A Cronut (I mean, a pastry creation, sorry). Source: Niko Triantafillou
It was a stroke of culinary genius (some might say) to combine doughnuts and croissants together into one pastry. I mean think about it: the sweet, doughy delicacy of a donut combined with the light, airy, flaky goodness of a croissant. It was a match made in heaven. The brand used for the combination? Why, none other than a combination of the best portions of the words doughnut and croissant. Take a "cro" from here, mix with a little "nut" from there, and voila: Cronut! The creation (the product of pastry chef Dominique Ansel) was so popular that people would line up for blocks waiting to get there "Cronut" from a little cubby-hole in New York City (don't all wonderful things have humble beginnings after all?)

Now I admit, slicing and dicing of words and phrases and creating concoctions may not yield as delicious of a result as doing the same thing in the kitchen with diverse ingredients. I mean, in trademark law there is this overarching concern with creating trademarks in descriptive words and phrases. A word used as a mark cannot describe a feature or aspect of the product or service that the mark will be used with. This may be why the mastermind of this culinary creation faced such a backlash when he attempted to register the trademark "Cronut". Criticism ranged from the charge that Dominique Ansel was unfairly depriving others of the opportunity to use such a convenient word to a claim that Ansel was simply trying to take credit for inventing a particular pastry.

The famous argument between Coke and Pepsi as to which beverage is more appealing to consumers has raged on for at least 100 years. The good-natured competition between both outfits as to whose bubbly, caffeinated libation is the supremo has touched pretty much every point of product feature imaginable. The latest is the battle over bottle shapes.

Coca-Cola’s bell-shaped contoured bottle is pretty well recognized by many consumers in the US and, arguably, internationally. It is the subject of many trademark registrations in the US and other countries. “Trademarks on product packages or shapes?” you might ask? Yes, actually; registration of a package design is an invaluable tool that makers of consumer goods can (and should) use as part of their trademark protection strategy.

New Zealand is a country where Coca-Cola heavily markets (and has also released some pretty unique flavors like Raspberry Coke). Pepsi also sells many soft drinks in New Zealand through a subsidiary, Frucor Beverages. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Pepsi and Coke are just as ruthless in their competitive efforts in NZ as they are in the US. Pepsi’s choice to adopt a contoured bottle design that is similar to Coke’s ever popular bell-shaped bottle is a pretty good indication of the level of competition. Okay, maybe similar was too strong of a word to use. After all, the court only found one real commonality between Coke’s bell bottle and Pepsi’s design and Pepsi did place its logos on the side of the bottle, perhaps to dispel any notion that it was obviously copying Coke’s bottle design.