Start-Up Launchpad Blog

Ashton Kutcher Promotes Start-Ups on Two and a Half Men - October 7, 2011

Emily E. Harris, Patent Attorney

While I should be writing posts on the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (a/k/a Patent Reform) and its effects on startups (there really is at least one new provision that benefits startups, I swear!), I have been spending my free time checking out fall TV. I have never been a fan of Two and a Half Men, but I will admit that the addition of Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) has had me watching the first three episodes. For whatever reason, I am rooting for the Iowa-native and startup investor to succeed.


Even though the latest two episodes may have Kutcher in hot water with CBS, the trademark attorney in me liked the creative plugs he has given to several startup companies. In both of these episodes, Kutcher's character is seen with a laptop decorated with the logos of Foursquare, Hipmunk, Chegg, Flipboard and GroupMe, all of which are startup companies that Kutcher invests in or indirectly does work for. I caught the Foursquare trademark on the first viewing and then rewound and paused to see if I could figure out the rest.


After the first episode with the laptop aired, many believed that Kutcher would be in trouble with CBS for the prop because CBS wasn't paid for the plugs, but the same laptop showed up again in the latest episode. I'm still not sure how I feel about the show, but I plan on watching at least for awhile longer to see if the laptop keeps reappearing or if Kutcher comes up with other ways to promote startups. He plays an internet billionaire, so it seems like there's ample opportunity for future plugs.