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July – it’s the zenith of summer, so we wanted to provide you with a lightweight summer read about intellectual property. A beach read, so to speak. No heavy mental lifting here. Some brevity and perhaps some levity.

As consumers, we are exposed to thousands of brands every day, via internet ads, highway billboards, radio and TV ads, print ads, store signage, chartable event sponsor banners, and even on the wearing apparel of those around us. In our consumeristic society, brand promotion is everywhere, all the time. In fact, it’s unusual to see someone wearing a tee shirt that isn’t promoting something.


PPC for Legal

Faced with this endless barrage of trademarks, the process of trademark selection becomes all the more critical for a business. You want your brand to be memorable so it stands out from the competition. You want it to be unique, unusual, maybe even shocking, or … maybe even “funny.” Being clever on a commercial level, however, can be tricky. What one person finds comical; another may find offensive. One key factor to keep in mind: Who is the target consumer audience for these goods or services?

We’re dads, so we thought maybe a wee bit of Dad Joke humor would be in order here – and lucky for us, some trademarks provide the perfect vehicle for that. Wikipedia defines a Dad Joke as “a short joke, typically a pun, presented as a one-liner or a question and answer, but not as a narrative.” Here for your reading enjoyment are what we consider to be some pretty punny trademarks:

  • WOK THIS WAY, for restaurant services
  • PADDY O’ FURNITURE, for furniture store services
  • BIN THERE DUMP THAT, for garbage collection services
  • TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD, for restaurant services
  • BREWED AWAKENINGS, for coffee shop services
  • MERCHANT OF TENNIS, for tennis instruction services
  • SPEX IN THE CITY, for eyewear services
  • PAW & ORDER, for dog training services

And since it is summer, that means (at least in Minnesota) that we are all outside and again gathering in large groups. There are art and neighborhood festivals, music festivals, marathons, kids’ softball, baseball and soccer games in the parks, picnics, ethnic festivals – all sorts of fun gatherings of humanity in all shapes and sizes. Of course, when that happens there are essential human necessities that must be addressed. At some point in time, somewhere, someone will need “to go,” and a porta potty might then be the only option.  None of us really want to enter and use those plastic necessary rooms on a hot summer day or night, but sometimes it’s the most expeditious toilet available for the job at hand.


Dram Shop Experts

In 1969, George W. Harding (co-founder of PortaJohn Corporation) was awarded the first patent directed to a polyethylene “portable toilet cabana” (cabana – sounds tropical, eh?). Why the pivot here from punny trademarks to porta potties? Because the portable toilet industry alone seems to have cornered the market on trademarks-as-puns (combining them with potty humor as well). This is just tailor made for Dad Jokes, like: “What is a bathroom fairy called? Stinkerbell.”

Here is an inexhaustive list of brands for the rental or servicing of portable toilets (for best reading comprehension, say them out loud):


and some trademarks for the actual product of a portable toilet (for those of you that need to go out and buy one):

  • P-POD
  • MR. JOHN

This last one, if not all the others, just seems to have a Dad Joke lurking in it somewhere.


Personal Injury Summit

Our summer challenge to you, while enjoying your idle time (wherever that may be), is to send us your favorite Dad Jokes. If we get enough entries, we may even decide to hold a contest – in which case the winner (by juried selection) will be awarded a fabulous prize (TBD).

Z. Peter Sawicki and James L. Young

Mr. Sawicki and Mr. James L. Young are shareholders at Westman, Champlin & Koehler. Pete and Jim both have over 30 years of experience obtaining, licensing, evaluating and enforcing patents. Each has also developed an extensive practice regarding the clearance, registration, licensing and enforcement of trademarks. They work closely with clients to understand their values and business plans and provide customized and effective strategies for intellectual property asset procurement, growth, management and protection. To contact Z. Peter Sawicki, call (612) 330-0581 or call James L. Young at (612) 330-0495. Please email them directly at either [email protected] or [email protected].

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