Dan Corbett set an impressive standard for this site.? When you ask this young man who his favorite bloggers are in the field, he delivers a spreadsheet.? Ask him, ?what is a blog?? and he patiently indulges your willful technophobia.? It seems he grew up without a speed-limit on the information highway.? I was young in a simpler time, when kids were not allowed to touch the computer.? That said, I hope to stay relevant and keep everyone coming back for more.
My first recollection of trademarks involved customer confusion and a cola company trying to protect its brand.? You may already know this story, but when I was a kid growing up in Kansas, one could walk into a restaurant, order a Coke?, and get any number of cola brands in his cup. For many good reasons, the cola companies required servers to disclose what brands, in fact, were served if a customer asked for a cola by brand-name.
Imagine a cola company?s point of view; surely they want to protect their brand?s reputation for taste, to leverage their advertising and sales efforts, and to prevent a phenomenon known as ?genericide.? ?Genericide will get its own blog-post one day, but in short:? it is the death of a trademark due to the fact that it is now a generic term and no longer indicates the source of a product or service.
My first formal education in the law of trademarks was in 1991.? Freshman-year, studying journalism and creative writing at IU in Bloomington, I learned that brand-names were off-limits for print.? The concept that some words were off-limits grabbed me as a challenge.? I grew enthused with the idea that I would write a novel chocked-full of as many brand-names as I could imagine.? Let?s face it, a character wearing sunglasses, using a cotton swab to remove the red chili pepper sauce from his right nostril, begs the question:? What brands does this guy buy?
Fear not, I?ve grown to appreciate the rules of capitalism since then. ?Fourteen-years of legal practice have set me straight.? I aim to continue to do the following, but not limited to:
- Contribute reliable information,
- Stay relevant,
- Entertain readers about the wily adventures of trademarks,
- Humbly accept underwriting in any form, including brand-placement (we?ll talk terms later),
- Listen and respond to reader-inquiries as efficiently as humanly possible.
Stay tuned, the next blog will explore the certification mark: ?Made In USA? and we?ll see what reports come from the holiday marketing campaign this past season?
In the meantime, please enjoy this game for the bored:? As an experiment, try to go 2 days without using a brand-name.
Daniel T. Friedson
2013, Jan 6th
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