trademark wars

BP Hopes to Prevail in Green Trademark Claim in Australia

Posted by Jerome McDonnell on July 3, 2014 12:56 PM

After more than 20 years of trying, BP has failed to convince the Australian government that its signature shade of green should be granted a trademark registration.

IP Australia, which administers that country’s intellectual property rights system, ruled on June 17 that it found no convincing evidence to support the petroleum giant’s efforts to protect the color shade Pantone 348C—despite the fact that the color has been central to the BP brand since the 1930s. While the company has the right (until July 17) to appeal, this decision is yet another setback for BP, which has successfully secured trademark registrations for the single color in markets including the UK, France, Iran and nearby New Zealand.

Australian retailer Woolworths, whose apple logo also utilizes the color green, had previously opposed BP’s attempts to register the color, and while some media reports have positioned this development as a huge victory for Woolworths, this latest update focuses on less the a war between two corporations but on whether the color, as BP seeks to protect it, actually functions as a trademark and warrants protection.Continue reading...

diversity watch

Burger King Courts LGBT Community and Millennials With Proud Whopper

Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 2, 2014 12:21 PM

Pride Month may have just come to a close, but Burger King is looking to make it last a bit longer with the showcasing of its Proud Whopper, a burger sold in a San Francisco location during last week’s Gay Pride festivities that is no different from other Whoppers but came encased in brightly-colored paper.

When the burger was unwrapped, the text inside read, “We are all the same inside.” The brand unveiled a video today about the burger (watch below) as the chain is working “to connect with customers, particularly with the younger individuals fast-food chains are known for courting,” the Associated Press reports.

"A burger has never made me cry before," a young woman says in BK's pride burger spot. Reaching consumers on a personal level was also the rationale behind the brand’s recent replacement of its longtime “Have It Your Way” slogan with “Be Your Way.”Continue reading...

sporting brands

Change the Mascot Hails Cancellation of Washington Redskins Trademarks

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 18, 2014 11:56 AM

The fight against the Washington Redskins mascot just got a whole lot more interesting.

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office cancelled the organization's trademarks related to its team mascot after the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) ruled that the marks were "disparaging" to Native Americans. 

While the trademarks are no longer viable, the team can continue to use them—though with no protection from unauthorized merchants that sell Redskins gear, a stipulation that could drive the team's valuation down over time.

The action was the result of a lawsuit against the team filed by “five Native Americans” eight years ago, the USPTO said. “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” lead attorney Jesse Witten, of Drinker Biddle & Reath, told the Washington Post.Continue reading...

design watch

Logo Watch: Random Thoughts on Building a House For a Penguin

Posted by Matt van Leeuwen on June 14, 2014 01:42 PM

Finally, Penguin and Random House have a new corporate identity. For months there was speculation over what the merger would bring. 

Logo mashups inevitably emerged, ranging from a penguin in the shape of a house (above, by Marco Leone) to a house filled with penguins (by Nickie Huang, below), while an interm logo was adopted in July of last year.

But for those hoping for a serious mashup, or a radical departure, stop the presses: The Penguin logo remains untouched, a missed opportunity to refresh a classic mark, the Coca-Cola of book logos.Continue reading...

end of an era

#DearMassimo: A Tribute to Timeless Elegance

Posted by Forest Young on May 29, 2014 10:41 AM

Flying over Omaha at 37,000 feet en route to a conference in Denver, I'm reflecting on the passing of the great Massimo Vignelli this week, and my favorite piece of Vignelli design. Coincidentally, it is a poster about Denver. Designed to promote Denver as a candidate city for the 1976 Winter Olympics, this artifact for me is a telling signature of the man that we are still mourning.

The poster expresses a simple and telegraphic logic, it is coldly precise, yet uplifting. Five rings, three rows, two columns, two colors, two rules, and Helvetica—in two sizes. Designed for a city that ultimately rejected the winter games awarded to it in 1972 amidst contested debates over infrastructure, funding and environmental impact, Vignelli's poster, in contrast, implies a cool order and uniformity that was his best intention for Denver. It is absent of indecision, friction or noise. The man and his design are inseparable.Continue reading...

ready for takeoff

Spirit Airlines: No Longer Content to be the Honey Badger of Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 7, 2014 03:17 PM

Spirit Airlines may be a discount airline but it has received plenty of press in recent years for all of the fees (or as Spirit likes to call it, "optional services") it has charged customers, such as a fee for printing a boarding pass at the airport, or cost-cutting that shoehorns a dozen extra seats than competitors within the same size plane.

That kind of move has "won" the brand such accolades as being the only U.S. carrier on the World's Worst Airlines and the worst-performing U.S. airline. It has been recognized for hiring the "rudest flight attendants" and being the "most complained about" airline. It has inspired such venom that customers have formed Boycott Spirit Airlines and Spirit Airlines Sucks groups, not to mention the requisite nod by The Onion.

Yet none of that seemed to bother its leadership team. Being the honey badger of brands for just not giving a damn was a badge of dishonor that Spirit wore proudly—or at least wore—until now.Continue reading...

auto motive

#FCA5: Marchionne Unveils 5-Year Plan for Fiat Chrysler Brands

Posted by Dale Buss on May 6, 2014 10:01 AM

When Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne hatched the company's first five-year plan in 2009, he was cut some slack because most constituencies were just happy Chrysler was still in business after going bankrupt.

But while sales for Chrysler and its brands in the U.S. have recovered far beyond the hopes of most of its executives, employees, and dealers at the time, the company has performed far less impressively where it's going to count most for the long term: molding a family of solid and differentiated brands, each with product lineups that not only justify each marque's existence but stand out on the vehicles' respective merits as well.

So anticipation is high for Marchionne's analyst day briefing today at Chrysler group HQ in Auburn Hills, Michigan (follow the conversation with #FCA5).

In addition to officially revealing the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corporate logo, Marchionne and his brand leaders will outline how FCA plans to transition from successful survivalist to transformed titan and ensure a long-term future in a global auto business that continues to get more competitive, detailing specific goals and sales targets across its marques.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

Branded Entertainment Extends FIFA World Cup Fever Off the Field

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 5, 2014 04:43 PM

In just over a month, the world's top soccer players will take to the field and do battle from June 12 to July 13 in soccer's quadrennial blockbuster event, the FIFA World Cup. Big brands, though, are already tangling and showing their soccer cred in hopes of winning the hearts and minds of the billions that get a glimpse of the World Cup. The Super Bowl is nothing compared with this.

With a relationship with FIFA dating back to 1974, and as an official sponsor of the FIFA World Cup since 1978, Coca-Cola is celebrating this year's event with what it's billing as the largest marketing campaign in company history, entitled The World's Cup. Aimed at involving as many consumers as possible, the campaign kicked off in early April with a two-minute short film, called "One World, One Game."Continue reading...

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