Although most people will recognize the ubiquitous PIZZA! PIZZA! slogan mark owned by the pizza chain Little Caesar’s, the company’s collection of repeated term marks does not rise to the level of a “family of marks” according to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In a precedential decision, the Board held that to grant this status to the slogan marks at issue would give Little Caesar’s excessively broad rights not justified by the facts. In re LC Trademarks, Inc. (TTAB December 29, 2016). However, the Board did clarify that proof of the existence of a “family of marks” can be a factor used to prove that otherwise descriptive marks have acquired distinctiveness. Continue Reading Pizza! Pizza!: Little Caesar’s Repeated Term Slogans Are Not a “Family of Marks”

Written by: Susan Neuberger Weller

The Wall Street Journal ran a print article on July 18, 2013 titled “What’s Behind Those Quirky Startup Names?” in which the author Lindsey Gellman discussed the derivation behind unique startup names such as Mibblio, Kaggle, Shodogg, and Zaarly. One of the reasons for these types of names and spellings, she says, is the need for short, recognizable .com web addresses in a space where more mainstream domain names are no longer available. She also quite correctly notes that choosing a new company name “that’s a made-up word also helps entrepreneurs steer clear of trademark entanglements.” This is not only true when choosing a new company name, but is also true when choosing new trademarks and service marks. Why is that?

Continue Reading The (Best) Method to the Madness Behind Choosing a Company Name or Mark