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XP - Trademark Dispute - who owns my name?

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  • Ned Barnett
    I thought this was an interesting little kerfuffle when I saw the headline, and it seems that it might be worth a discussion. Companies can trademark not only
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 22, 2013
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      I thought this was an interesting little kerfuffle when I saw the headline,
      and it seems that it might be worth a discussion.

      Companies can trademark not only logos, but names, and even though they are
      in very narrow businesses, their acts to protect that trademarked name can
      go, perhaps, too far.

      Years ago, the TV network NBC paid a kazillion bucks to have a new logotype
      created - only to discover that Nebraska Public Television had almost the
      same design, trademarked. They were in the same business, and it cost NBC
      $2 million (if memory serves) to straighten that out.

      And decades ago, in Germany, Ford Motors needed to rename their new car, the
      Mustang, because in Germany, North American Aviation had trademarked that
      name for their P-51 fighter plane (at that time, 20 years out of
      production). While one was an obsolete fighter and the other a hot new car,
      the trademark prevailed.

      Now, and the point of this discussion, a football player in the pros named
      Robert Griffith III - who goes by RGIII or RG3 (a nickname given him by fans
      or the media, apparently) - and who has recently set out to trademark those
      two names for purposes of licensing clothing for his fans, has run into a
      problem. A company that makes motorcycle parts, which has already
      trademarked RG3, and they are moving to block the football player from using
      RG3 (or RGIII, even though, apparently, the motorcycle company isn't using
      that and hadn't trademarked that).
      http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000161695/article/robert-griffin-iii-in
      -trademark-dispute-over-rg3-use

      To me, it seems a stretch - from clothing to motorcycle parts, and it also
      seems that a compromise should have been sought, rather than an outright
      ban. I realize that compromise is almost exclusively a Canadian process
      (and I apologize to my Canadian friends), but it seems to me that this has
      gone way too far. Am I wrong? Could a football player infringe on a
      motorcycle parts maker's trademark by putting what he's called by fans and
      the media on a line of clothing?

      It also hits close to home. My father was known as R.G. Barnett (short for
      Richard Graham Barnett); if he'd made me a "junior" and I'd made my son my
      own "junior," then he might conceivably have been called RG3 of RGIII long
      before this footballer was born, and long before this motorcycle parts
      company was created, about 15 years ago. Do I have a case?

      Joking aside, does this company have a case? Should it have a case? Can't
      we all just get along?

      Ned

      Ned Barnett, APR
      Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
      Barnett Marketing Communications
      420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3-276 - Las Vegas NV 89110
      702-561-1167 - cell/text
      <http://www.barnettmarcom.com> www.barnettmarcom.com - twitter @nedbarnett
      <http://pr-marketing2point0.blogspot.com/>
      http://pr-marketing2point0.blogspot.com/

      05-6-16 BMC Logo



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • kezia_jauron
      Just my opinion but a brand is a brand is a brand. Not to get buzzwordy but the motorcycle part company could potentially want to maximize their brand identity
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 23, 2013
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        Just my opinion but a brand is a brand is a brand. Not to get buzzwordy but the motorcycle part company could potentially want to maximize their brand identity by producing logoed clothing and other gear, which isn't a big stretch of the imagination. Motorcycle brands are regarded as cool and edgy (Harley Davidson puts their name on tons of apparel). Branded merchandise is one more way companies get their identities out there, at a time when people are tuning out traditional advertising in droves.

        The football player isn't using his own name, he's using a brand - RG3 - that is already owned by another entity. He hoped to profit by extending this brand into clothing; in other words, he hoped to profit off another entity's brand. (His intention is not exactly as altruistic as you describe.)

        I am somewhat sympathetic since you're implying it was sportswriters who coined the name RG3 rather than his own strategic marketing. However, ultimately, he wasn't the first to stake a claim on those three characters in that particular sequence. Ya snooze ya lose, and sports are no exception. Just ask Pat Riley, who trademarked "threepeat" hella quick!



        --- In prbytes@yahoogroups.com, "Ned Barnett" <ned@...> wrote:

        > To me, it seems a stretch - from clothing to motorcycle parts, and it also
        > seems that a compromise should have been sought, rather than an outright
        > ban. I realize that compromise is almost exclusively a Canadian process
        > (and I apologize to my Canadian friends), but it seems to me that this has
        > gone way too far. Am I wrong? Could a football player infringe on a
        > motorcycle parts maker's trademark by putting what he's called by fans and
        > the media on a line of clothing?
        >
      • Ned Barnett
        You make some interesting points, Kezia. Thanks for your input on this question. Ned Ned Barnett, APR Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
        Message 3 of 4 , Apr 23, 2013
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          You make some interesting points, Kezia. Thanks for your input on this
          question.

          Ned

          Ned Barnett, APR
          Marketing & PR Fellow, American Hospital Association
          Barnett Marketing Communications
          420 N. Nellis Blvd., A3-276 - Las Vegas NV 89110
          702-561-1167 - cell/text
          <http://www.barnettmarcom.com> www.barnettmarcom.com - twitter @nedbarnett
          <http://pr-marketing2point0.blogspot.com/>
          http://pr-marketing2point0.blogspot.com/

          05-6-16 BMC Logo

          From: prbytes@yahoogroups.com [mailto:prbytes@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
          kezia_jauron
          Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 11:53 AM
          To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [prbytes] Re: XP - Trademark Dispute - who owns my name?


          Just my opinion but a brand is a brand is a brand. Not to get buzzwordy but
          the motorcycle part company could potentially want to maximize their brand
          identity by producing logoed clothing and other gear, which isn't a big
          stretch of the imagination. Motorcycle brands are regarded as cool and edgy
          (Harley Davidson puts their name on tons of apparel). Branded merchandise is
          one more way companies get their identities out there, at a time when people
          are tuning out traditional advertising in droves.

          The football player isn't using his own name, he's using a brand - RG3 -
          that is already owned by another entity. He hoped to profit by extending
          this brand into clothing; in other words, he hoped to profit off another
          entity's brand. (His intention is not exactly as altruistic as you
          describe.)

          I am somewhat sympathetic since you're implying it was sportswriters who
          coined the name RG3 rather than his own strategic marketing. However,
          ultimately, he wasn't the first to stake a claim on those three characters
          in that particular sequence. Ya snooze ya lose, and sports are no exception.
          Just ask Pat Riley, who trademarked "threepeat" hella quick!

          --- In prbytes@yahoogroups.com <mailto:prbytes%40yahoogroups.com> , "Ned
          Barnett" <ned@...> wrote:

          > To me, it seems a stretch - from clothing to motorcycle parts, and it also
          > seems that a compromise should have been sought, rather than an outright
          > ban. I realize that compromise is almost exclusively a Canadian process
          > (and I apologize to my Canadian friends), but it seems to me that this has
          > gone way too far. Am I wrong? Could a football player infringe on a
          > motorcycle parts maker's trademark by putting what he's called by fans and
          > the media on a line of clothing?
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Samuel L Waltz Jr
          Kezia, great, thank you, certainly an insightful reflection, certainly to your point that RG3 is not his name, but the brand that he s trying to build and
          Message 4 of 4 , Apr 23, 2013
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            Kezia, great, thank you, certainly an insightful reflection, certainly to your point that RG3 is not his name, but the brand that he's trying to build and leverage to riches. Sam


            Samuel L. Waltz Jr., APR, Fellow PRSA

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            ________________________________
            From: prbytes@yahoogroups.com [prbytes@yahoogroups.com] on behalf of kezia_jauron [kezia@...]
            Sent: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 2:53 PM
            To: prbytes@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: [prbytes] Re: XP - Trademark Dispute - who owns my name?



            Just my opinion but a brand is a brand is a brand. Not to get buzzwordy but the motorcycle part company could potentially want to maximize their brand identity by producing logoed clothing and other gear, which isn't a big stretch of the imagination. Motorcycle brands are regarded as cool and edgy (Harley Davidson puts their name on tons of apparel). Branded merchandise is one more way companies get their identities out there, at a time when people are tuning out traditional advertising in droves.

            The football player isn't using his own name, he's using a brand - RG3 - that is already owned by another entity. He hoped to profit by extending this brand into clothing; in other words, he hoped to profit off another entity's brand. (His intention is not exactly as altruistic as you describe.)

            I am somewhat sympathetic since you're implying it was sportswriters who coined the name RG3 rather than his own strategic marketing. However, ultimately, he wasn't the first to stake a claim on those three characters in that particular sequence. Ya snooze ya lose, and sports are no exception. Just ask Pat Riley, who trademarked "threepeat" hella quick!

            --- In prbytes@yahoogroups.com<mailto:prbytes%40yahoogroups.com>, "Ned Barnett" <ned@...> wrote:

            > To me, it seems a stretch - from clothing to motorcycle parts, and it also
            > seems that a compromise should have been sought, rather than an outright
            > ban. I realize that compromise is almost exclusively a Canadian process
            > (and I apologize to my Canadian friends), but it seems to me that this has
            > gone way too far. Am I wrong? Could a football player infringe on a
            > motorcycle parts maker's trademark by putting what he's called by fans and
            > the media on a line of clothing?
            >





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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