to the United States Supreme Court is the latest move in an ongoing battle between the Asian-American band “The Slants” and the USPTO over whether the band’s name is disparaging and should be granted trademark registration or not. After a panel of Federal Appeals Court judges reversed the Trademark Office’s decision rejecting the mark, the Office has now appealed to the highest court in the land in an effort to allow it to retain discretion over whether some marks are too offensive for registration. Time will now tell whether the Supreme Court will accept the case and continue its increasingly active role in intellectual property law.
Donuts have never suffered from a popularity issue. With high demand, supply typically rises to match. And as the competition intensifies, bakeries look for ways to innovate and separate themselves from the pack.
One way that a Terra Haute, Indiana bakery has done so is by going against the norm and producing a square shaped donut. While the square shape may have been original, the name it chose to call these donuts was not. The bakery called itself and the donuts it produced, “Square Donuts.” This lack of originality has led to a trademark dispute with another unimaginative bakery in Valparaiso, Indiana, that is also attempting to call its cornered donuts “square donuts.” Continue reading “Indiana Bakeries Square off Over Square Donuts”
If you were around in the 1970s when Jaws was first released, you probably thought twice about going into the ocean after seeing the thriller. Even younger generations recognize the iconic shark and have a little fear in the back of their minds. Despite or maybe because of the fear Jaws incited, the movie was a box office hit, becoming the first movie to surpass $100 million in domestic theater ticket sales. With wide viewership and an impact on beach-going behavior, Jaws left its mark on American culture. But that was 40 years ago. Is that culture legacy still relevant? According to the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, the answer is yes. Continue reading “Jaws Still Too Famous To Share Trademark Space With a Cooking Show”
Netflix’s House of Cards series has enjoyed a highly successful run on the streaming site and just released its fourth season. With so much success, it has built up a nice name for itself. Even many of those that haven’t watched the series probably have at least heard of it. That could all be in jeopardy though, as the series distributor, MRC II Distribution Company, faces a trademark challenge from the registered owner of the trademark on “House of Cards”.