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You are never too big or small for trademark infringements. Even the biggest companies violate trademark rights and get caught. No matter your company size, you shouldn’t use someone’s registered trademark without their permission, because it can cost you a pretty penny. Even companies as big as Nike should avoid using a brand that is already taken by someone else.
Recently, Nike was ordered by a court to stop using the slogan “Sports Changes Everything.” It turns out the slogans “Running Changes Everything” “Change Everything” are registered trademarks belonging to Fleet Feet, a company that sells running apparel. So, the court found that Nike using the slogan was trademark infringement.
Fleet Feet issued a cease and desist letter [click here to see what a cease and desist letter does] to Nike when they saw the slogan being used on a commercial and on their website. However, Nike (who obviously didn’t do their research before adopting the slogan) ignored Fleet Feet’s letter and continued to use the slogan. Fleet Feet had no other choice but to file a lawsuit against Nike. The court agreed with Fleet Feet and issued an order stating that Nike should have done a trademark search in advance of using this slogan (DUH!), and could have avoided this lawsuit.
Now, after spending $16 million marketing the stolen slogan, Nike is forced to remove the “Sports Changes Everything” from all their advertisements, social media, websites, and stores immediately. A simple trademark search could have saved Nike millions of dollars. But by skipping a small but vital step in their branding, they wasted a fortune.
It’s imperative for companies big and small to do a trademark search before investing in their brand. And that’s why a discussion with your trademark attorney can save your business money and a trademark lawsuit.
If you are looking to start using a new brand, logo or slogan, call us