Trademark News & Screw-ups Jaguar alleges Christopher Ward infringed its trademark with its D-Type watch

The first reaction may be to say that watches and cars are unrelated goods and services for the purposes of trademarks. And they may well be. But this raises a larger issue. The idea behind the trademarking system that does not grant an absolute monopoly over a certain word, phrase, or an image to a brand owner but grants a monopoly over the mental link between such word, phrase, or image AND specific products and services was to allow unrelated businesses to coexist under similar or even identical brands as long as the public was not confused into believing that such unrelated goods and services came from the same source. As we see today, many businesses are trying to take advantage of the system by launching products in completely new niches under well-known brands. Their argument is, well, we're not doing anything remotely similar to what their trademark is registered for, so we should be free to do that. My take on this is that intent should be one of the main factors in determining whether the use of someone else's brands for unrelated goods and services should be considered trademark infringement. If the goods and services are indeed unrelated, there should not be any reason for you to pay homage to the well-known brand, should there? So when the watch manufacturer in their catalog claims that the watch has an "original D-Type speedometer inspired dial," it proves that the brand was not chosen by coincidence. My drawing the parallel between the brands, I believe the watch manufacturer should be considered to have lost the argument that the goods are not related. They BECOME related by virtue of you creating that mental link between your goods and services and those of someone else.

The video below features Andrei Mincov's commentary of this article.



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