Trademark Bullies

Let’s play a guessing game.

There’s a company out there, let’s call it Bully Inc., that’s been accusing other companies of infringing on its trademarks. I’ll describe the “infringements” and let’s see if you can guess the identity of Bully Inc.

Remember, Bully Inc. is claiming that each of these “infringers” is leading consumers to think they’re associated with Bully Inc., so the identity of Bully Inc. should come easily to mind when I tell you about the trademarks the “infringers” are using.

Ready? Let’s go.

Alleged Infringer #1: Thunder Beast LLC owns a registration for the trademark THUNDER BEAST® for “Non-alcoholic beverages, namely, carbonated beverages.” Bully Inc. says that’s likely to confuse consumers and its trying to deregister Thunder Beast’s trademark.

Raptors

Alleged Infringer #2: Bully Inc. also went after the owner of the Toronto Raptors® because their logo (shown to the right) is likely to confuse consumers into thinking that the Raptors are associated with Bully Inc.

Have you figured out who Bully Inc. is yet?

One more hint.

Alleged Infringer #3: Bully Inc. also went after Disney for Disney’s registration of MONSTERS UNIVERSITY® for food products.

. . . .

. . . .

Have you got it? The company bringing all those legal actions (and many more) is Monster Energy Company, makers of Monster Energy® drinks.

If you own a trademark you should defend it against infringers but remember that your trademark rights don’t extend to everyone who uses something vaguely similar to the words or designs in your trademark.

 

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The Trademark Whisperer

  • An idea enters the zeitgeist.
  • Everyone uses the idea for their branding.
  • Trademark infringement results.
  • The trend peaks and dies.
  • The trendy trademarks everyone fought so hard over grow stale.
  • Lather rinse repeat.

How bad is it? Guess how many applications have been filed for some form of this:[1]

THE _________ WHISPERER

Go on guess.

I’ll give you a hint: There are three where the blank is “vagina.”[2]

Take your time. I’ll wait.

395.

Three for THE CHICKEN WHISPERER. Three. Horrifyingly, there’s one for THE BRAND WHISPERER. If that’s the best they can do for their own brand, it’s not the company you want to help with your brand.

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Why not jump on the bandwagon, ride the wave, and mix your metaphors? Because the trend will fade. Probably rapidly. And you’ll end up looking like yesterday’s soufflé. Like RADIO SHACK and DRESS BARN.

The graph shows applications filed for THE _______ WHISPERER since 1995.  It’s already plateaued or, perhaps, headed into the toilet.

The current trend is for sticking LY or LI at the end of a word. Here’s just a partial list of the if-Johnny-jumped-off-a-bridge trademark choices that companies have made.[3]

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The trend for IFY is no better.

  • SHOPIFY
  • CHARGIFY
  • EXPLAINIFY
  • COWORKIFY
  • SCOUTIFY
  • MOBLIFY
  • EXPENSIFY
  • MEDIFY

You want a brand that sets you apart and goes with you no matter where the market takes you. Jumping on the latest trend is good in the short-term, but is not a long-term winning strategy.

 

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[1] All of the statistics in this post are from September 2019.

[2] OK. One of those three is THE VAG WHISPERER, but even so.

[3] There’s an amazing list of over 300 of these ridiculous names on Pinterest®.  https://www.pinterest.com/fritinancy/names-that-end-in-ly/