Trademark

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
baseball, drinks, t, tang, trademark

Companies:
bacardi, texas rangers



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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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Sep 2016 @ 11:16pm

    Hey

    Hey Bacardi, watch your serifs!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 12:40am

    Even if the Ts were exactly the same, it's absurd to have a trademark on a single letterface style, especially since it's most likely from an existing typeface that you can't own because typefaces aren't able to be copyrighted in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 23 Sep 2016 @ 1:28am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 2:27am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 2:34am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 5:03am

      Re:

      Yeah how dare they demand the right to a trial that is their right in this nation. Just because the nation happens to be abusing the legal system to railroad the vast majority of cases, doesn't mean they have to like when you insist on your trial.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 23 Sep 2016 @ 5:21am

    The T are different.

    What are you talking about. The one T looks like a capital T. While the other looks like a Capital T. One T looks like it was accomplished by a trained professional typist artist while the other looks like a middle schooler was drunk with crayons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 23 Sep 2016 @ 5:30am

    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".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 23 Sep 2016 @ 5:41am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Manok, 23 Sep 2016 @ 6:31am

    *I* would do this on purpose... No ad campaign gets Tang that much mentioned as causing a conflict like this.

    Next fight will be with a Chinese company called Tang.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Skeeter, 23 Sep 2016 @ 9:11am

    Tang?

    I think a MUCH BIGGER issue here may be had by General Foods Corporation, who produced Tang (the breakfast drink) since 1957. (Now owned by Mondelez International).

    I think if I were Mondelez Int., I'd be having a talk with Bacardi about now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 9:45am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2016 @ 12:06pm

    Tangoholic

    Bacardi’s Tang is a liquor distilled from fermented Chinese green tea.
    The Guardian, three days ago: “China's Tiangong-1 space station 'out of control' and will crash to Earth”.

    What proof is that tea?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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