2014 Brandcameo Product Placement Awards

brand vs. brand

Under Armour Just Does It and Sues Nike

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 22, 2013 12:13 PM

Under Armour is not happy with Nike right about now. The point of contention is over the phrase “I Will,” which Under Armour trademarked back in 2000 and has used in many ad campaigns, including one launched last week, its largest in history.

Nike, famous for its “Just Do It” tagline, has been using the phrase “I will” in its ads a little too much recently for Under Armour’s liking. So, a trademark suit was filed Thursday to stop Nike from using “any form of that phrase” as well as to turn over “unspecified punitive damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition,” the Baltimore Sun reports.

The ads, which Nike placed on Facebook and Twitter late last year, use “I will” to begin sentences such as “I will finish what I started” laid over an image of a basketball player dunking. Over an image of runners, Nike placed the text “I will sweat while they sleep.” Another ad that Under Armour is surely seething about is one for Nike’s #makeitcount campaign, which gives a laundry list of what different athletes will do in 2013, ending with “We Will #makeitcount.” Continue reading...

trademark wars

American Winnebago Finally Puts Down Australian Copy Cat in Trademark Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 20, 2013 03:31 PM

Winnebago Australia has finally done what America’s Winnebago Industries has been wanting it to do for decades: change its name. After a long legal battle, Winnebago Australia, which has never been affiliated with the U.S. motor home company of the same name, is changing its name to Avida.

Avida actually successfully trademarked the word “Winnebago” in Australia back in 1997, but Federal Court of Australia Justice Lindsay Foster ordered the cancellation of that registration last summer, saying that CEO Ben Binns “intentionally hijacked the Winnebago marks in Australia in a bold attempt to preempt Winnebago’s opening its doors here,” Bloomberg reported at the time.

However, don’t think that Avida is finished using the Winnebago name for its own self-promotion in Australia and New Zealand just yet.Continue reading...

brand extensions

Kate Spade Saturday Launches Despite Dispute Over Name

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 20, 2013 01:16 PM

It's just another day in the mad, mad world of fashion. kate spade new york, the eponymous U.S.-based fashion brand is launching "kate spade Saturday," a brand whose name is being disputed by a similarly-coined NYC retailer.

The diffusion line is making its debut in Japan via an online store and a retail location in Tokyo—complete with an American-style café—with plans to have an online presence in Brazil and the U.S. later this spring. (A "sneak peek" at selected items from the new brand was offered on Fab.com through today, February 20.) CEO Craig Leavitt said the brand "saw an opportunity in the market to engage a new customer base—one that aspires to be part of the kate spade new york brand."

The new sub-brand will feature apparel, a beauty line and home decor at a notch below typical kate spade prices, with a target demographic of consumers ages 25 to 35. The price point will be "about 50 percent below" the kate spade brand, and its retail experience promises to thread digital throughout the graphic, pop art-inspired clothes. However, the brand's introduction has not been without some controversy.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Titanic II Operator Sets Course for Gigantic Trademark Battle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 19, 2013 11:02 AM

Describing something that is oversized may soon involve a lawyer. The terms “titanic” and “gigantic” are both being considered for trademarking.

The man behind the plan, Clive Palmer, is an Australian billionaire who is having the Titanic completely re-created by a Chinese shipyard so it can set sail from England for North America in 2016. Palmer’s Blue Star Line, named after White Star Line, the company that owned the original Titanic, has filed a trademark request for a number of terms, including "Titanic," "Titanic II," "Titanic III," "Blue Star Line," and "Gigantic", although he's already promoting "Titanic II" on his website.

Palmer, a mining tycoon, believes that White Star Line had thought about naming one of its ships Gigantic, but never got around to it after its Titanic liner famously slammed into an iceberg near Newfoundland and sank, taking more than 1,500 lives along with it. “I think [the trademark application] will be OK,” Palmer said, according to Australia’s Boorowa News. “We'll just see how we go. I think there is a report back on it already, saying it is OK for a ship.”

However, there is some debate as to what he'll be able to trademark.Continue reading...

brand vs. brand

Costco CEO: We Shouldn't Have Used Tiffany to Describe Rings [EXCLUSIVE]

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 18, 2013 09:45 PM

Tiffany is more than irked at Costco for selling diamond engagement rings as "Tiffany" rings. The luxury jeweler last week formally filed suit against the wholesale retail giant.

Costco CEO Craig Jelinek commented in an internal email communication that was sent to all employees this evening [Feb. 18, 8:27 pm EST], "We are disappointed that our efforts to resolve the issue with them did not result in an amicable solution as we had hoped."

Jelinek also acknowledged that the retailer erred by using the word "Tiffany" in describing the engagement rings:

"That was intended to describe a setting style used in those rings, and was not intended to claim that the rings were of any particular brand. In retrospect, it would have been better had we not used that description the way we did."

Below, read Costco's company-wide email:Continue reading...

brand battle

Tiffany Does Battle—Again—With a Non-Luxury Seller

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 05:01 PM

Costco isn’t the first brand name to pop-up when consumers are looking for high-end luxury, but a few folks thought they had found it there when they came across low-cost Tiffany diamond engagement rings. (And they didn’t even have to buy them in bulk.) 

Unfortunately for all those customers, the rings weren’t quite the real thing. Now, Tiffany is taking Costco to court for marketing some high-end jewelry in the past few years under its brand, without permission.

“We now know that there are hundreds if not thousands of Costco members who think they bought a Tiffany engagement ring at Costco, which they didn’t,” Jeffrey Mitchell, a lawyer for Tiffany, said in a statement to Bloomberg News. “Costco knew what it was doing when it used the Tiffany trademark to sell rings that had nothing to do with Tiffany.” The company's press release says it was tipped off by a California customer in November of the alleged scam. 

This isn’t the first time Tiffany has had trouble with a low-cost seller. It battled with Overstock.com back in 2010, which had sold 1,365 pendants under the Tiffany name. It also had legal battles with eBay, claiming that the online seller was at fault for allowing some of its vendors to sell counterfeit Tiffany items, but the court never agreed with Tiffany on that one.

Tiffany seems to have a better case against Costco, which legally sells high-end jewelry brands such as Cartier, Breitling, and Chanel — not to mention other luxury brands such as Coach, Burberry and Mercedes-Benz — at select locations, such as Boca Raton, of course.

brand battle

AB InBev Wins a Big Round in Euro 'Bud' Dispute, But Modelo Merger in Question

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 22, 2013 02:29 PM

For more than a century, there’s been a bar fight going on between the world’s biggest brewer, AB InBev (and all its predecessors) and Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar NP. Both claim they should have the rights to the name “Bud” in Europe. 

The most recent winner is AB InBev after the EU General Court in Luxembourg “rejected Budvar’s appeal of AB InBev’s right to the EU trademark because the Czech company presented insufficient proof of the existing use of the name in some European countries,” Bloomberg reports.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV claims to have been using the Bud name since 1876. Budvar did not exist until 19 years later. AB InBev put in an application for the trademark in July 1996 and, according to the court, Budvar couldn’t show that it had used the term across Europe before then.Continue reading...

trademark wars

Levi's, VW Brands Help Nike Win US Supreme Court Trademark Ruling

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2013 06:02 PM

Nike’s Air Force 1 just celebrated 30 years, hitting stores way back in 1982 as the first basketball shoe to use its Nike Air technology. It’s been a huge success for the brand, and has become a collector’s item for sneakerheads. Its recent appearance in front of the Supreme Court, normally a place where sneakers don't dare to tread, may only increase its appeal to collectors.

The trouble began back in 2009 when a small shoemaker, Already LLC, which makes Yums sneakers was sued by Nike for infringing on its Air Force 1 trademark with the design of its Soulja Boy shoes.

The Yums brand owner responded countersued before Nike “issued a covenant not to sue, promising not to raise any trademark or unfair competition claims against Already or any affiliated entity based on Already’s existing footwear designs, or any future Already designs,” World Trademark Review reports. “Nike then moved to dismiss its claims with prejudice, and to dismiss Already’s counterclaim without prejudice on the ground that the covenant had extinguished the case or controversy.”Continue reading...

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