Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Ahhhhhhhhhh, finally summertime is here.

Posted by David Lafkas on Jun 7, 2016, 10:00:00 AM

Time to kickback and have a summertime beer … err, or maybe not.  Turns out that SUMMERTIME was registered for beer and ale back in 1998.

How about a SUMMERTIME Coffee or not.

SUMMERTIME BLEND was registered for coffee back in 1995. summertimetrademark.jpg

Well, if I can’t enjoy some SUMMERTIME beer or coffee, maybe I will relax and put on my summertime sunscreen to protect myself in the afternoon sun.

Do’h!  Apparently SUMMERTIME was also trademarked back in 2007, so I guess I can’t call it that.

Mmmmmm, this is frustrating. 

Finding the right name for a product or service is hard for most marketing.  Finding a name that explains your product and is appealing to potential customers is stressful enough.  However, add on the complexity of also being able to protect the name or even just get clearance that you are not infringing another’s product name can drive a leader crazy.

All too often I have worked with clients that came to me to file for trademarks, and they only brought a single name to me.  They were all in.  They had batted different names around with co-workers, friends, and family and found the PERFECT name … only to have me be the bad guy who has to say “no” because someone else has already federally registered the same name in a similar product. 

They then have to start back at the beginning because they didn’t have a fall-back and had already wed themselves to the one name they had.

When I work with clients in protecting names, it is no exaggeration that we may do a trademark search on 30-40 different names before we can even narrow it down one that we are able to potentially protect.

If you are working with a marketing department or outside marketer, suggest that they collaborate with a trademark attorney who can quickly do searching on potential names as they are being developed.

And it is not a linear process, nor is it silo of responsibilities.  As the list of names are being developed, best practice is to share those names, in batches, to a trademark attorney who can work through that batch of names and make suggestions back to marketing.

By collaborating, you will find the speed will increase, the risk will go down, and you are more likely to have a name that you can use and protect, whether it is summertime, autumn, winter, or springtime.

OK, well, if I can’t have a SUMMERTIME beer without getting a cease and desist letter, maybe I should settle for a summertime blend of coffee (since it really isn’t 5:00 here yet).

Topics: innovation, trademarks

David Lafkas

Written by David Lafkas

David is Eureka! Ranch’s legal eagle, or more traditionally our patent and trademark authority, not only serving as in-house counsel at Eureka! Ranch, but also evangelizing on the importance of patents in today’s world of innovation to stay ahead of your competition. As an Innovation Engineering Black Belt, David has helped numerous companies develop patentable new products and services. Most recently, he’s supported High Liner Foods in Canada and the US on their comprehensive journey to achieve a culture of innovation as they not only create breakthrough seafood ideas, but also broadly educate employees and implement systems driven innovation across the corporation. David received a biomedical engineering degree from the Rose Hulman Institute of Technology and his juris doctorate from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, the 4th oldest law school in the country. He lives in Cincinnati with his rescue dog, Chauncey.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


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