How can companies ensure that fans who inadvertently use the wrong nomenclature continue to feel good about buying, using and recommending their products? Jennifer Duval-Smith, a recent recipient of some unexpected legal communication, offers a few suggestions.
Marketing, advertising & media intelligence
In April this year, international media reported on the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) decision to refuse registration for Apple's iPad Mini trademark on the grounds it's simply descriptive. But within days of the story breaking, the USPTO was backtracking on its decision.
There was a bit of a storm in a beer mug back in July when DB was given the rights to use the generic term Radler as a brand name. Corporate bullying, some indie brewers cried. Cutting off your nose to spite your face and making consumers dislike you for no good reason, others shrieked. Mwahahahah, DB laughed. So when The Boundary Road Brewery launched its Lawn Ranger brew recently it claimed it was 'Radler-style' and put up a cheeky billboard saying 'Fine, we won't call it Radler then'. Now DB has set its lawyers Simpson Grierson on the case, saying the term 'radler style' is off limits and telling BRB to lay off the allusions.
A quick glance at Fonterra’s media site shows the dairy giant has quite a penchant for talking itself up. Last week it announced it was dropping the price of butter and cheese in line with international price decreases, but its decision to not drop the price of milk as part of a price freeze hasn’t won it any friends. Neither has news this week that it has gone after boutique cheese-makers, asking them to cease using the term “vintage” on their products, because it says it trademarked the term back in the 60s. Can you smell that? Like DB's Radler, it’s the stench of a corporate attempting to wield its power. But will Fonterra’s case stand up in court?
So, DB has trademarked the beer name “Radler” for its Monteith’s brand, to the despair of independent brewers who say “Radler” is a style of beer, not a brand, and shouldn't be owned by a beverage behemoth. It’s a battle begging comparison to David and Goliath, but then it seems so many trademark cases are. Here's our pick of the persnickety trademark bunch ©.
Do you think the new Countdown/Woolies “W” logo looks like an apple? Go figure. Apple certainly thinks so, and has launched a legal campaign to stop the Australian company from using it. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Woolworths filed a trademark application last August and will plaster the logo ...