from the deer-milwaukee dept
Just when you think you've seen it all in silly trademark filings, along comes a liquor company to block the trademark application for the logo of an NBA basketball team. Jagermeister, a liquor I haven't thought about since my college days because I'm a grownup that drinks grownup drinks, has decided that the logo for the Milwaukee Bucks is too similar to its own logo and must be stopped.
Germany-based Mast-Jägermeister SE has filed its opposition to the Milwaukee Bucks trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The notice, filed Thursday, argues that there is a likelihood of confusion between the two logos, a false suggestion of connection and a dilution of the Jägermeister logo’s “distinctive quality.” Jägermeister says the services provided by the two organizations “are so related” that it creates the potential for confusion. The potential for confusion “is enhanced by the extraordinary fame” of Jägermeister’s trademarks, the notice says.
Here are the logos in question.
Similar? Sure, I suppose, although there are fairly distinct differences between the two logos that would probably keep any customer confusion at bay. There are those lines within the circle on Jagermeister's logo, for instance. Also that big cross at the top, there, I suppose, because Jesus was a huge fan of Bavarian digestifs. Also, and this is a minor point only, the basketball franchise's name is right there on their logo.
Regardless of all of that, whatever involvement Jagermeister has in markets other than beverages is minimal, it doesn't have anything to do with basketball, nor would it amount to creating any confusion within the public. All of which Jagermeister has essentially acknowledged in a statement saying that that it is really just wasting everyone's time with all of this while trotting out everyone's favorite excuse for paining someone else's ass with trademark law.
On Monday, Jägermeister's trademark attorney, Katrin Lewertoff of Connecticut apologized for the delay and issued a statement suggesting there really is no trademark tiff.
"Jägermeister and the Milwaukee Bucks have been cooperating on this issue for months," she said. "The filing was a formality to preserve our intellectual property rights. We expect to come to an agreement with the team soon and appreciate the climate of partnership and fair cooperation with the Milwaukee Bucks in the process."
Soon after, the Bucks chimed in with, "“The Bucks have been working amicably with Jägermeister throughout this process and we are confident that we will come to a resolution very soon.”
So everyone is going to end up playing nice over this, but Jagermeister had to block the application in order to preserve it's trademark rights. It's the same excuse we see time and time again and it's almost always false. In this case, for instance, the law only obligates Jagermeister to police it's trademarks in the face of true infringement or confusion. There is none in this case, so the blocking of the application was not necessary.
Whatever the purpose of trademark has become in modern times, I doubt the framers had intended it to simply create busy work for lawyers and USPTO employees.