Friday, March 20, 2009

AOL offers quiz on recognizing correctly branded product labels

AOL today offered its subscribers a twenty-question trademark quiz called “Which One’s the Real Label”. Twenty common household products, including Crest toothpaste, Band.aids, Vlasic and Heineken Beer were presented with slightly different versions of their products in a “Product Label Quiz”. I got only six of 20 right. The Walletpop link for the quiz is here.

The exercise shows how picky the USPTO may be with trade dress, where every color and every visual figure matters. Many of the questions involved colors of print and backgrounds. With “Band.Aid” the question involved hyphenation of the corporate brand name.

The practical significance is that it’s too easy for imitators to fool the public with fake products, creating dilution and infringement. With financial institutions, slightly incorrect labels on an email could be a tip-off to a phishing attack.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A small business describes the USPTO registration process

“The Official Blog” on a site called “Jealous Brother” describes in detail the process that a small Internet business is likely to go through with a trademark registration with the USPTO. The blog entry appears to have been written in the fall of 2008.

The overview is called “Registering a Trademark from Start to Finish” with link here.

The author describes the cost involved (typically between $350 to $1500) and the USPTO’s unforgiving attitude toward “mistakes” which requires starting over and repaying the entire fee.

He also discusses “standard character” or workmark registration, “stylized” registration, related to trade dress, which he apparently used here.

Picture: Internet Outlook 2009 conference at Tysons Corner VA.