The Truth About Cars » trademarks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:21:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » trademarks http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com GM Trademarks Opel Nameplates Calibra, Cascada in U.S. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/gm-trademarks-opel-nameplates-calibra-cascada-in-u-s/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/gm-trademarks-opel-nameplates-calibra-cascada-in-u-s/#comments Tue, 07 Jan 2014 16:26:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=693761 opel-cascada-cabriolet-2013-001-1350468054

Opel Cascada

It’s being revealed that Opel registered the Calibra and Cascada names with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December. While some have speculated from the fact that Opel was the registrant of record that General Motors is considering returning its European brand to the United States, more likely the use of Opel was to hide a possible plan by GM to use the nameplates on Buicks. When GM sold Opel’s Astra as a Saturn before shuttering that brand, Opel had been the registrant for that name as well. The automaker has the option of using any of its wholly owned subsidiaries to register trademarks for its use. The Opel Cascada is a two door, four seat convertible that shares a platform with Buick’s Verano and the Chevy Cruze. Calibra isn’t currently being used on an Opel product but in the 1990s Opel used it on a two door coupe version of the Opel Vectra. Of course, many trademarks that have been registered never end up on production vehicles, but the idea of giving Buick dealers a convertible and a coupe to sell isn’t unrealistic.

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Tesla Faces Trademark Issues With “Model E” In U.S. and “Tesla” in China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/tesla-faces-trademark-issues-with-model-e-in-u-s-and-tesla-in-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/08/tesla-faces-trademark-issues-with-model-e-in-u-s-and-tesla-in-china/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 20:10:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=500626 chinesetesla

Chinese businessman Zhan Baosheng’s “Tesla” web site

Tesla Motors faces trademark issues in the United States and China as it tries to expand its lineup of cars and countries where it is sold. According applications found at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s web site, on August 5th, Tesla filed three trademark applications for use of the name “Model E” in three categories, “automobiles and structural parts therefore,” automobile maintenance and repair services, and apparel. With merchandise sales being an important part of car marketing today, additional filings to cover apparel and similar logoed items are standard practice. Last year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted at a Model E in an interview with Jalopnik, “There will definitely be more models after the S and X. Maybe an E :).”

Tesla may run into problems using Model E, though. Thirteen years ago, Ford Motor Company sued a company called the Model E Corp, claiming that it would cause confusion with Ford’s trademark on the name Model T. That case in a Michigan court was dismissed for lack of standing. Records at the USPTO show that Ford subsequently cancelled or abandoned applications for a trademark on Model E. Initially, when the news broke about Tesla’s applications, a Ford spokesman said that the Dearborn automaker would likely not challenge Tesla’s use. However, a later statement from Ford said that the company will review Tesla’s application and have no further comment on the matter at this time.

Tesla is also having difficulty entering the Chinese car market because a local Chinese businessman already secured rights to use the name Tesla in the world’s largest car market. Tesla Motors had hoped to open a company owned showroom in Beijing by the beginning of 2014, but that plan has now been delayed while they work out the intellectual property issue. The Tesla showroom has posters of the Model S, but no brand signs. A Tokyo-based Tesla representative said that the company had begun taking reservations for the Model S in China.

The “Tesla” trademark was registered in China to a Guangdong businessman named Zhan Baosheng in 2006, according to a trademark agency representing him, in both English and Chinese characters. Zhan also owns the teslamotors.com.cn domain name (and similar domain names) where he appears to promoting his own electric cars. Not only is he using the Tesla name and a Chinese-language slogan ‘Te Si La, Live For Electricity’, he’s also using the T shaped Tesla logo. Experts familiar with Chinese trademark issues say that Tesla may have no other choice than pay Zhan for the use of the name. According to published reports, the EV maker offered him $326,000, but Baosheng is holding out for $32 million. Last year Apple Inc. paid $60 million for the Chinese rights to the name iPad. As a backup plan Tesla has registered the name Tuosule, which phonetically reproduces their brand name.

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Sunday Follies. Adventures in SEO Land©: Cars for Stars® v.v. TTAC™ – Brilliant, Or “Shadey & Extremely Slippery?” http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/sunday-follies-adventures-in-seo-land%c2%a9-cars-for-stars%c2%ae-v-v-ttac%e2%84%a2-brilliant-or-%e2%80%9cshadey-extremely-slippery%e2%80%9d/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/sunday-follies-adventures-in-seo-land%c2%a9-cars-for-stars%c2%ae-v-v-ttac%e2%84%a2-brilliant-or-%e2%80%9cshadey-extremely-slippery%e2%80%9d/#comments Sun, 22 Jan 2012 15:16:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=427670

Yesterday, I wrote about the Melbourne Grand Prix and its inability to solicit cars for its stars for the purpose of a celebrity race. Would you believe this made me an intellectual property infringer? No? Just wait.

This morning, I find an email from a tej@transportbrokergroup.co.uk who writes:

“Hi,

You have used the words ’Cars for Stars’ in this page: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/new-trends-in-product-placement-no-cars-for-stars/

Please note that Cars for Stars is a registered trademark wording of Cars for Stars Ltd.

Can you please either change the words or add a link to us www.carsforstars.net at the bottom somewhere.

Please confirm once this has been sorted as we were alerted by our Patent Solicitors.

Regards,

Tej Randeva
CEO

I’m in trouble!  Does Her Majesty’s Trademark Service have me in its cross-hairs? “Ease up, Schmitt,” I tell myself. “Always do your research first,” as my obscenely priced Manhattan lawyer had imparted on me, providing not so free advice while I still was rich enough to afford his services.

Researching Cars for Stars ® is not for the faint of heart. Prepare to be overwhelmed. The company is one of the most search engine optimized enterprises I have met. Type “Cars for Stars” into Google, and you will be assaulted. Each of its mostly UK outlets has its own URL, following the “http://www.carsforstars-XXX.co.uk/” format, where the XXX stands for a city. The links go to mostly the same content, however, the different URLs cause Google to produce walls of links. An exact search for “Cars for Stars” produces 57,000 hits.

(Update: That number suddenly dropped to 9,970 – did someone at Google adjust the algorithm?)

Dave, who proudly pronounces in a logo at the bottom of the Cars for Stars ® website that he “SEO’d this website,” sure gave Cars for Stars ® its money worth  (“£99 per month – no hidden charges!”)

It comes as no surprise that four minutes after the mail that allegedly was sent by Mr. Tej Randeva, CEO, another mail arrives.

This one is from marketing@limobroker.co.uk, pointing out that both Topgear and Forbes had written about an Audi R8 V10 stretch limousine built for Limo Brokers, and wouldn’t that be “A good story to feature?” Sure is. It fits perfectly our “Sunday Whodunnit – Adventures in SEO Land” © 2012, BS.

Both Cars for Stars ® and Limo Broker are “Favourite Leasing Sites” of Dave`s house of instant spam. Both look like they have the same designer, actually, they do, Dreamshock.  Mr. Randeva’s Transport Broker Group owns both Cars for Stars® and Limo Broker. The thick plottenz as Mr. Farago would have said.

With such a megaton of search engine optimization, the few extra hits this article will create will be a drop in the bucket, so let’s investigate further.


According to Google, Cars for Stars® is a wonderful company, providing wonderful cars. Only very persistent people who have the time to wade through the produce provided by fertile linkfarms stumble across complaints that are otherwise drowned out. At MoneySavingsExpert, a poster recommends to “avoid Cars for Stars like the plague” saying the “company is shadey & extremely slippery.” (I had to find this nugget by using the search words “Cars for Stars” and SEX - don’t ask.)

Speaking of SEX, as Cars for Stars® is heavily search engine optimized, ads for Cars for Stars® show up in the strangest of places, giving credence to the rumor that some of what happens behind that partition is not always Safe For Work.  But we digress. It’s easy.

Did you know that the word “for” is trademarked? Me neither, but it is. What does that mean for you? Does that mean you have to forgo the use of “for” in your writings, forever and ever? No. You should exercise caution if you are engaged in the “Administration of employee benefit plans concerning insurance and finance” though, because these are the goods and services for which Optcapital LLC has received a trademark for FOR.

Even then, you may go ahead and write “There is no cost for for the blood glucose monitor” without receiving a note from Optcapital’s Patent Solicitors, at least not unless they want to be the joke of the bar. Why is that?

I am no lawyer, however, I spent my life around trademarks, and many years under expensive tutelage. I know enough to be dangerous.

A trademark is not a copyright. Optcapital has trademarked ‘for’, UPS even has trademarked the color brown. This does not mean that for, or brown are off-limits. You can use ‘for’ for as long as you want, and you can produce all kinds of brown shit. Just don’t call your next employee benefit plan ‘FOR’, and avoid excessive use of the color brown when you have a courier service. Using brown vans would be a bad idea.

Can a Doug Miller operate a one man railroad car rental agency called “Cars for stars” in Santa Ana, CA? He sure can. California is not in the UK, or the EU (where Cars for Stars® has a trademark, I could not find one in the U.S.A., ) and  the rental of railroad cars, although perilously close, does not fall under “Class 39, Chauffeur services, limousine hire, car hire, wedding car hire, airport transport services.” Which appears the only class where Cars for Stars® asserts a trademark. All other classes are fair game. Sorry, spend more money.

Can Jaguar U.S.A. use “Cars for stars” in its website? Sure it can.  If Mr. Randeva sends Jaguar an email, he probably will be ignored. Should his patent solicitors write, a Jaguar attorney will probably explain the birds & bees: Sorry, wrong country, wrong trademark class. Also, Jaguar might just have a look at the Cars for Stars® website.

Do you think Cars for Stars® has a written license for the use of trademarked logos of Range Rover®, Porsche®, Bentley®, Audi®, Lamborghini®, Jaguar®, Ferrari®, and Aston Martin®? I am sure they do.

The test for trademark infringement is likelihood of confusion. At TTAC, we write all day about GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes, but we would only violate trademarks if we would start making cars. If we write that the Melbourne Grand Prix could not find a sponsor that would provide cars for the stars of a celebrity race in Australia, the likelihood of confusion with a limo service in the UK is infinitesimally low. The only confusion that might exist is with the author of the email.  Or with a gullible blogger who clicks his heels and submits when such an email arrives.

When we wrote that the Melbourne Grand Prix will have to make do without the proper cars for its racing stars, we did not even know that there is a “Cars for Stars®.” But, as they say, ignorance is no defense. However, I note with great interest that Mr. Randeva (allegedly) sent me an unusual cease & desist letter. Instead of telling me to remove all mentions to the highly trademarked limo service, he gave me the option to “add a link to us www.carsforstars.net at the bottom somewhere.”

I take that as an implied non-exclusive, non-transferable, worldwide, limited license (without the right to sublicense) for the use of Cars for Stars® in Thetruthaboutcars.com™, just in case I would need such a license. Which I don’t. In any case, it is good to have.

Personally, I believe that this odd letter is another twist in the never-ending saga of search engine optimization. Again, it worked brilliantly.

Disclaimer: Cars for Stars® is a registered trademark of Cars for Stars Limited. Community Trade Mark No. 4767679 – UK Trade Mark No. 2345169

 

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