Licensing: March 2010 Archives

It's not easy being a rapper fashionista these days, just ask T.I.
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His year-old clothing line, Akoo, has been in hot water seemingly since day one. First of all, he managed to offend the residents of Newark, NJ with a sexually explicit billboard.

Now, the poor guy is being sued for trademark infringement. It seems that there's a company called Akoo International that delivers video content via the Internet, and they feel the Akoo denim line may somehow mislead and confuse their clients, a sentiment that has already gathered scorn on the Internet.

All this, a week before the rapper is slated to be released from a work house where he is serving the remainder of his incarceration for weapon possession charges.

T.I. uses the Akoo name as an acronym for "A King of Oneself." I cannot fathom how Akoo International sees that this denim brand as creating confusion.

This has not been the first time the rapper has faced trademark law either, the Paper Trail hitmaker was accused of copyright infringement after a suit was filed in January of 2010 claiming that his song "What You Know" used portions of a 2004 song titled "Reverence" by Nathan Filby, also known as Motoe Blizzid."

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The South African low cost airline Kulula.com has gotten itself in trouble with Fifa for its new airline promotion.

"A multimedia marketing campaign that featured advertisements with the headline, the Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What, showing stylized pictures depicting the Cape Town stadium, soccer balls, vuvuzelas and a soccer player has been withdrawn following a letter from Fifa threatening the airline with damages."

This may be the funniest tagline of the year folks, so lets repeat it: "The Unofficial National Carrier of the You-Know-What."

It is really hard to imagine a more blatant, ridiculous attempt to get around trademark law than this one, and yet it worked for Kulula.com, which has made a point of being irreverent in past ads.

Kulula.com, for its part, broke the news to the country via Twitter, "Oh dear, letter from Fifa's lawyers says we broke their trademark of the use of 'South Africa'.

Fifa says the ad campaign breaks the law with "ambush marketing" by, "Seeking to gain a promotional benefit for the Kulula brand by creating an unauthorized association with the 2010 Fifa World Cup."

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Kulula.com was not only told they could not mention the World Cup, but they also could not use the country's flag or even pictures of the country's new stadiums in their ad. They also could not use images of a "vuvuzela," a traditional South African horn that has been used by rowdy fans at soccer games in the country for decades.

Kulula.com has stopped running the ad but the online outrage it has provoked in South Africa toward Fifa, who seem to have trademarked everything South African, will probably earn the little airline plenty of marketing points.

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This is interesting news in naming and branding.

Canon has applied for the .Canon generic Top Level Domain (gTLD), which Antony Van Couvering of Circle ID says breaks the "thin brand line" of near universal opposition to the practice of companies buying these domain names.
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The fact is, it's the "worst kept secret in the industry" that top brands are quietly acquiring their own domains from ICANN to smoke out cybersquatters, throwing costs to the wind.

This makes Canon one of the world's first companies, and certainly the biggest brand, to say "uncle" and buy its own domain name, making the future Canon home page Canon.Canon.

Many bloggers question the wisdom of this move, saying that the intuitive domain name still ends with ".com" But this may change over time, and Canon is not taking chances.

According to DomainNews.com, "The new gTLD system is expected to allow a company name, brand name, geographic region, or service type to be used as a gTLD within website and e-mail addresses."

The installation of the system is set to begin by the end of 2011.

It just seems logical that a large company with a lot of brand equity would want it's own domain, and not have it bought by some kid in a basement or a shrewd competitor.

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Punch Ya Daddy Naming Continues to Live On

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I'm not sure if this is good news or bad news, so I'll just put it out there: "Punch Ya Daddy" seasoning can keep its (ridiculous) name.
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I wrote about the seasoning war simmering between "Slap Ya Mama" and "Punch Ya Daddy" last year. The makers of "Slap Ya Mama" Cajun seasoning, Walker & Sons, slapped "Punch Ya Daddy" with a trademark infringement lawsuit last year.

Now, a federal judge has ordered "Punch Ya Daddy" to change its logo and packaging, which is very similar to that of "Slap Ya Mama" and "damaging the plaintiff's business".

The judge ruled that "Slap Ya Momma" is a term that is "quite common" whereas "Punch Ya Daddy" is not, so as far as the naming goes, there is little likelihood of confusion.
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The term "Punch Ya Daddy" came from when the toddler son of the maker of the stuff, Kirby Falcon, said "I'm going to punch ya, Daddy".

"Slap Ya Mama, on the other hand, is a term down in the Bayou that means you like something so much you want to "Slap Ya Mama With joy"

As for me? I'm slapping my forehead at the idiocy of it all.

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For the past few months, we at Strategic Name Development have been partnering with Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota (HSDM) to create a new, more all-encompassing name and logo for their steps into the future.
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HSDM is a non-profit organization located in New Hope, Minnesota, and for over 20 years, Hearing and Service Dogs of Minnesota has been enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities by partnering them with specially trained dogs. Since the company's inception, they have placed over 300 service dogs to people with disabilities. All at no cost to those in need.

However, the organization was growing far beyond its original scope. They were moving to a newer, much larger facility where they can train three times as many dogs as before. Now, HSDM is placing dogs with people in need across the Midwest, not just in Minnesota.

And the dogs' skills are growing as well. They are being trained to do much more than just help those that are deaf or profoundly hard of hearing. Now the dogs can assist people with mobility challenges, diabetes complicated by hypoglycemia unawareness, seizure disorders, and autism. Most recently they have recommitted to serving the needs of disabled returning veterans.

Clearly, the organization needed a new name, and the 'can-do' attitude of the volunteers, the employees, the sponsors, and of course, the canines was perfect inspiration for just that.

As a result, Can Do Canines™, was born.

Al Peters, the organization's executive director said,

I am confident that the new name, Can Do Canines™, reflects much better the people we serve, our volunteers and entire team that makes these special partnerships possible. Each person has to say, 'I can do it' in order for them to be successful."

We at Strategic Name Development were very happy to provide pro bono services for the project; the partnership could not have been any smoother. We are confident Can Do Canines will enjoy much continued success in the future.

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The domain name Sex.com is up for grabs.

That's right, potentially the most expensive domain name in history is in foreclosure and will be sold at auction, with bids starting at a cool $1 million. It was sold for $14 million in 2006, which was a record then until Insure.Com went for $16 million.
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I have previously written about how the domain name Sex.com has been poorly managed, and even swindled from previous owners. Now, the story seems to have continued its downward spiral.

It will be sold "as is" in the equivalent of a foreclosure sale and should generate a lot of interest, as it can apparently generate $15,000 of revenue a day if managed correct.

Sex.com is one of the top five most profitable domain names on the web today, the others being Fund.com, Porn.com, Poker.com and Business.com.
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The Sex.com domain name has been mismanaged, of course, and is surrounded by clouds of legal skullduggery. It is claimed that one of the previous owners had the name stolen from him, and commenced a ten-year manhunt to find the culprit.

DOM Partners, a New Jersey lender is foreclosing the domain and will auction it on March 18, at the New York law firm, Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf.

Ecoconsultancy has a great post up entitled "Six things you can learn from Sex.com's failure," and number one is: A great domain only goes so far.

I have to agree.

It takes more than a name to make a product or a domain name shine. However, we at Strategic Name Development can say, a great name never hurts.

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I was amused to see that Topeka, Kansas has renamed itself "Google, Kansas," at least for this month.

The mayor is trying to attract the attention of the Internet giant's Fiber for Communities program that would make local Internet connections 100 times faster.

There are no plans to change the name permanently. Topeka is a Native American word meaning 'a good place to grow potatoes' although the area is better known for its soybean crops.

The move is part of a plan to keep Topeka's young people at home but it has attracted some unfair derision across the blogosphere. Techcrunch starts out by saying "We're Not In Kansas Anymore. Well, We Are - Google, Kansas," but notes that the benefit could be "huge" and that the city has changed its name before.

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For a brief time in 1998 the city became "ToPikachu" after the Pokemon character. So the Google name is "100 times more sane". PC World riffs the same thought saying "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Topeka anymore."

Networkworld takes a darker tone, saying that this is yet more example of 'Google groveling,' with the requisite Wizard of Oz quote: ("There's no place like Google; there's no place like Google ..." ).

Oh, calm down. The Think Big Topeka website points out why this name change is a great idea because the upside of having that kind of Internet connection and close association with Google would certainly put "Topeka on the global map".

If a 31 day name change can do all this, I say why not?

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