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Discussion in '1965 - 1973 Classic Mustangs -General/Talk-' started by RGS0907, Jun 21, 2006.
Here are some interesting facts about trademarks and what is required to keep them, and how they can be lost.
6. Can trademark rights be lost?
The rights to a trademark can be lost through abandonment, improper licensing or assignment, or genericity. A trademark is abandoned when its use is discontinued with an intent not to resume its use. Such intent can be inferred from the circumstances. Moreover, non-use for three consecutive years is prima facie evidence of abandonment. The basic idea is that trademark law only protects marks that are being used, and parties are not entitled to warehouse potentially useful marks. So, for example, a recent case held that the Los Angeles Dodgers had abandoned rights to the Brooklyn Dodgers trademarkMajor League Baseball Properties, Inc. v. Sed Non Olet Denarius, Ltd., 817 F. Supp. 1103 (S.D.N.Y. 1993).
Trademark rights can also be lost through improper licensing or assignment. Where the use of a trademark is licensed (for example, to a franchisee) without adequate quality control or supervision by the trademark owner, that trademark will be canceled. Similarly, where the rights to a trademark are assigned to another party in gross, without the corresponding sale of any assets, the trademark will be canceled. The rationale for these rules is that, under these situations, the trademark no longer serves its purpose of identifying the goods of a particular provider. Dawn Donut Co., Inc. v. Hart's Food Stores, Inc., 267 F.2d 358 (2d Cir. 1959).
Trademark rights can also be lost through genericity. Sometimes, trademarks that are originally distinctive can become generic over time, thereby losing its trademark protectionKellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co., 305 U.S. 111 (1938). A word will be considered generic when, in the minds of a substantial majority of the public, the word denotes a broad genus or type of product and not a specific source or manufacturer. So, for example, the term "thermos" has become a generic term and is no longer entitled to trademark protection. Although it once denoted a specific manufacturer, the term now stands for the general type of product. Similarly, both "aspirin" and "cellophane" have been held to be generic. Bayer Co. v. United Drug Co., 272 F.505 (S.D.N.Y. 1921). In deciding whether a term is generic, courts will often look to dictionary definitions, the use of the term in newspapers and magazines, and any evidence of attempts by the trademark owner to police its mark.
Entire topic located at following link:
Sorry about the double post!
OK, the fomoco.com is a clear infringement, but wrt the real hobby suppliers (who will ultimately pass their added expenses on to us) I don't buy the "protecting it's trademark" stance . If a car manufacturer big or small were to introduce a new car, performance or otherwise, and try to call it a "Mustang", Ford would have a case. But all of the vendors who support Ford's Mustang aren't infringing on Ford's sales, as Ford stopped making these parts for sale to the public, and has had a legitimate licensing program to protect quality.
I sent Ford an email letting them know that I had intended to buy a new F150, but I would be buying a Dodge if they didn't change their course. Of course I didn't really expect a reply, and none was forthcoming . Yesteday I bought a 4 door Toyota Tacoma pick-up. First "foreign" vehicle I've ever bought. The engine was made in Alabama, and the truck was assembled in California .
I hope my '69 Mach isn't the last Ford I own. My 3 kids are too big for another Mustang to be practical right now, but in 3 years, I'll be looking to buy new again, and by then my oldest son will be driving the other two around. I'd love a new GT 'stang! Sure hope Ford changes course!
I twice filled out and submitted the proper application for Ford's reproduction parts license program. By doing so, I was showing a willingness to pay them a 10% royalty on my sales for the right to take advantage of their "Ford" trademark. What a joke! They didn't even reply. I visited their booth at SEMA 6 months later and the manager of the program claimed that he had been too busy to get to my application. This is how Ford supports the legitimate classic car restoration parts aftermarket!
Due to its length, I won't copy ultrastang's post as I respond to it. I understand your point, but there is a big difference between a 'thermos' and a 'Mustang.' It's a VERY loooonnnnggg stttreeetttccchhh to imagine any company other than Ford producing a car, calling it a Mustang, and the genericity principle kicking in to the point that people would forget what a true Mustang is. Mopar guys, Chevy guys, import guys (for all their faults, LOL) are not going to be fooled just because you slap a badge on a car.
I love Mustangs. But, it's more than a little self-righteous to imagine that the Mustang name is such an icon that it could become a generic name for cars in general. Granted, where I live it's not uncommon for people to refer to any soda as a "Coke," but it's very different w/ cars. Even if it did evolve to this point, the other manufacturers wouldn't let their product fall into a 'generic' category. Everyone wants to be distinct.
To make a short story long, its just not a feasible explanation for the hard line that Ford has taken. And, if Ford really thinks that every one should have "what is theirs," how about reimbursing all of these previously approved aftermarket manufacturers for the years of free advertising that they have received?
Maybe Remington and other gun manufacturers should go after Ford for all the $$$ they made off the name 'Bullitt,' given its 'genericity.'
I had been looking up legal information on trademarks, so I thought I would post the link to some information I found, if anyone was interested in reading the info.
I don't agree with the way Ford is going about this. As I've said, and as it's already been mentioned, Ford has been fully aware for many years now that others have had the words "Ford" or "Mustang" in their business titles. The vintage Mustang industry is in no direct competition with Ford, so I can't see how this is any "threat" to them. Ford doesn't support the vintage Mustang market, and apparently, they don't won't anyone else to either.
It hasn't been a problem for Ford until recently. Is it a problem now because of their "fear" of losing the rights to the mark? or, is it because sales are way down, and they are desperate to make money by any means?
If Ford is just trying to satisfy their investors, they better step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Stockholders have an invested interest in a company, but it's the loyal patrons that support the company and make it possible for the head clowns and employees to have a steady paycheck. Without customers, there is no company.
I think that's what it really boils down to. I think we are all in agreement that Ford *needs* to protect their trademarks. (Wouldn't want to see a Renault Mustang after all)
You just don't screw over people who have been your loyal friends and supporters when there's other ways to accomplish that.
I printed up my "Boycott Ford" signs for all 3 of my stangs I also printed up fliers with the news article on what Ford is doing in case anyone asks why a Mustang owner would want to boycott Ford.
I think you hit the nail on the head, ultrastang. Another thing that upper level administration at Ford should consider is how they allocate their money. Take a look at the salaries and bonuses of execs at Honda and Toyota, and compare them to the monster salaries and bonuses of some of those at Ford. The import companies seem a lot more concerned w/ putting money back into the development of product. Maybe that's why they're killing Ford in sales. And now they're making their move in the truck market...watch out.
Please post the email address so that I can send them an email as well.
There may be some other people on this site who would also like to email Ford.
Here's a good article that Fordmuscle.com sent to my e-mail;