In the final blog of our five-part series on the music industry, our bloggers showcase the top trademark infringement litigations that found companies fighting tooth and nail to protect their identity.
Jabra under a new umbrella
Imagine the day when you look up the availability of products that your company manufactures and the search engine pops up a website that bears your company’s name but has no relationship with you. Denmark-based hands-free telephonic headsets manufacturer GN Netcom, which owns the Jabra brand of headsets, was in for such a rude shock when it found Pennsylvania-based Foundation One, Inc. had purchased and registered the domain name jabra-headsets.com
In its infringement contentions, GN Netcom stated that Foundation One had not just used a name that related to its unique world-class brand of headsets, but also designed its website in a manner that would goad a customer into believing that it was affiliated to the brand Jabra. GN Netcom sought an injunction and pleaded the court to order Foundation One to not just stop its infringing practices, but also hand over all the infringing domain names that it holds to GN.
The skeletal suit
Headphone and music-related apparel & accessories manufacturer Skullcandy took it in the offensive when music-related accessories and apparel brand Skelanimals registered its trademark on lines similar to the Park City company.
Skullcandy, which was established in 2003 and grew to capture a sizable market in the action sports and music headsets collaborative industry, stated that the logo of Skelanimals, which earned a copyright only in 2008, was damaging its value. Skullcandy’s trademark image is believed to be a distinctive logo that brings music, fashion and actions ports under one roof. However, Skelanimals’ logo could confuse consumers, it contended.
Many of Skelanimals logos on the headphones, earphones, mp3 players, portable media players, digital audio players, protective helmets and clothing bear a striking similarity to Skullcandy’s. This is despite the fact that Skullcandy’s target customers are the sporty youth and Skelanimals primarily caters to the interests of children and pre-teens. However, when it comes to protecting its trade in a wholesome way, Skullcandy wants to take no chances with its marketing face.
The power of wave
It is no secret that Bose Corp. can tie heaven and earth down to protect its patents and trademarks. As a company that prides in its highly advanced acoustic products, Bose earned name and fame with its range of loudspeaker systems that were equipped with its registered Wave and Acoustic Wave technologies. It was no wonder that when OSC Audio Products, LLC applied to register its trademark POWERWAVE for its amplifiers and power amplifiers, Bose objected stating that the ‘WAVE’ was its exclusive trademark and QSC’s use of it could confuse consumers.
However, Bose was unable to provide strong contentions to thwart QSC’s application to register the POWERWAVE. The Board hearing Bose’s contentions ruled that the company was not entitled to claim fame for its registered marks. Besides, it could not demonstrate any major similarities between its trademark and that of POWERWAVE.
Bose then went on to appeal to the circuit judge at Clevenger where its appeals were recognized and accepted with due benefit given to the company’s claim to fame with its trademarks. Consequently, QSC was denied the registration of its POWERWAVE mark. It was with much struggle that QSC managed to prevail over Bose and go ahead to trademark and release its POWERWAVE amplifiers.
(Featured image source: https://pixabay.com/p-1012475/?no_redirect)