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  • The Latest in Clothing Brand Trademark Stories: CR7 and ComfyballsWed, 12/17/2014 - 12:03

    Many of you know that Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo is also known as “CR7,” a moniker that represents his initials and his jersey number. Last year, he launched a line of men’s underwear and socks under the brand name CR7.

    Earlier this year, JBS Textile Group filed a U.S. trademark application for Ronaldo’s CR7 clothing brand, but it turns out the mark is already owned by Christopher Renzi who registered it in 2008. Now Renzi has filed a trademark infringement suit and says his Spanish representative hasn’t been able to serve Ronaldo with the papers. Apparently the Real Madrid office refused to accept the delivery since the suit doesn’t have anything to do with the team.

    Have any of you seen Ronaldo lately? Renzi’s attorney said they haven’t been able to track him down, but they say they have succeeded in getting the USPTO to suspend JBS Textile’s trademark application in light of their pending litigation. Renzi’s team has until March 26, 2015 to serve Ronaldo with the lawsuit.

    Coincidentally, there was more trademark news on the subject of men’s underwear brands this past week. In this story, a Norwegian company’s trademark application for the name of its underwear line was denied by the USPTO for being too vulgar.

    Tonic Brands A.S. tried to register the brand name of its underwear called Comfyballs. The USPTO’s refusal cited four different dictionary definitions for the word “balls” and concluded: “In the context of the applicant’s goods, the mark, “COMFYBALLS,” means only one thing — that a man’s testicles, or ‘balls,’ will be comfortable in the applicant’s undergarments. The mark does not create a double entendre or other idiomatic expression. It is a straightforward use of the word ‘balls’ instead of testicles.”

    Despite the USPTO refusal, Tonic Brands can still sell its underwear in the United States, although The Huffington Post reported that they are now considering new brand names like Comfypals. The company’s founder noted that the trademark had already been approved in the European Union “without hassle” since the region has what he called a “softer view on what is deemed to be vulgar.”

  • “Eat More Kale” Wins Trademark ProtectionMon, 12/15/2014 - 19:14

    Chick-fil-A—fast food chain and owner of the trademark for “Eat Mor Chikin”—has lost its effort to stop a Vermont folk artist from registering a trademark for “Eat More Kale.”

    Bo Muller-Moore began using the phrase “Eat More Kale” in 2001 on t-shirts and bumper stickers to promote the nutritional value of kale. The trademark dispute unfolded in 2011 when Muller-Moore received a cease-and-desist letter from Chick-fil-A claiming that his website eatmorekale.com caused confusion in the marketplace and diluted the distinctiveness of the fast-food chain’s intellectual property.

    Muller-Moore said he wouldn’t back down. His attorney at that time said: “At the end of the day, I don’t think anyone will step forward and say they bought an ‘eat more kale’ shirt thinking it was a Chick-fil-A product.”

    Last week the USPTO granted his trademark application for “Eat More Kale.” Celebrating outside the Vermont Statehouse Muller-Moore proclaimed: “I am not ceasing and desisting. I am thriving, thanks to people like you and thanks to Vermont and people from beyond.”

    Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a supporter of Muller-Moore’s efforts, weighed in on the decision: “This is more than just about a victory for ‘eat more kale. It’s a victory for grow local. It’s a victory for Vermont’s small food and farm agricultural renaissance, and it’s a victory for Vermont.”

    And check out this infographic for lots of reasons to eat more kale (over spinach) from Prevention.

  • Tales From the Domain Name WarsThu, 12/11/2014 - 17:43

    Those “perfect” URLs for your brand or business name are getting harder and more expensive to obtain so people are resorting to some pretty inventive ways to acquire them. As Parker Conrad, co-founder and CEO of Zenefits told Inc.: “It’s a Wild West,” when it comes to getting that ideal URL, “there is a supply of just one.”

    Jesse Draper, creator of the talk show “The Valley Girl Show” was so obsessed with obtaining ValleyGirl.com that she located the domain name owner’s house using Google maps and considered paying her a visit. Instead, she flooded her with correspondence and, in the end, Draper’s father purchased the domain for her as a Christmas present (for $4,500).

    To avoid running the price of a domain up by showing obvious interest, some companies hide behind alter egos when they make their approach to purchase a domain name. Inc. cites the example of the founders of DeveloperAuction.com, a tech-talent recruitment site, who were looking for a new name. When they found Hired.com, which was owned by an Australian company, they made their approach through a male friend who posed as a woman with no history of being involved with start-ups. The fictitious female was able to negotiate the price for Hired.com down to nearly half its original asking price.

    In another example, Jessica Scorpio’s company called Getaround had only been able to obtain the seemingly misspelled “Gettaround.com” domain. She wanted to purchase the more spelling-friendly Getaround.com, so she created an online alter ego (with Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, and an email address) that had no connection to her company. On her first approach to purchase Getaround.com, the seller asked for more than $100,000. Scorpio asked someone in her network to make the approach suggesting a “friends and family” discount and she scooped it up for a fraction of the original asking price. It turned out that Scorpio’s network friend had also been using an alias.

    Exactly how high do domain name sales go? Wikipedia has a list of the 20 highest paid domain names, with Insurance.com in the top spot at $35.6 million. To follow the latest domain name sales, you can check out Domain Name Journal’s 2014 Year-to-Date Top 100 Sales Chart.