In mid-January it became known about the unusual similarity of the new logo of Formula 1 and the trademark Futuro, owned by an American company 3M and was registered four months earlier. How it happened and how it threatens the Big Prizes? Meet the experts…
3M [Miningota Mining and Manufacturing] produces a large number of different products including household goods such as adhesive tape and notepads. But the stumbling block has become the brand Futuro, which are issued sports and recreation goods from the category of class 10 [including medical clothing like compression tights]. In the Formula 1 under the new logo will be made, for example, the class 25 goods [clothes, shoes, hats and caps]. Categories different, but the logos are so similar that it automatically erases the difference. In addition, the brand Futuro is registered as a trademark for clothing, even though it is compression tights, and the logo of F1 registration no.
“3M can refer to a possible confusion between the two logos. The goods and services for which they are designed, need not be the same, – explained in an interview with Forbes guy Wilmot, a member of the British law firm Russell-Cooke. The fact that Formula 1 is not applied for the registration of a specific product, does not mean that 3M no right to go to court”.
If the logo was very similar to the one already registered, it can be blocked EUIPO [intellectual property office of the European Union], even if the category of goods to which it is applied differs. This is logical, because the more similar the logos are, the more confusion occurs even if we are talking about different sectors.
“I agree that visually these two look alike logo – continued Michael Gardner, partner at the law firm Wedlake Bell. – Obviously, the logo of Formula 1 is slightly more complicated, given the presence of additional element in the form of stylized ones and more elongated lines. But of course, if you look through the lens of trademark law, then Yes, they are very similar”.
While there is no information about why the new logo of Formula 1 was so similar to a trademark of 3M.
“Probability is always there, even if the logos are developed independently from each other, – said the expert on branding, Joseph Baladi in an interview with Marketing. But in any case it is necessary to conduct an investigation on the leakage data in the development of Futuro logo and plagiarism from Wieden + Kennedy”.
To accuse the developers of Wieden + Kennedy and Formula 1 too early, but if their fault is proved, it will mean copyright infringement.
“We can assume that the 3M logo was copied says Michael Gardner. – But to say it only if it turns out that Wieden + Kennedy were aware of the existence of a similar logo. Copyright infringement is not just copying. Enough to the disputed work included in the features of the intellectual author of the original design. For example, if a person saw the 3M logo and decided to modify it by adding something new and eventually the logo of F1, it is likely that it will be considered a violation of copyright. So developers will have to prove that they came up with this design and didn’t know about the existence of the 3M logo”.
Says guy Wilmot if the violation is really the place to be, that 3M may incur damages and the prohibition on the use of the new logo of Formula 1. But it is important that the prohibition can only relate to the placement of the logo on branded clothes, where do the possible confusion. Plans for Liberty Media to rebrand F1 beyond the race track it will be a blow.
“The really serious problem for 3M is possible with the products of class 25, explains Wilmot. But I admit that the Formula 1 will be able to find a way out, agreeing with the 3M and excluding from its list of products, which conflicts with their trademark. Usually in such cases the parties are able to compromise, although not always.
“The question remains whether the Agency Wieden + Kennedy and law group F1 all carefully studied? Usually we suggest to choose three the best version of the logo and check them, says Michael Johnson, founder of branding Agency Johnson Banks. – Yes, it can be costly in the short term and forced to abandon the best option, but it’s nothing compared to the amount you can now get 3M in compensation”.
If you do end up with a payout the us company, the management of Formula 1 is in danger of moving from conflict to 3M to the tension between the two teams. It is known that the smaller the total income of the championship, the less the amount of the prize, which is distributed among the participants. Loss of money due to the logo, which nobody asked to change and was subjected to much criticism, the team can hardly understand…
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