Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pentone and Pentomime: 50 shades of corporate trademark

Image source here
Exxon Mobil is suing FX TV station for the interlocking XX claiming it confuses end users - because naturally, when one is watching television one is tempted to park the car and fill up its tank in the process. In other corporate copyright news today, we are still - until further notice - allowed to use purple for chocolate wrappings even if we are not Cabdury.
If however you intend to make a red shoe, do note that the soles should only be red if the whole shoe is, otherwise you would be infringing on a Louboutin trademark (Yves Saint Laurent was locked in a bitter court battle with Christian Louboutin over this), and of course it should not be Coca-Cola red.
Please do not be blue about all of this, simply because you might be offending "Tiffany blue" or "Gitanes blue" - thankfully no oil corporation (not even Exxon Mobil) has sued to trademark "petroleum blue" - so if you are to be blue or sad, watch out which shade you are picking.
Now let's go back to basics before we get too entangled in this, you know the CMYK - ooops! Sorry I should say CYK - Cyan, Yellow, Key (black) - because the M (that's for Magenta) is already trademarked for T-Mobile in the US.
Wait, it gets worse! Before you make a post-it note of all these colors, you should keep in mind that the canary-yellow on those cute sticking items is already trademarked by... Post-it (Microsoft has a spat with them when they introduced their desktop notes)... Of course, the Post-it yellow is not to be confused with the John Deere yellow (which has green next to it), Caterpillar yellow (trademarked) or Veuve Cliquot yellow (don't get too tipsy and steal it). Now that M and Y are out, let's just stick to CK (no offence to Calvin Klein!).
Corporations are apparently going to great length to protect themselves - in colors and otherwise (a young Canadian teenager who had a web development business called Mike Roe Soft received a call from one of the world's biggest companies - guess which one? - to have him change the name of his business) - don't get upset and turn brown you might just be upsetting the UPS trademarked color.
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