February 25, 2008
What Paris Hilton and The Naked Cowboy Know About Brand Naming
There are two naming related trademark cases out there that have people smiling this morning. The first is a list on CNN of trademarked phrases from the recent past like “19-OOPS” and "Let's Get Ready to Rumble!" that are now off limits to anyone who wants to inject a little modern phraseology into their product naming because they have been trademarked.
Matt Sanchez points out that even the wordsmith Paris Hilton can “lay claim and monetize parts of the English language” for her phrase “that’s hot.”
The Traverse Legal blog thinks that trademarking your unique phrase “illustrates how some forethought can become profit down the road.” I have to agree.
I also think that New York street musician Robert Burck, a.k.a “the Naked Cowboy” might have a good case when he defends his mark against Mars for using his likeness in their advertising, not least because he seems to have actually taken out two registered trademarks on himself.
Dan Slater on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog asks what he needs to make this case, the answer actually being pretty simple. He needs to prove there is a likelihood of confusion between himself and his (trademarked and profitable) brand name and likeness, and the images in the advertisement. As Sunny Hostin points out on the CNN site, the Naked Cowboy may soon be able to afford “some very nice duds.”
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