It’s My Name and My Name Alone

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If Shakespeare boldly questioned “What’s in a name?” today, he probably would have been flooded with responses in his facebook and twitter accounts.

A recent report in the Business Standard magazine went gaga over international home products seller IKEA facing trademark obstacles in India what with at least three Indian companies registered with the same name. Piping interest is also the struggle-of-the-name between Bangalore-based daily deals site Groupon.in and US-based Groupon that had made grand plans to enter the Indian market until it realized the identity crisis staring in its face.

But if absurdity in identity protection is something to go by, there’s nothing to beat German automobile giant Porsche filing a trademark infringement suit against American lightweight-clog manufacturer Crocs. Confused what Porsche has to do with a clog manufacturer? Well, just when the German company released its two-seater
sports coupe, the Porsche Cayman, did Crocs also bring into the market its lightweight clogs named Crocs Cayman, forcing Porsche to worry that the clog’s name would dilute its branding!

Even the US Olympic Committee hasn’t escaped the fear of the name. Ravelry, an online knit and crochet community, had organized a knitting contest called Ravelympics and instead found the USOC creating a conspiracy theory that it later backed out of facing criticism from several quarters.

Talk of getting over-zealous when it comes to tickling the name-worried big brands and there’s none to beat Penn law school. The students took the big leap and designed a poster for an academic conference on the law of fashion fashioned on the lines of Louis Vuitton’s trademark. LV tried the threat and was laughed at in the face by the law-brave students!

But this incident of a Canadian 12th grader pitting against Microsoft is for memory. A student of Canadian Belmont high school back in 2003, Mike Rowe decided to make a few bucks by setting up his own web-design business. Going cheeky, he used a phonetic pun and created a domain name MikeRoweSoft.com. And the IT giant screamed foul! Microsoft accused Mike Rowe of trademark infringement and later of cybersquatting, but soon softened its stance after Mike Rowe earned the soft spot of the larger public and garnered widespread support in his fight against Microsoft. The IT czar finally agreed to an out of court settlement and Mike Rowe won a goody bag albeit too heavy!

(Featured image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/29198480@N03/3015998299)

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