Using the wrong word in a bar can get you into a brawl, but if recent news from the trademark front is any indication, a word—just one word—can get a brand hit with a lawsuit. A number of high-profile companies are duking it out over words they claim are theirs alone to use. Why now? Veteran branding consultant Dean Crutchfield notes that brands expanding in the international sphere are more likely to step on the trademarked names of ones already there. “It’s easier for global brands to control trademark infringement internationally, but much harder for national brands to safeguard their trademark internationally,” he said. Below, a look at the words everybody’s fighting about.
Who Owns “Pink”?
Victoria’s Secret launched its Pink line for juniors in 2002. But when the collection sashayed into the U.K. in 2012, LVMH-owned shirtmaker Thomas Pink turned red. On Aug. 1, a London judge ordered Victoria’s Secret to find a new color (and name).
British liquor giant Diageo PLC’s George Dickel is having a row with Brown-Forman- owned Jack Daniel’s over the designation of “Tennessee” whiskey, which state legislators ruled has to be distilled and stored in Tennessee.
German video game developer Black Forest is locked in an epic battle with Italian fashion brand Diesel over the use of the word Diesel—which appears in a new video game called DieselStörmers. Black Forest says it won't back down.
Portugal's soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is coming to America with his line of underwear bearing his nickname, CR7. He's being sued by American fitness guru Christopher Renzi, who has a trademark for a clothing line under the same nickname.
Kate Spade brand Saturday got hauled to court earlier this year by rival Saturday Surf over the use of Saturday. Kate won in spades. The court also ruled that Saturday being a name of a day in the week didn’t mean it couldn’t be trademarked.