Hypothetically, a group of neighbors starts a small company that only operates for a few hours each week and puts out a product with a potentially infringing mark. However, they only produce a very small amount of this product and sell just enough to cover their production costs. Even though the hypothetical small business with the potentially infringing mark is not yielding massive profits, the company that owns the registered trademark is still entitled to shut down their production.
For example, a small brewery outside of Bothell, Washington had planned on selling a Superbowl themed beer called the “12th Man Skittles IPA.” One of the athletes who played in the Superbowl has a public love for skittles, so the small business owner thought it would be a nice homage to the athlete and his team. The beer, which contained real skittles, was to be debuted the day before the Superbowl, until it caught the attention of Texas A&M University, which owns the trademarked phrase “The 12th Man.”
Representatives of Texas A&M University sent the brewery a cease-and-desist letter to “show we are protecting our brand, which is important in the eyes of trademark law,” said A&M’s Vice President. “[I]nfringing use has the potential to dilute our brand.”
If another organization is utilizing trademarked material that is integral to your brand, our Los Angeles trademark infringement attorneys can help. Our legal team has over 25 years of experience defending victims of intellectual property disputes. We will halt production of the infringing materials and recover the compensation that you deserve for your lost profits. For more information, contact us at (323) 653-3900.
Did You Know: The Seattle Seahawks pay Texas A&M $5,000 a year to use the phrase “The 12th Man.”
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