Court Upholds John Deere's Trademark for Green and Yellow Color Combo

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Thursday, 19 October, 2017

A U.S. District Court in Kentucky ruling bans farm machinery makers from using the combination of green and yellow on their equipment. Deere & Company's John Deere brand has been using the color combination since the late 1960s and its first trademark registration happened in 1988 for agricultural tractors, lawn and garden tractors, trailers, wagons and carts. Several other trademark registrations have followed, which expanded the types of machinery covered by the mark.

Following a 107-page ruling, FIMCO Industries manufacturer of agricultural sprayers, has been banned from using the John Deere green and yellow color combination in the United States. The ruling found that FIMCO had intentionally chosen the well-known color combination to imply an association with the John Deere brand, which was likely to cause customer confusion. The judge specified that FIMCO could use the color green or the color yellow, but not the two colors together.

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

New York Times Ends BuzzFeed's Use of ‘Too Lit for Print’

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 17 October, 2017

Media company BuzzFeed's new morning show 'AM to DM,' which streams live on Twitter, debuted last month using the slogan "All the news too lit for print."

Perhaps a clever take on a well-known phrase, using the word "lit" instead of "fit" (which if you don't know, "lit" means something that is "turned up" or "popping," according to Urban Dictionary)?

Well, the program's slogan wasn't considered clever by The New York Times, which has used the familiar motto "All the news that's fit to print" since 1896 and registered it as a trademark in 1958.

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

Nonprofit Sues Chef Jamie Oliver Over Gluten-Free Mark

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Wednesday, 4 October, 2017

British chef Jamie Oliver, known for 'The Naked Chef' TV series, is facing a lawsuit from a nonprofit group — the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG) — for "federal certification mark infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition under federal statutes, with pendent claims for trademark infringement, and unfair competition." The nonprofit claims that Oliver's gluten-free symbol that is used on his website recipes is similar to the group's signature gluten-free certification label (the letters "GF" in a circle with the phrase "Certified Gluten Free").

Oliver's website features thousands of gluten-free recipes, which are marked with a "GF" in a circle to indicate they don't contain gluten ingredients. His recipes use a range of similar abbreviations, including a "V" in a small circle on vegetarian recipes and "DF" for dairy-free recipes. The GIG claims that Oliver's GF mark is "identical or substantially similar" to its own marks and his use of the mark "is intended to falsely certify that Oliver's recipes are gluten-free."

Check out the two symbols below — the GIG logo is on the left, while Oliver's is on the right:

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

"Don't Say Velcro" Music Video Warns Against Brand Name Dilution

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 3 October, 2017

Wow — what an entertaining way to get out a serious message about the generalization of trademarked brand names from a group of attorneys at Velcro, the self-fastener company!

Starting out as a serious-looking "message from the lawyers at The Velcro Company," the group sings: ". . . everywhere you go you see this scratchy, hairy fastener and you say, 'Hey, that's Velcro!'" The group then goes on to warn that if all self-fasteners are referred to as Velcro, "we're gonna lose that circled 'R.'" The music video even includes other (intentionally censored) examples of brands that are used generically to describe a product.

Velcro CEO Fraser Cameron told USA Today: "We want people to know there's a real company behind the brand folks know and love and that there's a difference between Velcro brand products and others in the marketplace."

Take 2 minutes to watch this . . . it'll stick with you!

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Topics: branding, trademark

Conor McGregor Fighting Over Trademark for ‘The Notorious’ Nickname

by T+B BLOG TEAM on Tuesday, 5 September, 2017

Just after losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr., in what was called “The Biggest Fight in Combat Sports History,” mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor finds himself in the midst of another type of fight — a trademark fight.

According to The Irish Times, McGregor is on his way to becoming the second-highest earning global sports star of 2017 and has filed trademark applications for several phrases in Ireland and with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

In January, McGregor filed a EUIPO trademark application for his nickname, “The Notorious” and was blocked by two brothers who own a manufacturing company called the DPT Group, that makes pool tables. The DPT Group registered a trademark for Notorious Fightwear in 2009 in the UK, before McGregor emerged in world of mixed martial arts (MMA). The company also owns the website mmafightwear.net, where it has sold “combat sportwear” under the Notorious brand name for a decade.

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Topics: trademark, trademark infringement

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