I’ll admit it: as Etsy’s in-house attorney, I love reading legal disputes and thinking about what important issues each side should stress. I especially like to analyze pending copyright, trademark, and patent cases. I daydream about what points I would argue if I were the lawyer for each side and then I put on my imaginary judge’s robe and make a decision.
Well, here’s your chance. If you were the judge, what would you decide on this real-life on-going legal battle? (Remember, this issue hasn’t gone to court yet).
GreenNYC is New York City’s campaign for environmental sustainability of the air, land, and water. The GreenNYC logo shows a sweeping letter “N” forming the shape of an apple with a stem and a leaf. This logo can be found all around The Big Apple, including on bus shelters and hybrid gasoline-electric taxicabs.
Apple, Inc. is popular technology lifestyle brand that, among other things, designs and makes computer products and personal electronics (aren’t we all familiar with it?). Apple’s logo is the shape of an apple with a simple leaf and a bite out of the right side.
NYC & Company applied for a registered trademark for the GreenNYC logo, but Apple filed a formal opposition on January 16, 2008. Apple argues that GreenNYC’s logo is very similar to the famous Apple logo, in appearance and commercial impression. Apple also claims that certain GreenNYC goods are identical, or highly related to goods and services Apple has offered. Therefore, GreenNYC’s logo will likely cause dilution of Apple’s marks and consumer confusion.
According to a Wired.com article, the City believes that Apple’s arguments lacks merit and no customer is likely to be confused.
As I explained in my previous trademark article, U.S. trademark law is meant to protect consumers from being confused about where a product comes from. So what do YOU think? Is the GreenNYC logo too close to the Apple logo as to cause a risk of confusion in your mind? In the comments below, you be the judge!