Best Global Green Brands 2014

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...

see you in court

Dr. Martens Goes After Chinese Laundry for 'Deliberate' Shoe Knockoff

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 24, 2013 08:02 PM

The 53-year-old Dr. Martens shoe brand has long been a symbol for the renegades of society, but when it comes to trademark law, the well-known brand is going through all the proper channels.

England’s AirWair International, the manufacturer of Dr. Martens, filed suit on Sept. 18 against America’s Chinese Laundry brand, claiming that the company is making a boot that rips off the signature design of Dr. Martens. According to Law360, the English shoemaker has it that the American boot “is virtually identical to the iconic Dr. Martens 1460 boot.”Continue reading...

place branding

After 70 Years, Gotham Finds New Life in Film, TV and Books

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 9, 2013 07:33 PM

While Batman has been roaming Gotham City since the winter of 1940, the fictional city, which is entrenched in pop culture, is still changing.  

The trademark for “Gotham” was registered by Twentieth Century Fox earlier this year for a dramatic television series and online distribution as well as blogs, amusement park rides, and a live musical, comedy, or dramatic performance, reports. However, Fox later released the trademark to Time Warner's DC Comics, which has plans to develop a TV show around the destination.

According to, there is a Batman television series in the works called “Gotham PD” that would occur somewhere between the franchises' two latest films, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. As fans know, Batman played a small role in both films, leading to the show's focus on Gotham's PD. As the site points out, Time Warner may be “planning to save Batman for the big screen” where he’ll be seen in Batman vs. Superman, which is expected to be released in 2015. That big-screen adaptation will feature the series' latest controversial Batman, Ben Affleck.Continue reading...

game change

NCAA Breaks Ties with EA Sports as Legal Woes Continue

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 18, 2013 03:37 PM

The NCAA and video-game maker EA Sports have been producing some of the world’s most popular video games together for years, but now college sports’ governing body has announced that it isn’t going to sign a new contract with EA as its current one expires.

The split isn’t happening so the NCAA can go develop its own games. Instead, it is the result of a number of lawsuits that leave the NCAA looking to protect itself in the legal system. As USA Today notes, the NCAA, EA, and Collegiate Licensing Co., the nation’s top collegiate trademark licensing and marketing firm, are all defendants in two federal lawsuits over the names and likenesses of players being used without permission from the players in question.Continue reading...

chew on this

America Still Nuts for Cronuts as Chef Aims to Use Fame to Help Others

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 5, 2013 11:33 AM

A combination of a croissant and donut that debuted in New York in May has inspired plenty of people to stand in line, not just to sample one but to get a trademark for it, too.

New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery in the city's Soho neighborhood started turning out its signature cronut pastry in May to the pleasure of thousands of customers who, thanks to foodie blogs and social media buzz, started lining up early each morning to snag their own.

In fact, so many fans started queuing up around the block (see brandchannel editor-in-chief Shirley Brady's photo below)—that the bakery had to increase its staff and limit how many cronuts a consumer can buy, with each cronut going for $5 a piece. The flaky pastry has even spawned some less-than-legal activity, including cronut scalpers and the "cro-job." 

Other bakeries took note and now cronut-inspired treats are also being sold across the US and overseas, from Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and even in London—much to Ansel's chagrin, Bloomberg reports. His challenge, of course: to sustain the buzz and build his brand without becoming a one-note, cronut wonder.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Kraft Proves Bigger Cheese in Courtroom as Judge Bars Cracker Barrel Line

Posted by Dale Buss on July 2, 2013 01:48 PM

A judge dealt a severe blow to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store's bid to expand its brand presence outside the retail operations attached to its 600-plus restaurants. He sided with Kraft Foods in issuing a temporary injunction against the Tennessee-based restaurant chain's selling of branded packaged hams and other meats under its marque because it's too similar to Kraft's long-existent Cracker Barrel cheese brand.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman gave Kraft the victory saying that the restaurant chain's plans to sell Cracker Barrel Old Country Store branded, packaged meats through supermarkets, club stores and other retailers would infringe on Kraft's Cracker Barrel brand by confusing consumers. The Chicago-based hometown judge indicated that Kraft "is likely to prevail" in its long-term bid against the restaurant chain's brand-expansion effort as well.

"The court finds that Kraft is likely to prevail on the merits of its trademark infringement and unfair competition claims," the judge's order said. "Kraft need only show a 'better than negligible' chance of success on the merits, and has more than sufficiently carried this burden."Continue reading...

trademark wars

Wendy’s Gets Frosty Over Trademark Suit

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 24, 2013 11:41 AM

Since the start of the burger franchise in 1969, Wendy's has been serving up its signature Frosty frozen dairy dessert. While milkshake-type desserts can be found at nearly every burger joint around, Wendy's is set on protecting its swirled confection, filing a trademark infringement suit against fellow Ohio company United Dairy Farmers. 

Since 2005, UDF, which distributes homemade brand ice cream, has been doling out chocolate and vanilla shakes called “Frosties” and “Frosty Malts” in grocery stores and UDF convenience stores. Wendy’s is not happy about that or the fact that UDF is serving up the Frosties in similarly red-and-yellow colored cups, according to the Columbus Dispatch.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Illinois Church Takes Adidas Head On Over Adizero Trademark

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 12, 2013 12:47 PM

Goliath Adidas is starting to feel the little pings of David’s slingshot. The company is headed to court against an Illinois church, the Christian Faith Fellowship Church, over the trademark for its Adizero apparel and shoes.

The church trademarked “Add a Zero” back in November 2006, claiming on its website that it is “a Prophetic word spoken to our congregation in the early 2000s.” It was intended to help raise money for the church, its food pantry, and its childcare center, according to the Christian Post.

Adidas tried to trademark “AdiZero” in 2009, but was rejected due to the existence of the “Add a Zero” trademark. A lawyer for the church tells the Post that Adidas asked the US Patent and Trademark office to cancel the church’s trademark last year. The office finally said that it wouldn’t do that about two weeks ago. With that, Adidas offered the church 5,000 to buyout the trademark, which the church readily declined.Continue reading...

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