Texas Rangers Oppose Bacardi's Logo For Green Tea Spirit Because Of The 'T'

from the texas-tee dept

More alcohol industry trademark news for you folks, except this time the ridiculous party in the story is not in the alcohol industry. This particular dispute revolves around a new liquor from Bacardi called “Tang,” and if you thought the most likely party to object to Bacardi’s trademark application for the new brand was from a soda company, you aren’t alone. Unfortunately, the Texas Rangers, who I’m fairly certain are still in the baseball business, beat everyone else to the punch.

Bacardi’s Tang is a liquor distilled from fermented Chinese green tea. It’s applied to the Patent and Trademark Office to register its “Tang” logo for a tea distilled spirit and alcoholic beverages except beer. The ball club is fighting Bacardi’s registration because, it says, the “T” in Bacardi’s Tang logo looks too much like the “T” in the Texas Rangers logo.

And here are the logos in question, side by side.

Now, while the letters “T” in both logos do look kinda-sorta similar, there’s a slight chance that’s because it’s a single freaking letter in the English language and there are only so many ways to depict a capital “T” in a recognizable way. The only real stylistical similarity in the two “T”s is the outjuts in the mid-section of the stem in each letter — known as “median spurs” and found on lots and lots of typefaces. Other than that, the letters are actually fairly distinct in style. And, of course, the rest of each logo has a shit-ton of other components which all severely demonstrate the source of each logo. This makes customer confusion laughably unlikely, particularly given that the Texas Rangers are known by the public to be in the sporting industry, even though the team claims it holds trademarks on its logo for use on beverages and food services.

Still, the Rangers have claimed that the public might think Tang is affiliated with the team. Which is ridiculous. And yet… it looks like settlement talks are already in the works.

So far, not much has happened in the cancellation proceedings. But one item on the case docket indicates that the matter has been suspended while the parties engage in settlement negotiations.

I’m a bit surprised that Bacardi, a company with the resources to defend itself, is even bothering with the settlement talks. The only way it would make sense to me is if the “settlement” was light on any monetary exchange, because the Rangers don’t have much of a chance on this one.

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Companies: bacardi, texas rangers

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Comments on “Texas Rangers Oppose Bacardi's Logo For Green Tea Spirit Because Of The 'T'”

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PaulT (profile) says:

Weirdly, the Rangers logo just reminded me Tennent’s lager, though as I checked I see the T is a bit different from the can of Special brew I had in my mind. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellpark_Brewery

Still I wouldn’t be thinking that either Bacardi or the sports team had anything to do with them for a vaguely similar logo, even if it did match my memory.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have to side with the Texas Rangers on this one. It’s the same if someone decided to use the stylish “M” in McDonalds for a beverage called Moothbys. You cannot appropriate a design that is legally owned by another company and then call it your own.

This patent BS has grown out of control. Simply because Bacardi would then turn around and sue Texas Rangers for using the “T” in their name.

The only purpose behind Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents is to sue people. They have no basis in the world of business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don’t fault the parties for attempting to settle. Having just been through a civil jury trial myself, I can say judges don’t look kindly on parties who don’t attempt to settle before a jury trial begins. The jury phase is very costly for all involved, so judges would rather see disputes dismissed before they get that far. If the judge later learns of nonexistent, improper or insincere settlement attempts, it can result in a penalty, e.g. a reversal of court costs.

Vidiot (profile) says:

Typographically, those two “T’s” aren’t the same… in fact, I would suspect the Bacardi designer didn’t draw a character by hand, but used an existing font. No, I can’t magically find it among the hundreds of thousands out there; but take a look at this search for old-west style fonts… at least a third have that pointy accent in the middle of any vertical strokes.

One thing it does bear a striking resemblance to? The letter “T”.

DannyB (profile) says:

It's Texas Rangers' own fault

If you want your logo to be unique, then come up with a unique logo. Don’t make your logo based around a common symbol such as a letter, or moon or sun, for example.

Surely you can afford a designer to come up with something nobody would think of. Do something creative like high tech companies do. Like for example, a large red letter G.

Anonymous Coward says:

Misleading title...

When I saw “Texas Rangers” in the title, I thought it was the REAL Texas Rangers suing Baccardi.

In short, there’s way more potential for confusion between the government agency and the baseball team than there could ever be between a hardball team and a hard drink. But I guess the government agency’s logo doesn’t contain outjuts on a T, instead using a 5-sided star.

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