2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

trademark wars

Lindt Loses Out on Epic Easter Bunny Suit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 29, 2013 11:36 AM

For more than a decade, Swiss premium chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli has been trying to keep German chocolate maker Confiserie Riegelein from wrapping its chocolate bunnies in gold foil—a Lindt signature—but the fight is finally over and to Lindt's dismay, gold bunnies abound. 

Germany's Federal Court of Justice rejected a final appeal by Lindt & Spruengli on Thursday, Reuters reports. "We are very glad that this case has found a happy ending for us after some 12 years," Peter Riegelein, head of Confiserie Riegelein said in a statement, according to the wire service. "The sitting gold-wrapped bunny has been a firm part of our offering for at least a half century. Now it is finally clear that it can stay as it is."Continue reading...

web watch

ICANN Launches Trademark Database in Prep for TLDs

Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 26, 2013 03:33 PM

ICANN just launched a brand database for trademarks, Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH), allowing businesses to register their brands ahead of the release of the next wave of 2,000 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) to be introduced later this year, part of a larger effort to quell concerns about cyber-squatting and trademark infringement as seen in this introductory video:

Suffixes such as .bet, .web, .news, .app, .home, .inc, and .gay will become available in May as alternatives to the current and familiar .com, .org and .net. Some 1,200 gTLDs are expected to be approved—up from the current 280.

"So, for example, if someone applies for the suffix Apple, Apple will be able to see what the website is selling—whether it is a local orchard or someone selling fake Apple computers," said Jonathan Robinson, a consultant on the project. "New top-level domain names present a land of opportunity, but there are also threats. Prior to this there has been no universal protection available to brand owners. This goes a long way to mitigating the threat."Continue reading...

brand battle

Tiffany vs. Costco: Wholesaler Claims Jewelry Brand Name is a Generic Term

Posted by Reneé Alexander on March 21, 2013 08:12 PM

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, but is a diamond ring ever just a diamond ring?

Not if you’re Tiffany & Co. 

The New York-based luxury jeweler has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp. in the hopes of preventing the sullying—and cheapening—of its cherished brand. But the counterclaims of the wholesaling giant could see the term “tiffany” defined as a generic diamond setting.

When you’re a giant in the high-end jewelry business, you don’t want to be within a country mile of anything remotely generic or wholesale or you can kiss your margins, reputation and quite possibly your brand value goodbye. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that Tiffany has had to tango with brands that claimed to sell "Tiffany" goods.

In December, Tiffany (the company, not the singer) sent a cease-and-desist letter to Costco after one of the jeweler’s customers alerted it that the wholesaler had signs in its Huntington Beach, CA, store promoting “Tiffany setting” rings. In a complaint filed in federal court last month, Tiffany claimed Costco “had apparently been selling different styles of rings for many years that it has falsely identified on in-store signage as ‘Tiffany.’” Not only are the rings not Tiffany, the jeweler says, but they are not manufactured by, approved by, licensed by or in any way associated with Tiffany.Continue reading...

brand partners

Dude Process: PBR, O'Neill Avoid Trademark Scuffle By Partnering

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 19, 2013 02:37 PM

Hipsterrific U.S. beer brand Pabst Blue Ribbon and surfing powerhouse O’Neill could have had a legal battle, but the chill brands instead decided to pound it out and make some money together. 

O’Neill turned out a new surf look recently that caused someone in the Pabst legal department to give them a call to note that O’Neill was getting a little too close for comfort to the logo for Pabst, which is owned by the enterprising bunch at Metropoulos & Co., the company that just linked up with Apollo Global Management to buy the rights to Twinkies for $410 million.

But instead of a brouhaha, the two companies decided (no doubt over a cold one) to chill out and partner on a co-branded line of clothing.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Reddit Sensation Grumpy Cat Readies for Trademark Battles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 15, 2013 02:28 PM

You want to make Reddit sensation Grumpy Cat really grumpy? Try using her name on a product without prior authorization.

The owners of the cat that took social media by storm five months ago have filed for a trademark for the name "Grumpy Cat" as well as the cat’s likeness. After all, their little kitty, whose name is actually Tardar Sauce, has since gotten her own website, Facebook fan page, retail space, an appearance on the Today Show and her own commercial for Friskies cat food, according to SmallBizTrends.com.Continue reading...

brand faces

New Pope Means New Brand for Catholic Church

Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 14, 2013 01:16 PM

While the white smoke billowed out into St. Peter's Square and Pope Francis was introduced to the world, the Catholic Church’s legal team was busy behind the scenes.

As it's widely understood, the Catholic Church is as much a business as it is a religious beacon, and like any smart business, the Church protects its property. Vatican City and the Holy See are already the owners of such trademarks as “Benedictvs XVI Pontifex Maximus,” “Ioannes Pavlvs Pontifex Maximus,” “Stato Della Citta Del Vaticano,” and “Segreteria Di Stato," according to Forbes. Now, with a new pontiff in place, Vatican lawyers will be hard at work securing trademarks for everything Pope Francis related.Continue reading...

what's in a name

When Almonds Are Apricots: A Tale of Naming Woes in China

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 14, 2013 12:38 PM

"I wish I could say this was a strategically thought out name choice supported by consumer research but it’s really a story of crisis management."

So begins the tale, as John Talbot, Vice President of Global Market Development for the Almond Board of California told brandchannel, about how California Almonds recently rushed to rename its product in its largest export market and how it spun the branding crisis to its advantage.

It all starts 40 years ago and ends with the Farsi word for almond.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Italy’s Jesus Jeans In Throwdown Over the Lord's Name

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 26, 2013 03:12 PM

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Some American apparel manufacturers attempts to start up clothing lines that contain the name “Jesus” have been thwarted by the Italian maker of Jesus Jeans, which trademarked its name in the U.S. back in 2007. 

Jesus Jeans, which is apparently considering making an eventual marketing push in the States, is more than happy to have its legal team send cease-and-desist letters to anybody who is trying to make money selling pretty much any type of clothing with the Jesus name on it.  

The founder of Jesus Surfed, Michael Julius Anton, is ready to face off legally against Jesus Jeans, a fight that plenty of other manufacturers, such as "Jesus First," "Sweet Jesus," and "Jesus Couture," among others, are willing to join in, the Wall Street Journal reports. One manufacturer, “Jesus Up,” is still trying to work out an agreement. "How anyone can claim the name Jesus for themselves and put a trademark on it is beyond me," said Jesus Up founder Jeff Lamont, who also told the Journal that the company name had come to him in a message from God.

Wherever the message came from, Lamont was late to the game on the trademarking front. Jesus Jeans had been trying to trademark its name in the States since 1999 and finally succeeded in 2007. It has still been rejected in plenty of other countries, though such as Germany, Switzerland, China, Hungary and Ireland. However, such countries as Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the Netherlands have allowed the trademark. The European Union gave it the “Jesus” community trademark, which is good across the entire Union. Continue reading...

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