By on November 10, 2009

Can you tell the difference between one of these:

croc-cayman

and one of these?

porsche-cayman-2010

According to a recently filed quarterly report, Porsche is suing the maker of the ubiquitous and ugly shoe over the use of the name “Cayman.”

On May 11, 2009, Crocs Europe B.V. received a letter from Dr. Ing. H.c.F. Porsche AG (”Porsche”) claiming that the Company’s use of the “Cayman” shoe model designator infringes upon their Community Trademark Registration of the mark “CAYMAN” in class 25. Porsche is requesting that Crocs Europe B.V. immediately cease and desist use of the Cayman mark and pay Porsche’s attorney’s fees in conjunction with the issuance of the notice letter. On July 30, 2009 the Company was served with notice of an injunction against Crocs Europe BV’s use of the Cayman mark in Germany.

In the same filing, Crocs says it plans to “vigorously defend” itself against the claims. Could these two possibly be mistaken by anyone? I wonder if the Cayman Islands should start looking for a different name?

[courtesy porschepurist.com]

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27 Comments on “Porsche Sues: New Shoe Name is a Croc of NSFW...”


  • avatar
    superbadd75 haz not masterd teh interwebz

    Maybe Porsche is trying to sue for enough money to keep from being swallowed by VW?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Maybe the actual crocodilians are in danger of legal action from Porsche’s legal team. They best be holding their breath and keeping their scaly heads under water until this settles down. Or el

  • avatar
    441Zuke

    the porsche legal dept. must be bored this time of year. as if anyone would ever confuse crocs shoes for the automaker

  • avatar
    Frayed Knot

    Spelling aside, caimans are cousins of crocodiles, so it would make sense for Crocs to use the name.

  • avatar
    Bergwerk

    I recall that many years ago the Italian firearms company “Beretta” sued GM over use of the name Beretta on the coupe version of the Gawd Awful Corsica.   The suit was settled out of court with an exchange of gifts and a charitable donation by GM, to a charity supported by Beretta.
    The chief difference between this case and CROC v. Porsche is that “Beretta” was the trademarked property of the Beretta Firearms company and Cayman is a type of Crocodile.  Beretta maintained that GM was using their name to establish a image for their car.  Neither Porsche nor CROC created the cayman name.  Each is using the name of a Crocodile species to brand its own (very different ) product.  Pound sand Porsche.
     

  • avatar
    Tosh

    No such thing as ‘bad PR’ anymore (unless it’s about floor mats), so this story is good exposure for both companies.

  • avatar
    manny

    Maybe if  Crocs Shoes Europe would give  free Crocs to new Cayman owners everyone will be happy.

  • avatar
    Boff

    There are several possible outcomes here. Crocs could rename their shoe the “Caiman”. Crocs could retain the name “Cayman” and jack the price 300%. And offer optional heel band in contrasting colour for $100 or Croc emblem in carbon fiber for $200. Crocs could post a large “Not affiliated with Dr. Ing. H.c.F. Porsche AG (or Burlington Industries)” on its shoes and marketing materials in perpetuity.

  • avatar
    mpresley

    Is it possible to option out the shoe to over twice its list price?  If so, then Porsche may have an angle…

  • avatar
    Via Nocturna

    So does this mean I’ll never be able to fulfill my dream of driving a Cayman S with aftermarket crocodile-leather seats around the Cayman Islands in Cayman Crocs made of actual caiman leather?

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Porsche probably has a valid claim. The European Community Trademark Class 25 includes clothing, footwear and headgear. That means it doesn’t matter that the Crocs are shoes and the Porsche Cayman is a car. Using the trademark on shoes infringes.

  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    Porsche licenses Adidas to make Porsche Design label shoes.  If they had registered the name first, Crocs will have to rename theirs.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

     Anyone making a shoe called the ‘Cockster?’

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Reminds me of when Warner Bros threatened to sue the Marx Brothers over the title of “A Night in Casablanca” .   Groucho’s reply is pure gold:
    http://www.chillingeffects.org/resource.cgi?ResourceID=31

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    I await the club version without rear strap, for an extra $100.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Standard corporate bullying nonsense. Trademarks only apply to the class of products a company has used them on and registered them for.

  • avatar

    As Danii2 said: If Porsche has a valid trademark in Class 25  for “Cayman” then it’s an open and shut case … unless Crocs Europe can prove that they used “Cayman” before Porsche registered it. Porsche leverages its name across many products and probably have trademark protection in all classes … Actually, a trademark holder must defend its mark against all infringers. If not done, the mark may be lost

    @ John Horner: Trademarks only apply to the class of products a company has used them on and registered them for.

    Not entirely true. In countries that follow the “first use” doctrine (USA, Europe, many more) trademark protection can be achieved without registration. You use a mark and if someone copies it, you can sue. Registering the mark simply gives you a much better case. A European Community Trademark must be used in the class for which is has been registered within 5 years after registration. If it isn’t used within that period, it can be challenged .

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      Let me know if I understand this.
      If I were to bring to market pantaloons called…Georgia and no one else used the name for a product, despite it already being the name of a geographical location, I could win a suit against a person that also calls their…bidet Georgia?

    • 0 avatar
      Daanii2

      If you look up the European Community Trademark records, you find that Porsche registered the word mark “Cayman” on August 30, 2005 in, among other classes, class 25 (clothing, footwear, headgear). 

      That’s not the end of it. Crocs still has a few arguments it can make.

      But if I were Crocs’s trademark lawyer, I’d tell them not to bother. Pick another name or take a license. In the long run, that will be the best choice. Fair or not, that’s the reality.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      Interesting. So in the magical year 2010 we should expect to see Porsche Cayman footwear and clothing?

  • avatar

    If I were to bring to market pantaloons called…Georgia and no one else used the name for a product, despite it already being the name of a geographical location, I could win a suit against a person that also calls their…bidet Georgia?
    Not if you haven’t registered. Unregistered, you have good chances of winning a suit against another pantaloon maker, who calls theirs Georgia.
    If you successfully register Georgia (good luck) for your pantaloons, and at the same time successfully register Georgia for bidets, then you MUST take action if someone calls their bidet Georgia. If you don’t, you may lose the mark, at least in that class.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I can see the potential confusion: “I went out to buy a Porsche, but all I came home with was these ugly rubber slippers! How did THAT happen??”

  • avatar
    Daanii2

    Many companies will register their trademarks for a variety of goods. For example, Apple, Inc. makes computers and consumer electronics. But it also registered the word mark “Apple” in class 25. That class includes:

    Nice Classification:

    25

    List of goods and services
    Clothing, footwear, headwear; clothing for men, women and children, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jogging suits, trousers, pants, shorts, tank tops, rainwear, cloth bibs, skirts, blouses; dresses, suspenders, sweaters, jackets, coats, raincoats, snow suits, ties, robes, hats, caps, sun-visors, belts, scarves, sleepwear, pyjamas, lingerie, underwear, boots, shoes, sneakers, sandals, booties, slipper socks, swimwear and masquerade and Halloween costumes; parts and accessories relating to all the aforesaid.

    As Bertel says, you cannot just register the mark in a class and then not use it. But it’s not hard to prove that you used a mark. Just make one thing with the mark on it and sell it. Like one hat with the mark on it. Not one kind of hat. One hat. How hard is that?

  • avatar
    bryanska

    God I hope this kills the Croc shoe company. Hideous things. If I see another entire family wearing different colored Crocs I will freak out.

  • avatar
    nyagencyspy

    What’s ironic about this is that the ad agency Cramer Krasselt is the agency of record for both Porsche and Crocs.  What account team would you want to be on?

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