Dearest Readers,

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.

COKE_ImageAgentProxy

Owner: Coca-Cola Co.

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:

  1. Contribute reliable information,
  2. Stay relevant,
  3. Entertain readers about the wily adventures of trademarks,
  4. Humbly accept underwriting in any form, including brand-placement (we’ll talk terms later),
  5. 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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