Interesting article in the October 6 New York Times. A business consulting service, How, is suing Chobani, a yogurt manufacturer, for promoting a tagline, “How Matters.” I’m certainly no attorney but I ask, one, can anyone own such a patently generic word as ‘how’ and two, being in different industries where is any cause for confusion among consumers, the presumed litmus test for copyright infringement? To read the entire article, click here:
This seems like a very weak Trademark case, especially given the vastly different goods/services.
I agree. Yet perhaps the times are changing. Thirty years ago there were far greater dissimilarities between industries than simply a difference in goods and services. Then, communication tactics were limited to TV, radio and print. There would have been less opportunity for media crossover between How and Chobani. Today, with the ubiquity of social media and the Internet—and a massive increase in consumer contact points—one might wonder whether the dividing line between vastly different categories (in this case, B2B consulting and food) has sufficiently blurred as to possibly cause consumer confusion.