Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Apple Lightning Harley Davidson Trademark Deal

The LIGHTNING trademark, OHIM Reg. Nos. 011399821 and 011399862, were first issued to Harley Davidson in 2005. Recently, “Lightning” has also become the preferred moniker for Apple’s smaller, 8-pin dock connector. On or around November 22, 2012, Harley Davidson allegedly “partially transferred” trademark rights to Apple with respect to the LIGHTNING mark.

That’s great. But, what does this really mean? Well, according to the OHIM Trade Mark search database, Harley Davidson still owns trademark rights over the international classes 25, 26 and 18, while Apple now owns the rights over international classes 9 and 28. Cool. So what does this mean? Apple has exclusive rights to use the LIGHTNING mark in connection with such things as eyeglasses, eyeglass frames, goggles, audio and video equipment, recorded computer software, electric signs, toy vehicles, pinball machines, computer game programs, and “games and playthings” in general. On the other hand, Harley Davidson retains exclusive rights to use it in connection with leather and imitation leather goods, travel bags, clothing, footwear, lace, and embroidery.

All in all, this sounds like Apple took appropriate measures by seeking a partial assignment of rights over the LIGHTNING trademark. They reached out to Harley Davidson and came to an agreement as to how they could co-exist in the marketplace rather than rely on the fact that Apple and Harley Davidson would likely use the mark with respect to “different goods.”

Smart decision, Apple! Ultimately, this will avoid costly litigation and retain a good professional relationship with another well-known brand (in regards to trademark usage against Harley Davidson anyway).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kardashian Khroma Chroma Trademark Infringement

The Kardashians already had to deal with being accused of copyright infringement with their purse line, Kardashian Kollection. Now, just last week, Chroma Makeup Studios publicly denounced the Kardashians’ upcoming makeup line “Khroma Beauty by Kourtney, Kim & Khloe.” The Chroma Makeup Studios website’s home page is currently a long letter to its loyal fans declaring that it is in no way, shape, or form associated with the Kardashians. Further, it states a little blurb about the Federal trademark law and how the founders, Lisa Casino and Michael Rey III are “taking all appropriate steps to defend its reputation and the 12 years of goodwill [they] have built under the CHROMA MAKEUP STUDIO trademark.” But are these statements enough?

Oddly, after searching the USPTO, we were unable to find any registered or currently pending applications for Chroma Makeup Studio, under its business name or its other marks in which they claim trademark rights for including Chroma Colour, Croma Makeup Studio, Colour-Purity-You. But not surprisingly, the Kardashians have filed multiple applications for variations of KHROMA BEAUTY BY KOURTNEY, KIM, & KHLOE incorporating the “Khroma” mark.

We’re not clear why Chroma has not filed any applications as far as we can tell, and we won’t speculate either. However, without a registered trademark enforcement of their mark will be a bit trickery against the Kardashian’s. With that said, the question still remains – is the Kardashian’s “KHROMA” mark likely to confuse consumers or otherwise infringe upon the “CHROMA” mark? Maybe, maybe not, that would be up to a jury to decide. But even without a registered trademark, if the Chroma Makeup Studio’s letter to its fans were true, in that their customers are already confused, it could provide a strong basis for Chroma.

But another sticky issue that Chroma may have to deal with are the other companies like Revlon that have used the term Chroma, such as, “Revlon Chroma Chameleon” and “Chroma Luminescent” (Mana Products, Inc.). Why do so many cosmetic companies use the word “chroma”? Not sure, maybe, “chroma” has to do with the quality of a color or the “saturation” of a hue? With that said, it then seems appropriate that “chroma” has been used in connection with cosmetics, hair color, and paints. So, perhaps, the Kardashians may have a defense there.