April 7, 2007
Company Name Wrangle a Short Fuse
Ad Age reported earlier this week that an independent marketing company in Vermont called Fuse LLC is suing Omnicom’s new Fuse Sports & Entertainment for trademark infringement. The Vermont Fuse worked on the Mountain Dew campaign as well as the winter X-Games and is naturally concerned that a newly merged division of the $11 billion Omnicom behemoth has decided to use the same company name.
David Burn at AdPulp has been following this story as Omnicom announced the ignition of its own Fuse at the end of March, and answers Ad Age’s observation that Fuse LLC has not initiated litigation against two similarly named companies in St. Louis and California because the former has signed a licensing agreement with Fuse and the latter is not a competitor in the marketplace.
Mediaweek points out that that may be true, but there is also a cable music channel that uses the Fuse name (not to be confused with hi def video site with the newly announced brand name, Vuze as well as "an Internet unit of Cincinnati Bell." Another marketing entity uses the Fuse name: the Fuse Brand Identity and Package Conference.
Customers are not about to confuse any of these brand names with Fuse LLC, however. On the other hand, any small marketer (Fuse LLC has 35 employees), has to take notice when a branding company the size of Omnicom decides to share the same name. Yes, the name "Fuse" may be rather common, but not as common as "Fusion", and even there the product names tend to stay out of each other's territories.
Bill Carter, a partner at Fuse LLC, says that "We will never allow Omnicom to use our name, no matter what the cost, and no matter how long this takes, we will defend ourselves from them as if our professional lives are at stake because, in fact, they are."
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