One of the most important assets a company has — indeed, perhaps its most important one — is its brand. When people think of iconic companies and product, the first thing that often comes to mind is its brand: McDonald’s, Nike, Coca-Cola — these companies are ones that place great importance on their brands.
And how are brands protected? Through trademarks. If any other shoe company were allowed to put the Nike name — or the iconic “swoosh” — on its products, there would be mass confusion. Some companies even are known by their distinctive packaging, let alone the actual product. Coca-Cola has gone to great lengths to make sure that the uniqueness of its bottle design is maintained.
A recent article on our site discussed a recent case involving Jack Daniel’s, the Tennessee distillery that has been producing whiskey for generations. Jack Daniel’s filed a lawsuit against an upstart company called Popcorn Sutton’s that it says tried to copy its bottle design — down to the label and lettering.
Jack Daniel’s is seeking the removal of Popcorn Sutton’s products from store shelves. This could be seen as an aggressive move by the senior distillery, but this is the risk that a potential trademark infringer runs when making a product similar to an existing one.
Of course, trademark protection is available to products and companies of many shapes, sizes and fame. An experienced intellectual property attorney can help California businesses protect their assets and make sure their trademarks are upheld.