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...

name game

Starbucks Can’t Stop Charbucks, but Kraft Holds Cracker Barrel Back in Brand Name Battles

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2013 12:41 PM

Starbucks still can’t find a way to stop a New Hampshire coffee company from selling Charbucks coffee products, even after more than a decade of legal wrangling. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday “that Black Bear Micro Roastery may continue selling ‘Charbucks Blend,’ ‘Mister Charbucks,’ and ‘Mr. Charbucks’ coffee.”

Starbucks took Wolfe’s Borough Coffee to court 12 years ago, but Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier wrote Friday that Starbucks had not proved that consumers would be confused in the slightest by the “blurring of the brand,” Reuters reports.

To help prove its case early on, Starbucks surveyed 600 people who said their “number one association of the name ‘Charbucks’ in the minds of consumers is with the brand ‘Starbucks.’” The survey wasn’t used in court, though, because it was ruled to be “fundamentally flawed.” The results weren’t definitive, either. Only 4.4 percent said “Starbucks” or “coffee house” when asked what kind of establishment would sell a product labeled Charbucks. However, 39.5 percent thought of “Starbucks” or “coffee” when the word “Charbucks” was mentioned.Continue reading...

brand trainwrecks

Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Drags Brands Through the Mud with Him

Posted by Dale Buss on November 14, 2013 03:03 PM

Supporters of embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford appropriated the Ford Motor Co. logo to back their man. But the keeper of the Blue Oval had a better idea.

Ford, the company, said that it will protect its script and oval logo from use by backers of Ford, the admitted drug-buying, crack-using, publicly drunk politician. "Ford did not grant permission for use of its logo" on "Ford Nation" t-shirts that were worn at a United Way charity event in Toronto this week, said company spokesman Jay Cooney, according to the Toronto Star. "We view it as an unauthorized use of our trademark and have asked it to be stopped." The t-shirts were sold after Rob Ford bobbleheads sold out. 

Ford got this very same logo out of hock last year after using it as collateral to help borrow $23.4 billion in 2006 that helped the company weather the global financial crisis and Great Recession without having to resort to bailouts by US and Canadian taxpayers as General Motors and Chrysler did.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...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Jack Daniel’s Bottle Battle, Johnnie Walker Wears Gold, Molson's Weather Intuition and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 25, 2013 07:17 PM

Jack Daniel’s Launches Bottle Battle with Little Whiskey Brand

When liquor buyers go looking for a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, they know what they’re looking for: a squared-off chunk of glass with the black label and the trusty No. 7. The famed distiller, though, is a bit concerned that shoppers are going to be confused by a new whiskey on the shelf: Popcorn Sutton's Tennessee White Whiskey.

Sutton’s originally marketed its whiskey in Mason jars in honor of the moonshiner who created it, but the brand switched its packaging recently to a bottle that is “square shaped with angled shoulders and beveled corners, with white-on-black labeling color schemes,” the Associated Press reports. The lawyers at Jack Daniel’s have taken notice and filed suit, claiming they've cornered the market on square whiskey.Continue reading...

brand challenges

Guess Canadian, European Regulators Don't Share the World's Love for Nestle UPDATE

Posted by Dale Buss on October 14, 2013 05:12 PM

Nestle has been tussling with locals and environmentalists in Canada for a while over the water it draws out of the ground for its bottled products during drought conditions. But now the company has dropped its appeal of permit conditions that would restrict how much water it could draw.

Nestle Waters cited costs—to it and the Ontarian taxpayer—as its reasons for dropping the appeal, according to Meanwhile, the unit of Nestle Group also has been getting flack for the water it bottles in British Columbia, although the issue there seems to be the fact that the water is free to Nestle Waters.

In a statement to brandchannel, Nestle Waters Canada spokesman John Challinor said:Continue reading...

afternoon snack

Starbucks Looks to Influence Political Hang-Up, but It Should Probably Finish Fighting its Own Battles First

Posted by Dale Buss on October 9, 2013 06:27 PM

"Pay It Forward," meet "Open It Back Up." Starbucks—which rarely misses a zeitgeist-related marketing ploy—is offering a free tall cup of coffee to any patron who buys a drink for another customer, in what CEO Howard Schultz somehow intends to translate into a moral example for those responsible for the federal government curtailment in Washington, D.C.

Schultz previously has tilted at budget-deficit gridlock in Washington and spoke out in support of gay marriage in various ways associated with the iconic brand. This time, he said, Starbucks aims to push citizens to "support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country." No word on why he believes that Americans haven't already been supporting and connecting with one another.

Anyway, such exhortations are just one way that Schultz has been moving Starbucks way beyond its original java base since he shored the chain up a few years ago.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...

elsewhere on brandchannel

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
brandcameo2014 Product Placement Awards
Apple loses its crown to a new #1
Coca-ColaIt's the Journey That Matters:
Coca-Cola Opens Up With Story-Based Web Refresh
debateJoin the Debate
Is product placement a waste of money?
Arthur Chinski and Joshua Mizrahi
Model Behavior? Brands Beware
U.S. Legal Changes Impact Use of Brand Ambassadors
paperCorporate Citizenship in Canada
Fresh thinking from Interbrand
Sheryl Connelly
Sheryl Connelly

Meet Ford's Resident Futurist
Brands and the pursuit of excellence