Archive for October, 2010

What makes a good trademark?

Posted by admin on: October 27th, 2010

Great trademarks are all around us. What makes them great?

Here are some of the attributes of an excellent brand name and trademark:

  • unique in the industry;
  • creative;
  • suggestive of the services or products sold;
  • resonates with customers;
  • easy to remember, easy to find; and
  • thought provoking

Below are photos, taken on my travels,  of several trademarks that have the potential to be great (of course, I cannot know how unique each one of these are):


Great trademarks can be a real boost to marketing. And they can become strong and well-protected.

Can you think of any other attributes of a great trademark?

Tip: If you don’t have a great brand name, what are you waiting for?!

(C) 2010 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

Keeping Busy

Posted by admin on: October 25th, 2010

The last few months have been even busier than usual here at Erik M Pelton &Associates. Thanks to exciting clients and new speaking opportunities, there has been little time to stop and reflect on all the activity. Here is a brief re-cap:

  • We have represented multiple clients this year in appeals of trademark application refusals issued by the USPTO. Here are blog reports discussing two different appeals we won on behalf of clients: WISH YOU WERE HERE and BOVIS FOODS.
  • I have spoken recently at several conferences and on a panel discussing social medial legal issues. You can see video of the panel’s  discussion here and videos featuring some of my other presentations at
  • In 2010, our clients have already received more than 140 U.S. trademark registrations and filed more than 190 applications for U.S. trademark registration with the USPTO.
  • I was quoted in several publications recently, including this article from AOL Small Business: What Are the Best and Worst Company Logos?
  • This week, staff from our firm is be attending the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. These conferences are great for keeping up with developing areas of the law and even for meeting counsel we have previously squared off against! We have attended several events at the
    USPTO already this year. These are great opportunities to learn about changes to the agency’s practices and procedures and to continue building relationships with the USPTO staff.
  • Mentoring law students: Four law school students, including one from New Hampshire, have interned in our office this year. These internships provide us an opportunity to teach and learn, and to share our experiences in the field of trademarks and managing a small law office with students who are preparing to embark on their careers.
  • While traveling this year I had the opportunity to visit with clients in Los Angeles, New York, and Boston.

We are very thankful for great clients who provide us with these amazing opportunities!

Mark, Erik & Teresa

Mark, Erik & Teresa

Report from Trademark Expo @ USPTO

Posted by admin on: October 22nd, 2010

Last week I was able to attend the Trademark Expo held by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office at their headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The Expo is a free event with information about trademarks and several exhibits to educate the public about trademarks. The USPTO’s website describes it as: Exhibitors, trademark characters, themed displays, and educational seminars illustrate the vital role trademarks play in the global economy. Adults and kids learn about… Anti-counterfeiting efforts, Shape, sound and color trademarks, 100-year-old registered trademarks, and The evolution and history of trademarks.

It was my first trip the annual Expo and I found it to be a great event. Many families and kids were mingling in the exhibit hall and learning about the exhibitors. The USPTO’s displays contained facts and tidbits about some interesting or well known trademarks. I learned that the shape of the Empire State Building is a registered trademark, as is the yellow border on National Geographic magazine covers.

Other highlights included:

  • Seeing and hearing a NASCAR car up close. It is an understatement to say it is very loud! The NASCAR car was tattooed with at least 10 brands names (see slideshow)
  • Taking a picture with the USPTO trademark mascot!
  • Traveler’s Insurance promoting their red umbrella logo trademark handed out red rubber bracelets in the shape of its logo

Here are some slides from my field trip:



Best Logos: 2010 MLB Playoff Edition

Posted by ipelton on: October 20th, 2010

Four teams remain in the battle to crown a winner of the World Series (a registered trademark, see here). In the American League, the Yankees and Rangers are playing each other; in the National League, last year’s champs the Phillies are facing the Giants.

Of these four, who has the best logo and brand?

  • Philadelphia Phillies:
    • – great images with the liberty bell and fun, unique font. The theme integrates the history of Philadelphia its role in America’s independence.
  • San Francisco Giants:
    • – The interlocking S and F are classic and has been copies by many others
  • New York Yankees:
    • – timeless logos. The interlocking NY may be one of the most well-known logos around the worlds. The script, bat and top hat in the other logo are also classic.
  • Texas Rangers:
    • – fairly boring and simple. Emphasizes the “T” and I suppose “Texas.”

Results: It is very hard to choose between Giants, Yankees and Phillies. They are all classic and have stood the test of time for many years. As a Red Sox fan, I can’t pick the Yankees.  I’ll go with the Phillies by the slightest of margins over Giants and Yanks. The Phillies logo and brand is fun, is unique, and represents the city of Philadelphia well.

“New” GAP Logo: Worst Marketing Failure Since New Coke?

Posted by ipelton on: October 18th, 2010

Social media has been growing rapidly in its size and scope and impact for several years.  But just recently it seems to have reached a tipping point: businesses must address and deal with social media or else.  Maybe the timing has to do with the movie “The Social Network” which is exposing social media to a new audience. Maybe it is the sheer number of users. Maybe it is related to the fall of the traditional newspaper – due in part to the rise of social media – and the fact that more and more news stories are generated by, first reported on, and most discussed via social media networks.

For example, earlier this month, the GAP unveiled a new logo design after having the same logo for more than 20 years:


image from Huffington Post


A website was launched within hours that poked fun and allowed visitor to make their owner versions.  It was called “Crap Yourself Logo” and it already has thousands of “likes” on Facebook.  Other groups formed on Facebook to allow users to express their dislike of the logo, and they gained thousands of followers within a day or two.  Within a week, Gap announced that it would scrap the new logo. Gap did not communicate well with fans about the release of the new logo and its background.

From a branding perspective, I’m not sure why Gap would want a new logo in the first place. Their history, and their loyalty from consumers, is powerful (as the logo fiasco demonstrates). If you are going to re-brand and try to communicate a new message to consumers, you must be careful not to alienate the customers you have.

On the positive side, Gap did the right thing by reacting quickly to revert to the old logo.  See their press release here. [Some cynics claim the whole thing could have been planned – look at all the publicity Gap got from it!]

Lesson: The GAP Logo story shows the power of social media.  Ignore it as a business owner, and the next lesson may be yours. If you do not have a social media strategy, your competition is gaining on you daily. If you don’t get a grip on the power of social media – and the legal issues it creates – it may get a grip on you.

Bonus: I was recently interviewed by Ira Wolfe discussing issues related to the legal and intellectual property risks with Social Media. The audio is here, and here is a summary of the interview: Is your company’s intellectual property is protected? How does social media put your business at risk? Who owns the LinkedIn connections of a recruiter or salesperson when they leave your company? Attorney Erik Pelton, founder of Erik M. Pelton & Associates, discusses steps to identify I.P. and notify others about it, and why intellectual property is one the hand easier than ever to create, and on the other hand easier than ever to steal. The discussion included some steps employers can take to create policies that will help ensure that the company’s intellectual property is accounted for and protected.