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September 8, 2008

Trademark and Naming: the Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Trademark law is a special interest of mine, not least because I am always interested in how good brand names are used (licensed) and misused (trading off someone's brand equity).

lamborghini-logo.pngThe Good: Lamborghini is now licensing its name for office equipment, which looks pretty interesting to a car loving desk jockey.

They also have licensed their name for a men's jewelry line. Here we see high end, finely crafted products that reflect well upon the mother brand: the watches offer "classic styling and superior performance under the most demanding conditions."

The Bad: AAA is defending its well known trademark against various pretenders, including one outfit called AAA logo.pngAAA Smogz and another company based in Tacoma called AAA Insurance, Inc.

The real question is whether or not there is a likelihood of confusion between the real AAA and a few imitators? The obvious answer, yes! The real AAA offers insurance and of course car related products and services. Many would consider this outright theft and we wish the real AAA well in its efforts to protect its very recognizable brand name.

tatanano.gifThe Ugly: The Tata Nano, India's answer to The Beetle, already had its clever naming poached by . . . bakers? Small time fruit cake makers in India are using the Nano name to sell their products and there is nothing that Tata can do about it. What's makes this even more interesting is that these fruitcakes just grab any name that is in the news and run with it. "People may not have any idea of the product or its quality but they will want to nano-ipodhand.pngbuy one just out of curiosity." This has led some people to think that auto giant Tata is now in the cake biz.

You have to wonder what Steve Jobs is thinking. Some people think Tata grabbed the Nano name after seeing the success of the iPod Nano.

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Posted by Diane Prange at September 8, 2008 10:34 AM
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