trademark law

It’s a Win for the Consumer…Really?

by Jimmy Bewley | October 9th, 2013


There was an article posted on Forbes.com back in February that’s just now getting attention in the IP circles.  It focused on a Wisconsin case dealing with keyword advertising where one firm bought another firm’s name in their PPC program that ended in a lawsuit.  Sound familiar?  All too familiar I’m afraid, but there was a twist.  The plaintiff in this case did not sue under trademark law or the new theory of unjust enrichment; instead they used a Wisconsin statute concerning “publicity rights”.  Publicity rights law protects individuals (names, images, etc.) from being used for commercial purposes with authorization.  The plaintiff’s firm name was the last names of the three partners.  As we already know, you can develop trademark rights in your last name and use those laws successfully to fend off infringers under certain criteria.  Using publicity rights was odd strategy to say the least, and as you might expect, the plaintiff ended up on the losing side of the argument.  If the action had been pursued under trademark law, I believe the outcome would have been totally different. (more…)

Google says: “We take trademarks seriously”

by Jimmy Bewley | September 5th, 2013

In our ongoing attempts to get a straight answer from Google regarding their monitoring of trademarks being used without authorization, our interactive team came across a procedure for filing complaints that also serves as a registration portal for trademarks.  Simply put, by registering our trademarks with Google they too will assume some responsibility for monitoring for unauthorized trademark use in their ad copy.  (more…)

Is Using Another Firm’s Brand Unjust?

by Jimmy Bewley | April 30th, 2013

At cj Conference 2012, we discussed the practice of buying a competitor’s firm name through a paid search program like Google’s AdWords, Yahoo, MSN/Bing, etc… Is this a smart and/or fair marketing tactic?  (more…)

No Fee Guarantee Goes International

by Jimmy Bewley | April 2nd, 2013

The NO FEE GUARANTEE is not just synonymous with U.S. law firms anymore!  It has officially crossed the Canadian border. Now, our good neighbors to the north can enjoy all the benefits and advantages of the NO FEE GUARANTEE when they need it most.     (more…)

Another NFG Milestone

by Jimmy Bewley | March 13th, 2013

Wow!  It’s hard to believe we’ve been defending the “No Fee Guarantee” (NFG) trademark against infringers for three years now.  We sent our first cease & desist on February 12, 2010. Recently, we received confirmation from the 151st firm we had identified as an infringer. They conceded to our IP ownership and fully recognized our federal registration. 151 is a great milestone, but we’re not done yet… (more…)

How the “No Fee Guarantee” Got Its Start…

by Jimmy Bewley | February 26th, 2013

The “No Fee Guarantee” (NFG) may be the most famous, or infamous, trademark in the legal advertising world. And no doubt your interpretation depends on whether you’re an authorized licensee…or not. For those not familiar with the NFG’s history, here’s a quick timeline on how we got to where we are today. (more…)

Trademark Latest

by Jimmy Bewley | November 15th, 2012

About 6 years ago we got into the trademark business.  We did so to secure and protect what we consider  valuable branding elements.

One of the first trademarks we received was “Get a Lawyer.  Get it Done” which was, and still is, being used by Hughes & Coleman going on 10 years now.  (more…)

What’s in a name? (Conclusion)

by Jimmy Bewley | May 24th, 2012

Google’s Responsibility

You may be asking, “What about Google’s liability in all this?” For the most part, Google has managed to escape. But, how? Remember the Lanham Act and the eight factors used to determine the degree of confusion? In Jurin v. Google Inc., 09-cv-03065 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 9, 2010), Jurin based its argument on Google being a “direct competitor” and referred directly to the Lanham Act factors; however, this was a complete stretch. Jurin was in the building materials supply business, and the court quickly sided with Google and brought the matter to an end. In Rosetta Stone Ltd. V. Google Inc., 730 F. Supp. 2d 531 (E.D. Va. 2010), the plaintiff claimed that Google auctioned its trademarks to third party advertisers used in sponsored links, which ultimately constitutes infringement. The court thought otherwise and said no “reasonable juror” would come to the conclusion that Google

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What’s in a name? (Part 3)

by Jimmy Bewley | March 10th, 2012

Trademarks and Google AdWords

Now that we have a little background on trademark law, how does this context fit with the Binder & Binder story, and how does it help us answer the question, “What’s in a name?” It starts with keyword advertising, specifically Google’s AdWords program. As many of you are well aware, Google offers the opportunity for “sponsored links” on a search results page. Behind the scenes, there is a whole other world of keyword activity pushing searchers to those paid links once a search is initiated. Advertisers bid on and purchase keywords they believe will drive traffic, through searches, to their website(s). It’s a common and sound advertising strategy in which we, cj, also participate. It’s also big business for Google—to the tune of about $20 billion per year.

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What’s in a name? (Part 2)

by Jimmy Bewley | February 10th, 2012

The “No Fee Guarantee®”

For the most part, attaining a trademark registration can be a fairly uncomplicated process. It really depends on the attributes of the mark and the relationship to its alleged owner. Many of you may remember cj’s “No Fee Guarantee®” battle. As evidenced by this long, arduous, and expensive fight, these battles can be difficult.

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