Looking famous

15 December 2022

A new trademark, a new logo. Every entrepreneur hopes that this will help them get a new product or service off to a flying start, and some try to enhance the impact with an amusing pun that refers to an already famous trademark when they launch their brand.

Countless companies have tried this approach, for example, a new soft drink called John Lemon was launched a few years ago, but that had to be renamed after Yoko Ono objected to it.

There have recently been two instances of such a logo being filed as a trademark.

An application was submitted In Italy for the trademark JUST DO EAT, a rather obvious reference to Nike, and a new product was launched in Russia called DARTH VAPER. This may be witty, but is it allowed? It is pretty clear that these trademarks are trying to piggyback on the reputation and distinctiveness of famous brands (NIKE and the film Star Wars). Neither NIKE nor Walt Disney are likely to appreciate this and will probably submit an opposition invoking the fame of their trademark (for the sake of convenience, we will assume that Walt Disney has registered Darth Vader as a trademark). However, each company will then have to prove the fame of its trademark, which is almost always a difficult and time-consuming task.

The fact that a court case like this provides free advertising for a new company unfortunately tends to encourage this type of behaviour, but at the end of the day a trademark like this has no future, and entrepreneurs would be better off relying on their own originality and creativity.

Darth Vaper.beeld bij tekst

 

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