smar(tm)ark newsletter from Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC

1.3 : May 2010


brand and trademark newsletter from
Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC

In This Issue

Trademark Tip
Trademarks in the News
Firm News

empa logo

Interact with EMP&A

Upcoming Events

  • International Trademark Assoc. Annual Meeting (Boston, MA) – May 22 – 26, 2010

Speaking Engagements:

  • Software Industry Conference (SIC) (Dallas, TX) – July 15-17, 2010
  • National
    Association of Professional Background Screeners – 2010 Mid-Year Meeting
    October 10-12 La
    Jolla, CA
  • Falls Church Arts presentation about copyright and trademark – September 14, 2010
  • Erik
    spoke to the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce about “Leveraging Your Intellectual Property.” Presentation Slides here.

Contact us at:

Erik M. Pelton & Associates,
PO Box 100637
Arlington, VA 22210
f 703-997-5349
Join Our Mailing List


Are you on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube? We are and we hope you will join us. See details in the column to the left to connect with us online. If you are not on these popular social media sites, have you at least opened accounts using your brand names to prevent others from misusing them? This is a relatively new trademark issue as brands expand into social media websites. A great free tool to see if your brand names are available on many such sites is KnowEm.

Trademark Tip: Using Trademarks for Competitive Intelligence

USPTO trademark filings are public records at the USPTO of course. With some skilled searching of USPTO
filings, businesses may be able to find out what type of work their
competitors are doing, or what other industry trends are.

For example, does Apple have any
new brand names in the works?  Apple recently filed to register
IBOOKSTORE for a large range of products and
services, and they also have a
n application seeking protection
for the design of their Magic Mouse

How about well known restaurateur
Todd English, might he have any new restaurants in the works? Todd English Trademarks, LLC has several recent applications, including:

What movies or other new things
might be coming from Disney? Here are some “intent to use” applications it owns:

What’s new in the candy business?

As you can see, quite a bit of
information about possibly forthcoming brands, products, and services
can be unearthed searching trademark records. The trademark
record is a snapshot of the economy. While a registration or filing is
not mandatory, companies that recognize the value and impact of their
brands generally file early to protect new business
opportunities.  This allows the public – or the competition – to get a
little peek into what might be coming.

Trademarks in the News (25 years ago): Remember New Coke?

Brands are controlled and managed by
humans. As a result, brands make mistakes. Remember Pepsi Clear and
Crystal Pepsi? McDonald’s Arch Deluxe? Microsoft Zune? The XFL? The
most notorious brand failure was probably New Coke. 25 years ago this month,
after a fortune spent in research, testing and marketing, Coca-Cola unveiled a “new” formula of soda. “New Coke” was supposed to reverse the beverage giant’s declining market share in the soda wars of the 1980s. The product
was launched with a press conference at Lincoln Center and workers
renovating the Statue of Liberty were given the first cans to take home.

Initially, sales were OK, but a backlash soon emerged. The formula
was not loved despite the testing. The new logo abandoned decades of
script lettering. The media jumped all over the story. Widespread
complaints from Coca-Cola’s core customers noted that they liked Coke
just the way it was.

The Change to Coke Classic

Coca-Cola did not deny the backlash. In fact, they
aggressively moved to un-do their error. Within 77 days it began
pulling New Coke and restoring “Coke Classic®.” They came to
understand that the brand and its connection with consumers was more
important than any formula or test. “There is a twist to this story
which will please every humanist and will probably keep Harvard
professors puzzled for years,” said the company President and COO at a
press conference. “The simple fact is that all the time and money and
skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not
measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original
Coca-Cola felt by so many people.”

And they embraced the decision to revert once it was made.  They
didn’t hide from it.  They gave the first case of Coke Classic to one of
the most outspoken purists who had formed a group to lobby for the old

In the end, sales rose to numbers higher than before the release of
“New Coke,” and the company’s connection with the hearts of its customers
was strengthened based on the way the company responded to their
outcry so quickly.

The “New Coke” disaster turned out to be the best thing for
Coca-Cola. We all make mistakes. How a brand reacts to a mistake is
critical. It could spell the end, or it could lead to better brands,
a strong connection with customers, and more sales.

Lesson: If a branding mistake is made, recovery is
possible. Don’t run and hide from the mistake – correct it and learn
from it.

For more on dealing with brand mistakes, see “How to fix a brand after letting customers down” by
Anthony Pappas in the Washington Business Journal.

Firm News

Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC recently released a new iPhone® application for intellectual property. The
free Apptorney: IP application contains a compilation of web resources in the field of trademark, patent, and copyright. Users of Apptorney: IP can search, file or monitor the
status of a trademark or patent, review relevant statutes, and keep up with
popular intellectual property blogs. Apptorney:IP contains hundreds of organized
links to USPTO pages, patent and trademark search pages, state and international
IP resources, and statutes.

“We believe this sets a new bar for lawyer apps on the
iPhone. Apptorney: IP is provides a wealth of tools used by IP
attorneys every day and will bring IP attorney’s main web tools to a mobile
platform,” said creator Erik Pelton. “Apptorney: IP, a free download, provides
more utility than many paid legal iPhone® applications.”

Apptorney: IP for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad is available as a free download
from Apple’s App Store here.

For more information, see Apptorney trademark application here.

Let us know if you like it, or if you have suggestions to make it even more useful!

Did You Know?

Trademarks are serious business. The USPTO takes in, on average, more than $500,000 in trademark filing fees every single day.

If there are any topics or issues you would like to see covered here, let us know!


This publication has been prepared for the general information of clients and
friends of the firm. It is not intended to provide legal advice with respect
to any specific matter. Under rules applicable to the professional conduct
of attorneys in various jurisdictions, it may be considered advertising

© 2010
Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC.

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