Category: Trademark

Trademark law in all its abundant glory finds a home here. From how Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang saved the world to whether you can trademark your face, we’ve got it all.

The Unhelpful Trademark

Those of you who watch Hulu on a regular basis will have noticed the ubiquitous advertising that is increasingly crowded into all the popular shows. From two or perhaps three 30-second advertisements when Hulu debuted, viewers are now subjected to five or six full-minute advertisements, transforming the vaunted "cable killer" into the equivalent of traditional cable TV -- except you can't skip or fast-forward through Hulu's ads like you can if you have cable and a Tivo. So Hulu viewers are now paying for the dubious privilege of being forced to watch advertisements

Read more

Trademarking Christmas

You may be surprised to know that SANTA CLAUS is a trademark, but it is. Father Christmas Ltd., a British company and the proud owner of www.santa-claus.com, also owns the rights to sell Santa Claus merchandise in the United States. Of course, it's not an exclusive license, since Santa has been around since the days of jolly St. Nick, but one hardly expects a trademark to issue on a man who is such a public -- nay, mythological -- figure. Santa Claus as we know him today is the end-product of neo-Darwinian evolution, a marriage of disparate elements such as Odin leading the fey on the Wild Hunt . . .

Read more

The Unbearable Ubiquity of Product Placement

I remember back in 1991 I was reading American Psycho, the Bret Easton Ellis novel about the yuppie serial killer and sexual sadist who was also fixated on material luxury items – Hermes ties, Bruno Magli shoes, Corneliani suits, cashmere gloves and other fetishistic items – that served as a kind of shorthand for his psychoses. His obsessive fixations were at first distracting and then after a chapter or so became part of the rhythm of the novel so that I stopped noticing them and began to participate in the flow of the narrative. Personally, however, I think it is a dubious proposition that a 14-year-old boy is going to be confused about whether Bell sponsors the latest edition of any Electronic Arts game . . .

Read more

Hey, Don’t Bogart My Trademark!

Given Bogart's iconic role as Burberry model, it is no surprise to see his face on the timeline along with the likes of Tyrone Power, but you probably didn't expect to see his estate suing Burberry for using his image without the heirs permission.

It is undisputed that Bogart liked his Burberry trenchcoat.

No, wait, I take that back.

He loved his Burberry trenchcoat.

In fact, he loved it so much that he actually wore the same coat in the two films that still serve as templates for how to bring hardboiled detective noir to the silver screen -- Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep (1946).

Read more