What a difference a day makes! Just as the media picked up the story that The ALS Association (ALS) had filed trademark applications for its wildly popular “Ice Bucket Challenge,” the association announced the withdrawal of the applications the following day. Here’s the August 29th announcement on the ALS Facebook page:

“We’ve received several messages regarding the trademark applications we filed. We filed for these trademarks in good faith as a measure to protect the Ice Bucket Challenge from misuse after consulting with the families who initiated the challenge this summer. However, we understand the public’s concern and are withdrawing the trademark applications. We appreciate the generosity and enthusiasm of everyone who has taken the challenge and donated to ALS charities.”

If you don’t know what the Ice Bucket Challenge is you’ve probably been on a very peaceful vacation without any Internet access. The viral phenomenon began in July when participants started sharing videos of buckets full of ice water being poured over their heads and nominating others to take “the challenge.” People are supposed to comply with the challenge within 24 hours, or make a donation to ALS. Scores of people around the world have participated — from Kermit the Frog to Bill Gates.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. This summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge topped all of ALS’ past fundraising efforts. As of August 29, the organization had received more than $100 million in donations (compared to $2.8 million during the same period last year). “We have never seen anything like this in the history of the disease,” said Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of The ALS Association. “We couldn’t be more thrilled with the level of compassion, generosity and sense of humor that people are exhibiting as they take part in this impactful viral initiative.”

When first reported, there was immediate backlash against the trademark applications. Blogger and trademark attorney Erik Pelton told The Washington Post he was against the association’s actions, stating: “I find this to be shameful, because I hope that they would never consider … preventing some other charity from using the phrase.” Pelton’s detailed reasons against the ALS trademarks, including the question of ownership, are outlined on his IPelton@blog.

Beyond the issue of trademarks, the success and wide reach of the Ice Bucket Challenge now has brands and organizations pondering just how to duplicate it. Check out Forbes“The Science Behind The Success Of The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” where author Rick Smith compares the success of the viral campaign to Bob Geldof’s 1985 Live Aid concert: “Ideas that are contagious share common characteristics that make them much more likely to be received, acted upon, and spread. Both Geldof’s and the Ice Bucket Challenge’s mission had the right DNA to propagate themselves. They were both big, selfless and simple.” Marketers take note.

What’s been your favorite Ice Bucket Challenge video so far? This one shows that not everyone gets wet:


Denver Brewery Changes Name Over Threat of Legal Action

by T+B Blog Team on August 28, 2014

Just three months after its launch, the Denver Pearl Brewing Company is going to change its name, following complaints from two other breweries that claimed the company’s name sounded too similar to their own brands, according to The Denver Post.

The company’s owner and general manager, Colby Rankin, commented that before selecting a name for the brewery, he sought advice from lawyers and conducted his own research. But Pabst Brewing Company — manufacturer of beer under the brands Pearl and Pearl Light, distributed in Texas and Oklahoma — informed Rankin that it may start legal action if his brewery continued to operate under its current name.

Meanwhile, a local brewery that Rankin declined to name, had disputed the use of “Denver” in the name of the product, claiming it had the sole right to use the name of the city in craft beer. According to The Denver Post, the local brewery in question was Denver Beer Co., whose co-owner Patrick Crawford told the newspaper that his company had been engaged in talks with Denver Pearl Brewing Company over the name issue. Crawford said that representatives of both companies had discussed the matter — over beers — but there had been no plans for any legal action.

Rankin has already chosen a new name for his brewery, which will be revealed at a special renaming party in September. He said that this time there will be no legal disputes concerning the name, since he’s done more thorough research this time.

There have been quite a few naming disputes in the world of craft beers recently (e.g., Anheuser-Busch v. Natty Greene’s). What’s the name of your favorite craft beer?


KIND and Clif Bar Involved in Trade Dress Infringement Case

August 27, 2014

Tweet Healthy snacks producers KIND LLC and Clif Bar & Company met in court to settle an alleged trade dress infringement regarding the packaging of their respective snack bars, Lexology reports. According to KIND, its unique packaging design incorporates a transparent front panel which allows customers to see the product itself. When KIND noticed Clif’s […]

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NgTLD Update: Getting The Most Out Of The TMCH With URDPs And Blocks

August 26, 2014

Tweet Think of the new gTLD space as one of those board games in which your goal is to control the most territory. Each square is a potential domain name relevant to your trademark. How can you expand your zone of control? ICANN created the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) to help, and many Corsearch clients are […]

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Sesame Street-Branded Produce Will Soon Hit Store Shelves

August 26, 2014

Tweet Can you imagine being able to use the Sesame Street brand and characters in a branding initiative free of charge? That’s exactly the deal between Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) for its Eat Brighter campaign. As GOOD Magazine summed up the agreement: “Sesame is handing over billions of dollars worth of valuable […]

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The Name Game: Now College Football Coaches Seek Trademarks

August 22, 2014

Tweet We’ve grown accustomed to trademarks being registered for celebrity names (e.g., Katy Perry, 50 Cent) and even celebrity offspring (Blue Ivy Carter). And then there are all of those professional athletes who have trademarked their best-known moves (“Kaepernicking” anyone?). And now, as CBSSports.com reports, the trademark trend has moved on to American college football […]

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Food fight! A Trademark Battle Over “Wingmen”

August 20, 2014

Tweet In case you missed it, Oprah Winfrey’s OWN television network debuted a new reality show last week called “Wingmen.” The show follows two friends from Columbia, South Carolina who sell stuffed chicken wings from a food truck. You’re probably asking, “How do you STUFF a chicken wing?” We guess you’re going to have to […]

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It’s Nautica v. Nautigirl in Trademark Case

August 15, 2014

Tweet American clothing company Nautica has been trying to make a Bellingham, Washington company called Nautigirl Brands LLC give up its business name and logo for over a year, The Bellingham Herald reports. In January 2013, Nautigirl owner Christine Palmerton received a cease-and-desist letter from Nautica that she described as “very aggressive.” Nautica’s letter claimed […]

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Total S.A. Wins Trademark Case Against Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc.

August 13, 2014

Tweet French oil and gas company Total S.A. has emerged as the winner of a long drawn-out trademark infringement case against a Philippines company called Pilipinas Total Gas, Inc., Marketing magazine reports. The case was filed by Total S.A. back in 2011 and took three years to resolve. It was tried at the Bureau of […]

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Corsearch New gTLD Update: .Trademark In Chinese, .Hamburg & More

August 12, 2014

Tweet New gTLDs Launched/Announced  Donuts Sunrises Registry operator Donuts has announced details of its next TLDs to launch into Sunrise as follows:  New gTLD Sunrise Opens Sunrise Closes Sunrise Type Early Access Program Day 1 General Availability .HEALTHCARE 12-Aug-14 11-Oct-14 End Date Sunrise (not first-come, first-served) 15-Oct-14 22-Oct-14 .RESTAURANT 02-Sep-14 01-Nov-14 End Date Sunrise (not […]

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