Clothing

M-22 & M-119 Road Sign Trademark Denied by Michigan

Note: We have received some commentary from the attorney for M-22 which we have posted below!

M-22 Euphoria by Chris Cerk
M-22 Euphoria by Chris Cerk

The Detroit Free Press reports that M-22 and M-119 cannot be trademarked by private companies. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has ruled that the highway sign logos are public property and as such cannot be “commandeered” for private use.

“Because the State of Michigan, the creator of the design, placed the Michigan highway route marker design in the public domain, no entity can lawfully obtain intellectual property protection of the design under trademark or copyright law,” Schuette concluded.

“…The fact that they have appropriated the design from the public domain and affixed it to merchandise does not create a legitimate basis for trademark protection.”

That’s probably not the best news at M-22, the clothing business that has made the sign an iconic symbol of active life in northwest lower Michigan, but it doesn’t look like the ruling precludes them selling clothing and other products with the road sign on it.

Speaking of M-22, they  are holding their annual M-22 Challenge this weekend at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The annual bike/run/kayak triathalon is a pretty cool spectator event if you’re in the area!

Here’s M-22 and M-119 (aka the Tunnel of Trees) on Wikipedia.

Commentary from Enrico Schaefer, Founding Partner at Traverse Legal, PLC

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette must know that trademarks, copyrights and other IP are matters of federal law. The State has no say in the matter. His opinion has no force under law at all. More importantly, his “opinion” is severely misguided and uninformed. Taken to its conclusion, no artist or photographer can have intellectual property rights in their artwork or photographs of state parks, buildings, landscapes, roads, etc. Public universities, funded with public dollars, could not hold IP either in their logos, trademarks or patents. Neither could the state of Michigan protect, for instance, its Pure Michigan campaign which has tens of millions of dollars invested in its campaign. It is also important to note that trademarking these road signs has literally no impact on the public domain rights. Assuming that these companies who have invested time and money creating IP rights around road signs to create valuable brands (no easy tasks for sure), the only impact is to keep someone from copying that use as a trademark. All other non-trademark uses, for instance to identify location, as always permitted. By limiting the trademark use to a single business who (a) was first in the market and (b) invested substantial money and risk in creating the market), companies are created which generate tax revenue and jobs. Without trademark protection, consumers are left with cheap knock-offs and imitations. Consumers can not identify source and the market is destroyed. What Schuette fails to comprehend is that without trademark protection, there can be no Nike or Microsoft or Google. Consumers would not buy products based on brand because consumers could never gauge quality based on a trustworthy source.

Thank goodness his overreaching is without effect, since the adverse impact to the Michigan intellectual property economy could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars or more. This appears to be just another example of overzealous government bureaucrats trying to expand their reach and control over Michigan businesses. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette proves once again he knows nothing about commerce and business. He has certainly proven he knows little about intellectual property.

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    The Daily Michigan: $50 Gift Certificate to Larner Creations

The Daily Michigan: $50 Gift Certificate to Larner Creations


We’re continuing our Mother’s Day giveaways through The Daily Michigan with a $50 Gift Certificate to Larner Creations.

You can use this gift certificate for whatever you or the mom in your life want, but the folks at Larner Creations would suggest you consider their Anti-Aging Lotion with Sunscreen. It’s the perfect travel companion, a rich and moisturizing (not greasy) lotion with natural sunscreens and the natural anti-aging agent Vitamin A. Using regularly will help you prevent wrinkles and repair skin damage and it’s available in Unscented, Eucalyptus & Spearmint, Lemon & Lime, Litsea Cubeba and Rosemary.

Larner Creations is based in Monroe and makes natural and organic bath & body products including organic soaps, lip balms, creams, lotions, oils, bath salts, milk baths, body sprays and other products for your feet, face, and home. Visit their website at larnercreations.com to view many more of their products!

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The Empowerment Plan making wearable sleeping bags

For many, the reaction upon seeing a homeless person is to let the eyes slide past and slip by. One Detroit designer chose instead to look, think and ultimately design a game-changing garment. It all started in industrial design professor Stephen Schock’s new design activism class at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Detroit has over 20,000 homeless people living on the streets, prompting Schock to challenge his students to do something about the issue.

This New York Times article entitled Altering Clothes, and Lives, With Design explains that The Empowerment Plan is a humanitarian project based in the city of Detroit that centers around a coat that is self-heated, waterproof, and transforms into a sleeping bag at night.

The coats are made by homeless women who have been paid to learn and to produce the coats for those living on the streets. The focus is on the system to create jobs for those that desire them and coats for those that need them at no cost. The importance is not with the product but with the people…

One of his students, Veronika Scott, a native of Detroit and then a junior, quickly focused on the homeless population and began researching her project at the Neighborhood Service Organization, a community development center. “I noticed that there were people sleeping outside of shelters even when they could have been inside,” she said, adding that she quickly learned that many actually prefer the street because of pride, privacy issues or an array of mental health problems.

“There are many reasons why people are homeless, but I could see one thing all of them needed: warmth,” she said.

Ms. Scott, now 22, soon came up with the idea to design a coat that could double as a sleeping bag.

“I am now known as the ‘Crazy Coat Lady,’ ” said Ms. Scott, who began her research by asking a group of 30 homeless men at the shelter for advice on designing it. “At first they were angry because I turned off their TV, but then they started talking to me,” she said.

Read on for more and definitely visit the Empowerment Plan and learn more about this great project. Now here’s a video from a couple of years ago from Mitch Albom’s great Heart of Detroit series.

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    The Daily Michigan: An apron from Absolutely Adorable Aprons

The Daily Michigan: An apron from Absolutely Adorable Aprons


Today on The Daily Michigan we have a reversible apron for man, woman or child from Absolutely Adorable Aprons.

Absolutely Adorable Aprons sells custom made, specialty aprons for men, women and children. All of their aprons are reversible, double layered, 100% cotton and custom made in the U.S.A. They offer a number of different themes to choose from on their website or Facebook. Click for their photo albums. They also do customization for any style, occasion or business and personalization of aprons with monograms, appliques or themes.

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)

The Daily Michigan: Rose Gift Bag from Izlla


Today on The Daily Michigan we welcome a new featured partner, Arcadia, Michigan based natural skin care company Izlla, who is offering as their first giveaway, their Rose Gift Bag that was part of the celebrity gift offering at Super Bowl XLVI last month.

The bag contains Rose Green Tea Facial Exfoliate Cleanser that will leave your face feeling soothed, fresh and smooth and Rose Green Tea Beauty Serum to help soften fine lines and wrinkles. Both are made with 100% organic Rose.

IZLLA skin care products are made in small batches to provide pure organic therapeutic nourishment for your every need, pampering your skin with true and pure luxury for immediate results. Their ingredients are local organically grown, when possible, and use fresh fruit, veggies, flowers and herbs.

Head over to Izlla.com for more and click the icon to the left to visit their Facebook.

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The Daily Michigan: Get in the 906 with Yooper Steez


Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away the 906 … or at least a chance to WEAR the 906. Our winner will be able to choose ONE 906 hoodie or TWO 906 shirts, either with THREE 906 stickers.

Yooper Steez is a company created to provide everyone who lives in the Upper Peninsula or loves the U.P. with great t-shirts.

They’ve added new “906″ gear to their line in homage to the largest area code in Michigan and the area code for the entire UP. “There aren’t many area codes that are assigned to such a well defined area,” Justin explains. “With our signature silhouette series we’re able to convey the Upper Peninsula to people who recognize it and keep other people guessing. The same is true for the 906 design. Those who know what 906 stands for, they’ll get it! And those are the people we want to reach.”

Lots more about the 906 area code at Yooper Steez!

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    The Daily Michigan: a Michigan assortment from High Five Threads

The Daily Michigan: a Michigan assortment from High Five Threads


Today on The Daily Michigan we’re giving away a package of items from High Five Threads, a Michigan graphic apparel company representing everything awesome about the only state you can high five!

If you’re the winner you’ll receive a H5T T-shirt, tote bag, ice cube tray, and window decal!

The HFT mission is simple: Create quality products that promote buying and supporting local small businesses and entrepreneurs. Their store is located in Traverse City at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and you can also buy online at www.highfivethreads.com.

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    The Daily Michigan: Nature’s Boundaries Organic Luxury Bar Soaps

The Daily Michigan: Nature’s Boundaries Organic Luxury Bar Soaps

Today on The Daily Michigan we have an assortment of 8 soaps from Nature’s Boundaries Organic Luxury Bar Soaps.

These artisan bar soaps will entice your senses with their essential oils and certified organic fragrance blends. They are made from 100% certified organic oils that leave hands feeling moisturized and clean after washing, and each bar is unique in design as they are all hand-poured and colored with natural herbal extracts.

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)

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    The Daily Michigan: Bath & Body Gift Certificate from Larner Creations

The Daily Michigan: Bath & Body Gift Certificate from Larner Creations


Today’s item on The Daily Michigan is a $50 Gift Certificate to Larner Creations.

Larner Creations is based in Monroe and makes natural and organic bath & body products including organic soaps, lip balms, creams, lotions, oils, bath salts, milk baths, body sprays and other products for your feet, face, and home. They make their products to order right here in Michigan to help you live naturally and do not use chemicals in any of their products.

They know that Michigan is rebounding from hard financial times support buying local and appreciate it when folks consider local sources too! You can order on-line at their website or find them at farmers Markets and craft or vendor shows in Michigan.

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    The Daily Michigan: Fair Trade Olive Oil from Higher Grounds Trading Co

The Daily Michigan: Fair Trade Olive Oil from Higher Grounds Trading Co


Today on The Daily Michigan we have another offering from one of our featured partners, Higher Grounds Trading Co of Traverse City. Higher Grounds was formed to create connections between people who enjoy a fair trade and organic coffee and the amazing people who harvest the green coffee beans.

Recently, they added a new product to their line, fair trade, organic olive oil from Palestine. It’s extra virgin and cold pressed and proceeds directly benefit the families who grow the olives. We’re pairing that with a limited edition t-shirt commemorating the recent Run Across Palestine.

The Run Across Palestine is a project of On the Ground, a nonprofit that works to support fair-trade farmers all over the world. Higher Grounds founder Chris Treter helped to create On the Ground and you can learn all about the Run Across Palestine and their other projects in the video below or watch them all on YouTube!

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)