My husband and I strive to be as environmentally friendly as we can. From solar panels on our house to an electir car, to purchasing food from local farms, to an everyday practice of (questionably useful) recycling, to mixing our Honest Company® home cleaning products, we do the best we can. As someone who has been on a health and wellness adventure using functional medicine and nutrition to improve my health, I found that cooking a 100% whole food diet 100% at home produced a lot of vegetable waste from the skins, seeds, stalks, and shells of whole foods. After reading an article on the best things that can be done to reduce our carbon footprint, I found that we were missing something that could potentially make a much bigger difference than many of the things we were already doing – composting. Since we both grew up in a rural area and on farms, we were both familiar with composting on a large scale, but never really thought about how to compost on a smaller suburban scale.
I immediately purchased an outdoor compost barrel from Amazon® and got to work on finding a kitchen counter compost container. Now if you know me, aesthetics are everything. I put far too much time into the remodeling and design of my new kitchen to place just any compost container on the counter. After scrolling through endless round, shiny, silver compost containers, I stumbled upon one that perfectly matched my monochromatic kitchen design with wood features. Soon after the beautiful compost container caught my eye, its brand name caught my attention – Bamboozle®.
I quickly assumed the wooden handle of the container was bamboo, but upon a little reading learned that not only was the handle bamboo, but the body of the container itself was made of bamboo. The description on Amazon® states that it is “made of biodegradable, dishwasher safe, and durable bamboo fiber.” I immediately purchased the composter container and like I often do, I researched its trademark.
Method Sourcing Corp., a North Carolina based corporation applied for the trademark in the summer of 2015 and received the registration a year later. The application was for class 021, which is generally known as the kitchen goods class. The application listed the following goods: “beverageware; drinking cups; bowls; serving platters; serving trays; plates; kitchenware, namely, colanders, mixing bowls, plates.” After looking into the case history, the trademark went straight to registration without any problems. Bamboozle has a great trademark attorney too. In January of this year, a Section 15 Declaration of Incontestability was successfully filed making the trademark registration even stronger.
So why did this trademark application avoid office actions and extra challenges? While there are several reasons, such as the absence of similar trademarks, my focus is on the descriptiveness of the trademark. In terms of trademark law, the strength of a trademark is rated on a scale of Fanciful/Arbitrary to Generic. For a full analysis and explanation of this rating, check out our blog post, How to Create a Strong Trademark.
When a trademark is highly descriptive, it can be difficult to obtain trademark protections. For example, if instead of “Bamboozle®” they had chosen “Bamboo Composter”, the application process would not have been so smooth. The application would have been refused on the grounds that the mark was merely descriptive of the goods. However, in this case, Bamboozle® is merely suggestive of a quality of the good. The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a suggestive trademark as “words that suggest some quality of the goods or services, but don’t state that quality of the goods or services outright. Consider Coppertone® for sun-tanning products, The trademark gives the impression that using Coppertone® suntan oil will make your skin shimmer like copper.”
Much like Coppertone®, Bamboozle® suggests the product is made out of bamboo without stating it outright. Additionally, the definition of the word “bamboozle” has nothing to do with composting or kitchen products. Merriam-Webster® defines bamboozle as, “to deceive by underhanded methods; to confuse, frustrate, or throw off thoroughly or completely.” Bamboozle functions perfectly as an arbitrary mark, as such deception has nothing to do with your compost. Or does it? Have you asked your avocado shell if it felt deceived or confused by the composting process?
So if you’re interested in stepping up your environmental game but want to be stylish while doing it, get your Bamboozle®. I of course have a black Bamboozle® to match my kitchen aesthetic and to balance the white countertops and cabinets, but it also comes in natural, navy, saffron yellow, and terracotta. I purchased mine from the Amazon Bamboozle Store but you can also order directly from the Bamboozle® website. While you’re at it, you might want to join me in ordering Bamboozle’s other kitchenware. If you have little ones, you won’t find cuter, environmentally friendly, animal-shaped dinnerware. Don’t be bamboozled into thinking composting can’t be cute.
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Monica Ugliuzza, Esq.
Monica is an attorney with a practice dedicated exclusively to trademark law. Monica is the founder and owner of Creative Law Studio, a law firm with creative minds to best serve creative clientele.
Disclaimer: This blog/website is intended to be published for educational and entertainment purposes and to give readers a general idea of the law of trademark. This blog/website is not intended to give any specific legal advice or to target a specific person. Readership of this blog cannot create an attorney-client relationship between you and the publisher. This blog should never be used to substitute the seeking out of personal, legal advice. The discussion of an existing or potential trademark shall not be taken as an endorsement by creative law studio, nor shall the same be taken as an endorsement of creative law studio. The discussion of specific trademarks does not mean that creative law studio is a record attorney for such trademarks.