Best Global Green Brands 2014

trademark wars

Swatch Calls Time Out on Target with Claims of Infringement

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 11, 2014 06:38 PM

As if Target didn't already have enough lawsuits on its hands, swiss watchmaker Swatch is suing the retailer for ripping off its multicolor and zebra watch designs. 

The brand, which is known for its plastic and colorful wrist pieces, says that Target has been selling "inferior" knock-offs that will confuse consumers and hurt its brand, Reuters reports

America’s second-largest retailer declined comment on the case but did say it respects trademark rights and expects others to do so as well. Swatch would like Target to discontinue sales of the watches.Continue reading...

trademark wars

UK Court Sets Online Ad Precedent with Lush Cosmetics Ruling Over Amazon

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 12, 2014 11:57 AM

In what could be a landmark decision for e-commerce brands and the future of search, the UK High Court recently sided with British beauty company Lush over an infringement claim against Amazon.com. 

In a suit filed in December, the UK beauty brand alleged that Amazon infringed upon its trademarks by diverting online consumers to similar, off-brand products following a search for Lush cosmetics, which aren't available on Amazon. 

According to the legal filings, "Lush brought trademark infringement proceedings against Amazon on the basis that when the term 'Lush' was searched for on Amazon's website, the results returned were for goods which, although they featured the word 'lush' in a number of contexts, were not in fact made by Lush. Amazon had also bid on the Google AdWord 'Lush Bath Products' but did not, in fact, sell any Lush products."Continue reading...

trademark wars

University of Texas Goes On the Offensive to Protect 'Strong' Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 17, 2014 11:39 AM

When a high-power, renowned NCAA Division I football program hires a new coach, it's a pretty big deal. But the University of Texas probably didn't foresee the legal troubles it has run into since it hired new head coach Charlie Strong on Jan. 5. 

Since then, the Longhorns' legal department has been putting a lot of effort into going after manufacturers of clothing and gear that have already started to use Strong’s name on Texas promotional gear, the Associated Press reports.

The university has already put a stop to the sale of unsanctioned products with the words  “Stronghorns,” “Texas Strong,” and “UT Strong” on them. And while manufacturers may have been quick to jump on the 'Strong' bandwagon, the school wasn't too far behind: two days after it signed Strong to the coaching job, UT submitted an trademark application for "Stronghorns." After all, Strong signed a five-season contract for $25 million. According to the Austin Business Journal, six other applications for "Stronghorns" have been created as well.Continue reading...

trademark wars

China Trademark Office Strips Burberry of Its Stripes

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 27, 2013 05:23 PM

Burberry can now consider itself a member of an elite club that already claims Michael Jordan, General Motors, and Apple among its ranks. All four have dealt with trademark issues in China.

China’s national trademark office told the British luxury brand that it can no longer trademark its signature beige-black-and-red pattern on leather goods there, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Chinese government had “received an application challenging Burberry's trademark to the pattern,” and it sided with the local company.

Burberry, of course, will appeal. After all, sales for the brand went up nearly 20 percent in the year ending March 31 compared with the previous year, with China accounting for 14 percent of the brand’s overall retail and wholesale revenue. "A decision like this will not move the needle [on sales], because when you travel around Asia you find so many fake products already," Bernstein Research analyst Mario Ortelli told the paper. But that surely won't make the people at Burberry feel any better.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Hells Angels Are Ready to Ride Over Young Jeezy Trademark Infringement

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 6, 2013 06:57 PM

The Hells Angels aren’t exactly a brand most folks want to tangle with. 

Rapper Young Jeezy and retailer Dillard’s clearly didn’t get the memo. The pair are on the wrong end of a trademark lawsuit filed by the group that hasn’t exactly shied from confrontation during its history. The suit is over the perception that Jeezy’s 8732 Apparel line and some hats, shirts, and vests being sold by Dillard’s, have images that are “conducingly similar” to the trademarked Hells Angels Death Head.

“Guys live and die for that patch,” the lawyer for the Angels, Fritz Clapp, said, the Daily Mail reports. “It's not just a piece of clothing.” The Angels would like all of the goods with the logos to be handed over so there can be “supervised destruction.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Culinary Creators Face Trademark Woes When it Comes to Foreign Foods

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 9, 2013 12:43 PM

A trademark case out of London hits close to home for one of the culinary world's hottest trends: pho. But it raises a much larger issue as trends cross cultural divides and enterprising types look to cordon what they believe is a unique market. 

Recently, a small Vietnamese restaurant in London called Mo Pho was asked to change its name due to the fact that Pho Cafe, a British chain of Vietnamese restaurants had trademarked the term "pho" several years earlier. Except in Vietnamese, pho is a simple term for "noodle soup," kind of the English equivalent of "cheeseburger." What the case suggests is that any general food term is protectable by trademark—provided it's in a foreign language.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cracker Barrel Settles for Abbreviated Brand Name in Battle with Kraft

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 7, 2013 02:51 PM

Kraft and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. have been battling in court for months over the use of the Cracker Barrel name, which Kraft has been using for nearly 60 years for one of its cheese brands. But a tug of war started when the restaurant chain sought to sell a line of branded products to various retail outlets.  

After a months-long legal battle, Cracker Barrel’s first products will be shipped to retailers this week—but without the Cracker Barrel name. Instead, it will be sold under the name "CB Old Country Store," according to the Tennessean. And from the looks of it, Cracker Barrel isn’t going to be shipping out any cheese products, instead focusing on “maple and smoked bacon, spiral ham and four types of lunch meat: oven roasted turkey, smoked turkey, smoked ham and honey ham.”Continue reading...

trademark wars

Cadbury and the Color Purple: Nearly a Century of Use Couldn't Trademark It

Posted by Dale Buss on October 4, 2013 07:23 PM

It isn't any easier to trademark the color purple than the color red, apparently. Several months after Louboutin's failed effort to trademark the color red broadly for shoe soles in the US, Cadbury has been knocked down by a UK court over its attempts to trademark the use of purple in its chocolate wrappers.

Cadbury lost its five-year court battle to Nestle over whether Cadbury could register a distinctive shade of purple as a trademark, a specific shade—defined as Pantone 2685C—that it has used on its Dairy Milk bars and other sweets since World War I.

"The mark ... lacks the required clarity, precision, self-containment, durability and objectivity to qualify for registration," one of the judges in the case said, according to The Guardian.Continue reading...

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