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March 24, 2007

Trademark Law: the Crazy Arm of Brand Naming

Slate logoI almost missed magazine’s excellent article on "zombie" brand names which was recently mentioned on The Trademark Blog.

It looks at the return from the dead of many names we all know and love and many of which I previously covered, including the , , and Life magazine.

zombieThere is a whole cadre of entrepreneurs that pick up defunct trademarked names and revitalize them with more or less success. Recent examples include Nuprin, and .

As you may recall, I also blogged about the possible return of the and .

Slate had so many responses to its March 16 article that they posted a part II on March 20, listing yet more Zombie brand names, including , the and the .

Lest we also forget that has been given a new lease on life by Wal-Mart. Food brands that have been repeatedly resurrected are the .

These resurrections bring us into the often very amusing world of trademark protection, the specialty over at . Trademark law is simply a haven for somebody writing a product naming blog and indeed something that every naming consultant should keep up on. Recent problems have leaned towards the ridiculous, however. The least offensive is a tussle two weeks ago between Las Vegas and Midway Games over the slogan "Only Vegas," which Midway infringed on with its "Only in Vegas" slogan.

That was preceded in February by a fight between the and a woman who calls herself and promotes breast feeding. Seems that the National Pork Board was not happy with her t-shirt that reads "the other white milk."

On Friday, Wal-Mart failed in its attempt to trademark "EDLP," the acronym for "Everyday Low Prices." That’s right, they wanted to trademark the acronym.

I already covered the NFL’s attempts to trademark the "Super Bowl" name, but all of these pale in comparison with the news that Anna Nicole Smith’s former partner Larry Birkhead has actually trademarked the phrase from his eulogy to the deceased star "Goodnight, My Sweet Anna Baby" for "use in movies, books, TV shows, internet shows and stageplays."

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Posted by William Lozito at March 24, 2007 11:29 AM
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