Monday, March 24, 2014

Michael Jordan, Jewel Food Stores, Wheaties, the Right of Publicity and the Lanham Act...

Our longest title to date!  We shall endeavor, however, to simplify the remarks made here in connection therewith.  We begin with a recent 7th Circuit, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, decision in Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores Inc., 2014 WL 6270603 (7th Cir. 2014).

Michael Jordan (MJ). Yes, that Michael Jordan... of NBA fame, of Nike footwear, etc.  Jewel Food Stores (Jewel) got into trouble with MJ when they placed a paid one-page ad in a special Sports Illustrated commemorative issue celebrating MJ's induction into the NBA Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately, for Jewel they spent too much time on associating themselves and their brand, logo and slogan with MJ's name in this ad and the court held that this was the type of commercial speech not protected by the First Amendment.  (Per the Court, commercial speech is "speech that proposes a commercial transaction.")  The court determined that Jewel's ad was an example of "image" advertising, which the court noted is "ubiquitous in all media", that is intended to promote its own brand loyalty through the prominent use of its own brand, logo and trademarks in connection with MJ's world famous celebrity status and the goodwill attached to his name, likeness, etc. (Per the Court, "Jordan is a sports icon whose name and image are deeply embedded in the pop culture and easily recognized around the globe.")

Trivia Flashback... to the Fall of 1990 when I purchased a box of WHEATIES® with MJ on the box (see above) at a Jewel Food Store in downtown Chicago. True story.  No problem here. Wheaties got approval for this use and no doubt this was a time when MJ had not yet won his first NBA Title and Ring... though he would that very season...  and perhaps his people weren't as aggressive in protecting the commercial value of his name and likeness. I've kept the box which is in good shape despite it resting on a refrigerator for the past 10 plus years.

x-ref:  Per Wikipedia...

"Michael Jordan holds the record for most depictions on a Wheaties box, a total of 18 times, followed by Tiger Woods at 14 times."


For more information about Trademarks, Copyrights and Licensing, we invite you to visit our website at:

Kind regards,

William E. Maguire
Santa Monica, California

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Out and about in Santa Monica...

Dateline: Tuesday Afternoon & Evening, March 11, 2014

Where:  Santa Monica, California

Afternoon before and after lunch...

6th St. & Broadway
5th St. & Broadway
Third St. Promenade
Santa Monica Blvd at Fourth St....
Santa Monica Blvd. at Fifth St...

Early evening...

Wilshire Blvd... rush hour

Wilshire Blvd. between 5th and 6th St.
5th St. just south of Wilshire Blvd... a crew of bike riders heading home after school...
The Pacific Ocean from the "One Wilshire Bldg. at Ocean Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.
PERRY'S on the beach:  PLAY - SUN - PARTY...

 So did you happen to notice any trademarks or service marks in these photos?...  The REI® trademark and service mark appears in one of the afternoon photos.  A skateboarder on his skateboard and a classic 50's era Chevrolet appears in the evening photos, along with a crew of BMX bicycle riders and a moped, and some umbrellas and beach chairs on the beach in another photo.

For more information about trademarks, please visit our website at:

Respectfully submitted,

William E. Maguire
Santa Monica, Calif.

(All Photos By & Copyright William E. Maguire 2014.)

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Summer in March...

The Clock Tower Bldg. just off the Third St. Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif.
Southern California is experiencing a heat wave with temps in Santa Monica in the upper 70's and even 80's the past three days.  It was easily in the 80's today as it was yesterday on the sand.  We took a walk after lunch around 2 pm and headed on over to the bluffs at the end of Route 66 (aka, Santa Monica Blvd.) and had a look at the beach. Not a cloud in the sky and barely a stitch of wind.  We took some photos so you can enjoy the scenery too...

be sure to wear sunscreen...

Even the lifeguards are busy with this guard heading out with his paddleboard to escort two long distance swimmers back to shore...
The Georgian Hotel looking stunning under blue skies...
How about those red rims!?... 
Custom chopper on Santa Monica Blvd...
Even the plants are happy about the weather... just check out the smile on this flower!?...

For the trademark inclined and oriented, this walk of ours encountered more than a handful of trademarks from cars to bikes to hats to board shorts to paddleboards to motorcycles, to a fancy beach close hotel, as well as a popular nationwide branded kids clothing store (GAP KIDS).  Each of these types of items can be registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, subject to the availability of the trademark chosen by the purveyor of said goods and/or services.

For more information about trademarks, we invite you to visit our website at: 

Respectfully submitted,

William E. Maguire
Santa Monica, California

(All photos by & © William Maguire 2014.)

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