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Articles

The Product with the Parody Trademark: What's Wrong with CHEWY VUITON?

October 26, 2010

Articles

The Product with the Parody Trademark: What's Wrong with CHEWY VUITON?

October 26, 2010

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Anthony L. Fletcher
INTA Trademark Reporter, Vol. 100, No. 5

September – October 2010

Reprinted with permission from the International Trademark Association (INTA), 2010.

In the halcyon year of 1960, Anheuser-Bush’s BUDWEISER beer was riding the crest of five years of marketing under the slogan “Where there’s life . . . there’s Bud,” and more than a quarter of a century of “Where there’s life . . . there’s Budweiser.” More than forty million dollars’ advertising supported the result of surveys showing that “a substantial portion of the public was not only acquainted and familiar with the slogans but also associated the slogans with Budweiser beer.”  Chemical Corporation of America (CCA) made and sold “a floor wax which contains an insecticide”  under the brand name FREEWAX, and advertised it using the catchy slogan “Life on Floors . . . Death on Bugs.” When CCA decided to switch to the even catchier slogan “Where there’s life . . . there’s bugs,” it knew of Anheuser’s “Where there’s life . . . there’s Bud.” This was a strategically sound admission, because nobody was likely to believe the similarity was coincidence. Shortly after commencing suit, Anheuser obtained a supplemental registration of “Where’s there’s life . . . there’s Bud.”

The court endorsed the lower court’s enjoining CCA’s use of its new slogan. In so doing, it said: “defendant’s use of the slogan was confusingly similar to plaintiff’s. . . . [T]he rhythm, meter and pictures which appeared at the time that the slogan was used, when taken as a whole, created the impression that defendant’s advertising had some connection with the plaintiff or plaintiff’s product.” That may be a modest stretch, but it seems plain that the CCA advertising appeared to have some ancestral connection to the BUD advertising, which certainly lent support to the court’s “impression [of] some connection.”

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