what's in a name

iWatch What Happens: Swatch Defends Trademark Against Apple

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 5, 2014 02:21 PM

As brands embrace wearable tech and personal computing starts moving to the wrist (or other body parts), Apple fans and foes are on the lookout for its much-anticipated “iWatch,” a piece of wearable tech (that may not even be a watch) that has been elevated to such high status that George Jetson would covet it and a veteran luxury marketer—former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts—will help sell it.

It remains to be seen what Apple will eventually turn out, but one thing is now clear: Swatch, the world’s largest watchmaker, is ready to protect its ground. Having kept its lawyers busy chasing Target and Tiffany, the Swiss firm recently filed complaints against Apple’s application for the iWatch trademark, which is now starting to pop up, because it is too similar to its trademarked iSwatch product, according to media outlets including Bloomberg and the London Telegraph

The iWatch trademark was registered by Apple last year in Japan, Mexico, and Turkey. There has been no move to take Apple to court, but Swatch would certainly prefer that Apple not use iWatch for the consumer-facing product when it launches. “We assess the likelihood of confusion as [high], given the marks are confusingly similar. In all countries where the mark is registered” Swatch intends to stop Apple from using the name, a Swatch rep told the Telegraph.Continue reading...

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...

media triage

Realizing It's No Match for the Internet, Getty Succumbs to Open Image Library

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 6, 2014 05:44 PM

In a classic example of, “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em,” Getty Images has granted open access to its image treasure trove—for free. 

Conceding its losing battle over online photo infringement, users can now embed and share imagery for non-commercial use on websites, blogs and social media sites via a new embed tool

"Images are the communication medium of today and imagery has become the world’s most spoken language,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and CEO Getty Images, according to Marketing Magazine. “Innovation and disruption are the foundation of Getty Images, and we are excited to open up our vast and growing image collection for easy, legal sharing in a new way that benefits our content contributors and partners, and advances our core mission to enable a more visually-rich world."Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Bud Brings World Cup Together, Diageo Boosts Youth Employment and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 21, 2014 07:52 PM

Bud Unveils Rise as One World Cup Campaign

World Cup soccer can be pretty divisive. In fact, professional soccer fans are some of the most rowdy in the sports world, with some groups of fans even being banned from attending World Cup games. 

But Budweiser, the official beer sponsor of the Cup in Brazil this summer, wants to instead focus on how soccer brings people together through its Rise As One campaign, which will run from March through July. The unique campaign will attract even more attention because it is in black and white.

"Budweiser has purposely taken the color out of it to just focus on the people and their emotion,” said Jennifer Anton, Budweiser UK marketing manager. "In a sea of color, you will see a black and white campaign which is very unusual. Budweiser will stand out with this."

Along with the campaign, Budweiser will launch a Budlocator app that allows consumers to locate the nearest bars or eateries that serve Bud’s products. A limited-edition gold aluminum bottle featuring the World Cup trophy has also been released to celebrate the upcoming tournament.Continue reading...

brand battle

Dish Network Wins Some, Loses Some in Battle Over Words

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2014 03:41 PM

Four years have passed since Dish Network first attempted to trademark the term “TV Everywhere.” And now, after multiple denials and challenges from competing brands, the TV provider is throwing in the towel, Variety reports. After all, in the time it has spent trying to lock-down the phrase, it has become a term commonly used in the industry to describe TV programming available on multiple devices.

When the US Patent and Trademark Office had put the application up for comment in the fall of 2011, many major content distributors—including Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, and Cablevision Systems—challenged the application.

The eventual abandonment of the trademark cause seemed unavoidable, especially now that the concept of "TV Everywhere" is on fire right now. MediaPost reports that “the number of authenticated TV Everywhere streams doubled in 2013 to 574.2 million, up from 222.5 million in 2012.” The data comes from research by Adobe, which shows that 73 percent of the TV Everywhere streams are seen on mobile devices, while tablets lead the way at 42 percent.Continue reading...

app watch

With Nearly $2 Billion in Revenue, Candy Crush Maker King Looks to Be the Anti-Zynga

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 18, 2014 02:02 PM

King Digital Entertainment, the 11-year-old Irish publisher of viral mobile game sensation Candy Crush Saga, has filed initial IPO papers with the SEC, declaring that profits surged more than 7,000 percent last year to $567.6 million from $7.8 million in 2012, with revenues climbing to nearly $1.9 billion.

While King is also pushing other games in its 180-strong arsenal, such as “Pet Rescue Saga,” “Farm Heroes Saga,” “Papa Pear Saga” and “Bubble Witch Saga,” its main focus remains on the mobile juggernaut that is Candy Crush, which sees revenue growth from the 12 million users (only 4 percent of the total!) that make in-app "power up" purchases. 

In 2013, Candy Crush generated 78 percent of King's revenue, begging the question that all big gaming companies are facing, including Zynga and Angry Birds-maker Rovio: Can a one-hit wonder make for a solid future?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...

sip on this

Is Dumb Starbucks Brewhaha a Tempest In a Teapot? (Update: Mystery Solved)

Posted by Abe Sauer on February 10, 2014 02:47 PM

Not since The North Face sued The South Butt has the world seen a case pitting the free speech right of parody against the rights of a trademark holder.

Dumb Iced Coffee, Dumb Frappuccinos and Dumb Brewed Coffee—with the option of picking up a disc of the latest Dumb Jazz Standards—are just a few of the products awaiting customers at the new Los Feliz, Calif. cafe, "Dumb Starbucks." Is it a real thing or an an artist's statement about Starbucks? And if it is the latter, does the artist know it's 2014 and not 2004?

Customers waited for hours over the weekend to sip on free Dumb Iced Coffee and Dumb Frappuccinos in the curious "Dumb Starbucks," its interior decorated to match a typical Starbucks, with a "Dumb" menu and all. But the new shop situated next to a laundromat in a Los Angeles neighborhood was sure to make clear that it is not in fact a Starbucks. According to a posted FAQ statement, the cafe-as-art says, "Dumb Starbucks is not affiliated in any way with Starbucks Corporation. We are simply using their name and logo for marketing purposes."Continue reading...

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