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.

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