Tag Archives: Branding and Brand Management

Trademark and Branding Updates

Originally posted 2008-03-07 01:02:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

TM Branding Cap, with yet another roundup feature!

Bates and hooks

Originally posted 2012-06-05 19:02:33. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Bates numbering, that is.

As a litigator, I’ve been living with Bates-numbering, or Bates-stamping, for over 20 years.  (I’m not the only one!)  I have manually stamped documents using a Bates stamp.

These days we Bates-stamp (not “Bate-stamp”) electronically, mostly.

I noticed this when I was Bates-stamping a small supplemental document production using Adobe Acrobat today.  It looks like this:

 

So, as a trademark lawyer, that made me a little curious.  Because “Bates” sounds like — and is — a name, right?  Proper name… a product… associated with one another…. what is that called again?

A trademark, maybe?  Does a trademark belong in the Adobe menu like that?

Well, BATES is a common enough name that I wasn’t going to read every single BATES trademark registration.   (For free, that is.)  So in running down this issue, I only read the live ones.   I didn’t find anything.

Strange, I thought.  No one ever tried to protect the BATES numbering stamp trademark?  Indeed, in the pictures of old Bates stamps I snagged off the Net for this piece, there is no indication of an effort to assert a trademark — an effort that, if applied diligently, would probably have been succesful.

But I had to make sure… and, wait a minute!

Yes!

I had spied this version of the Bates stamp in several pictures.  Finally, I found this clear shot of a Bates stamp bearing the mark BATES with a “circle-R” trademark registration symbol!  Ah… Bates® … Royall®!  Circle-R!  You can in fact buy one even today.

Bates®.  Royall®.

Bates-Circle-R?  Really?

Not really, it seems. Or not quite. Read More…

Don’t say it! SUPER BOWL®, that is.

I don’t watch a lot of TV — don’t even have one, actually.  And I only raise the topic because that is my excuse for missing this epochal commercial riffing on my favorite topic — the Big Game that Shall Not Be Mentioned.  Not mentioned, that is, because of, you know.  Bullies.  Trademark bullies.

Super Bowl® bullies.

Anyway, good thing Chuck “no relation, not a typo” Colman is out there keeping tabs on stuff, as in this incredibly trademark-law laden post.  Makes my brain hurt, even, but that’s because when I came into the game, of course, we’d be sent right back in for the next series after a deep snort of smelling salts.  Chuck, he’s a young gun.

And this TV, now, that is easy watchin’!  Edjamacational too.  So as a matter of record, the Samsung spot has to be embedded here, too:

Yes.  Yes yes yes yes yes.

Hey — here’s a thought:  Isn’t it kind of funny to have a brand that you don’t want people to mention?

One more reason some of us just don’t “get” big-time Brand Equity, I guess.

Shh.  Don’t mention that brand!

Best of 2012: Bates and hooks

[stextbox id="info"]Originally posted on June 5, 2012, this may be the best post of all of 2012, and maybe ever, on LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® or any other blog.

Okay, on LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®.[/stextbox]

Bates numbering, that is.

As a litigator, I’ve been living with Bates-numbering, or Bates-stamping, for over 20 years.  (I’m not the only one!)  I have manually stamped documents using a Bates stamp.

These days we Bates-stamp (not “Bate-stamp”) electronically, mostly.

I noticed this when I was Bates-stamping a small supplemental document production using Adobe Acrobat today.  It looks like this (click the graphic for a better look):

 

So, as a trademark lawyer, that made me a little curious.  Because “Bates” sounds like — and is — a name, right?  Proper name… a product… associated with one another…. what is that called again?

A trademark, maybe?  Does a trademark belong in the Adobe menu like that?

Well, BATES is a common enough name that I wasn’t going to read every single BATES trademark registration.   (For free, that is.)  So in running down this issue, I only read the live ones.   I didn’t find anything.

Strange, I thought.  No one ever tried to protect the BATES numbering stamp trademark?  Indeed, in the pictures of old Bates stamps I snagged off the Net for this piece, there is no indication of an effort to assert a trademark — an effort that, if applied diligently, would probably have been succesful.

But I had to make sure… and, wait a minute!

Yes!

I had spied this version of the Bates stamp in several pictures.  Finally, I found this clear shot of a Bates stamp bearing the mark BATES with a “circle-R” trademark registration symbol!  Ah… Bates® … Royall®!  Circle-R!  You can in fact buy one even today.

Bates®.  Royall®.

Bates-Circle-R?  Really?

Not really, it seems. Or not quite.

So…. another Google search, this time for the words BATES and ROYALL, and I got to a helpful link on Trademarkia, those scoundrels!, listing all the “Bates Manufacturing Company, The.”  There are 35, says Trademarkia.  Of them, 34… dead.  The live one:

Why, that’s not a trademark registration for BATES at all!

Among the dead registrations listed by Trademarkia, in fact, none of them seems quite to identify a Bates stamp, i.e., a “numbering machine.”

So it seemed clear:  ”Bates numbering” is indeed generic for Bates numbering — the placement of serial indices on images and documents, such as in preparation for document production in a litigation matter, and, historically, with a Bates stamp.  This is a nice little article on Bates stamps, by the way, among all the ones I saw preparing this post.  Tah-dah!

Well, not so fast.

Now Edwin Bates (per this Wikipedia article) knew a little about IP, or his lawyer did:  He got three patents for his Bates stamp.  No trademark, though?

No, not ”no trademark.”  Well, not “no trademark registration.”  Keep reading.

Did you think I was going to rely on Trademarkia for this answer? Read More…

The ultimate trademark?

Okay, so I thought I had accomplished something by snagging a registration for the concept at the heart of trademark protection — why, LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® of course!

This, however, takes the cake:

Now, of course, we all know that the “TM” symbol does not indicate the existence of a trademark registration under U.S. law.  Rather it is a unilateral assertion of trademark rights.

Well, so?  Can a design studio earn trademark rights — and perhaps eventually a registration — for the name TRADEMARK?

Why not?  It would have been neater if the graphic artist’s name had been, you know, Mark.  But Tim’s a nice name too, and TRADETIM might not have had such a great ring to it.  Anyway, I see no reason this couldn’t function as a trademark.  Is there something in all the small print that says it can’t?  If you’re one of those small-print readers, let me know.  Doctrinally speaking, however, it looks pretty solid to me:  On the generic-descriptive-suggestive-arbitrary-fanciful continuum, I vote no more than suggestive and perhaps even arbitrary.

Hat tip to a very cool blog about graphic design called Grain Edit.

UPDATE:  Did I say “takes the cake”?  Well, yes.  Unlike the cupcake situation, this one is in fact easier than PIE.