Every inventor has, at one time or another, had the moment where all seems lost. Every avenue that could possibly yield a fruitful alleyway towards profitability has been trodden, and each industry contact that could potentially offer a path towards success has been contacted. The item that began as a simple idea, was built into a homemade prototype, and was eventually turned into a real product by a professional design firm, has not gotten the interest from the industry that had been dreamed of. This realization can be a serious cause for grief for those who have spent countless hours defining and tweaking their product, building relationships with designers, patent attorneys, industry insiders, and other inventors, and still have not achieved their ultimate goal of successfully bringing their product to market. These periods of time can be difficult, as it can feel like you are saying goodbye to a friend that has brought you so much hope, and joy throughout the development process.
From consumer goods to cutting-edge industries like blockchain and crypto, consumers want more environmentally-friendly solutions. And advertisers, in response, are rushing to tout their sustainability-focused corporate missions and product solutions. In recent decisions, Butterball, Georgia-Pacific, and Everlane, the National Advertising Division (NAD) of BBB National Programs provided useful and detailed guidance on how advertisers can support sustainability claims and avoid making unqualified general environmental benefit claims that could mislead consumers. In addition to marketing lawyers, brand owners and trademark counsel alike should also be on the lookout for overreaching environmental marketing claims.
In a recent letter, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against makers of “detox teas” for engaging in “predatory” and misleading marketing tactics on social media platforms, targeting primarily young adults (and young women in particular). Taking aim at the Instagram idol Kim Kardashian, Senator Blumenthal pointed out that influencers earn up to “six figure sums” for a single social media post promoting detox tea products without any expectation that the endorsers personally use the products and expose themselves to the alleged health risks associated with the teas.
Over the years, more and more companies have begun using Mascots (Characters and Personalities), some of which are real people, in addition to logos and company names to identify their brands. And given that there are so many different kinds of companies using Mascots, Characters, and Personalities, I’ve decided it would be fun to do a series on Brand Mascots that have become very popular and well known over the years starting with some of the best and ending with some of the creepiest (in my opinion) restaurant Mascots… One of my favorite Brand Mascots, not to mention highly clever campaigns of all time, is that of the Chick-fil-A Eat Mor Chikin®” Holstein Cows.
Businesses were recently given a harsh reminder about the effects of failing to obtain permissions when using photography for commercial purposes when a California woman sued Chipotle earlier this year for $2.2 billion. According to the complaint in the Chipotle case, in 2006, a photographer approached the plaintiff outside of a Chipotle restaurant and asked her to sign a consent form about some photographs taken inside the restaurant. The woman refused, but in 2014 and 2015, she found a photograph of herself edited into promotional materials placed on the walls of several Chipotle restaurants in California and Florida. This case serves as a reminder that any business that uses a person’s image for commercial purposes must first obtain that person’s consent.
How should intellectual property law firms firms market their legal services to potential clients? In the golden age of attorneys before the 1977 Bates v State Bar of Arizona Supreme Court decision made lawyer advertising legal, practice marketing comprised word of mouth, actual social networking and other first person methods. But since then ads and a host of other mainstream marketing methods became available to the legal profession. So which ones should an IP firm employ in the search for new clients? Which might be advisable to avoid? How much of this should happen in house or get outsourced? Let’s take a look.
In 2016 social media users reached 2.3 billion. With an audience made up of consumers, competitors and industry influencers, social media is a melting pot of opportunity and risk. Social platforms have quickly become a go-to platform for engaging with customers. If used correctly, companies have the potential to build an online persona that stands out and drives commercial success… When big brands enforce their trademark rights against potentially infringing smaller entities, the David-and-Goliath-type battle can help to alienate the consumer market. Brands such as M&Ms are now using online personas – developed on social media – to gently enforce trademark rights.
Subsidiaries of larger companies who are preparing to file a trademark application may want to think twice before deciding who to list as the Applicant. In April 2016, The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued a precedential decision canceling the trademark registration of a subsidiary because the parent company was the only one using the mark… Given the outcome of this cancellation action, companies with multiple entities should be on alert. Companies should first confirm that the entity actually using and controlling the mark is the one listed on the registration. If not, to avoid cancellation of the trademark, the entities should consider entering into a trademark license or an assignment.
Patent licensing is becoming increasingly challenging and it requires thorough preparation on the licensor’s part to convince a potential licensee that a license is both required and inevitable and to persuade them into serious negotiations. The steps involved will vary based on whether your patents are already being infringed upon or if they protect a new technology that can extend market value or penetration. In this article, the focus is on the research and preparation for the licensing of patents that may already be in use.
With the growing trend of online marketing for business, it has become important to have a distinct Internet presence. A blog can give help you raise your search engine ranking, get more traffic and even win over more customers. Setting up your own business blog isn’t difficult if you know the steps to take. Here are the first three critical steps, or action items, to setting up your blog, or just going down the path of setting up a website.
First, the biggest mistake lawyers make is that they primarily write for other lawyers. That is a huge mistake. There are only so many lawyers in any legal niche, and only a subset of them are going to be willing to read news or information on the Internet. A smaller subset of those who use the Internet to acquire information will be willing to read blogs. So if you are primarily writing for lawyers that means your audience is going to be kept small. Additionally, lawyers don’t typically turn into clients. So if you write like a lawyer for an attorney audience you are almost certainly missing the mark.
Social Media is not a fad. It is not something that is going to go away nor is it going to be replaced by something bigger and better. Most businesses have embraced social media and all that it has to offer. Perhaps you, yourself have taken a ride on the social media bandwagon. But, even if you have a well-established social media presence, are you really getting the most out of your online relationships? Are you missing opportunities to truly leverage your business relationships online in order to reap bigger rewards and sales in the real world? Following are 5 easy ways that you can take to utilize your online business and real-world relationships to increase your overall social media ROI.
Thanks to social media everyone has the ability to connect with like-minded individuals all over the world. But if you want to exploit social media you need to have an effective strategy. It doesn’t take an enormous amount of time each day. In fact with only 15 minutes a day, you can really make quite an impact. But like everything you hope to succeed with in life it does take planning and forethought. Here are suggestions on how you might be able to use social media to develop your brand, monitor quality, engage customers, expand upon ideas and connect with others within your industry.
Once you understand what to tweet, how to tweet and how much to tweet, you are quickly able to make excellent connections, increase your website statistics and search engine ranking, find some of your best brand advocates, and benefit quickly and efficiently from word of mouth marketing. In fact, next to YouTube, micro-blogging on Twitter is one of the quickest ways for information about you, your brand, your business, your products and your services to go viral. Before one can feel comfortable on Twitter, they must first understand the purpose of Twitter, realize the potential of Twitter and learn how they can use Twitter to meet their overall marketing objectives. Following, I will discuss and demystify 5 of the top myths about Twitter use for business and give you pointers on how you can get the most out of your Twitter account.
Whenever I write about USPTO conferences, symposia and events for independent inventors I say: “Simply stated, if you are a serious inventor you need to go to this Conference.” I really do believe that is true. You will be amazed at how much useful information you can obtain, and meeting up close and personal with successful inventors and government Officials is both educational and inspiring. It is sometimes easy to feel all alone as an independent inventor, facing a huge faceless bureaucracy as you attempt to do something that few of your friends and family really understand. These events that cater to the independent inventor help you realize you are not alone and while the USPTO is a government agency — even a bureaucracy — there are dedicated people up and down the chain of command who really care about innovation and want to help independent inventors. So be prepared to learn and be prepared to be inspired. Also come armed with ideas and suggestions. USPTO officials genuinely seem to want to hear what independent inventors are thinking and what they would find useful in the future.