Some trademark owners are bullies:
- addidas® thinks any representation of three lines is infringing.
- McDonald’s® paid the price for pushing too hard to protect BIG MAC®.
- Monster® thinks it owns all the claw marks.
Other trademark owners are legitimately aggressive in protecting their rights:
- The United States Olympic Committee shuts down all uses of OLYMPIC®.
- VESPA® vigorously protects its iconic scooter design mark.
Here are some of the logos Apple, Inc. has gone after in one 12-month period.
What do you think? Is Apple, Inc. a bully or legitimately protecting its rights?
To answer that question, we should start with a comparison of the marks themselves and then compare the goods and services sold under the marks we’re comparing.
Here’s Apple Inc.’s logo. Would someone looking at the logos pictured above think of Apple, Inc.?
Here are the goods and services sold under the logos pictured. Which of these are similar to the goods and services sold by Apple, Inc.?
- Meal planning app
- Sales of computers and phones
- Weight loss consulting services
- Case management services to people with disabilities
- Test preparation services
- Sex coaching services
- Online grocery store services
- Speech-language pathology services
- Occupational therapy services
- Health counseling
- Psychological counseling
- Primary and secondary school education
Trademark owners should protect their rights but always with an eye toward whether there’s a genuine likelihood of confusion. So waddaya think, bully or not?
Thank you to Murray L. for the suggestion that led to this post.