By on March 17, 2011

Chrysler brought suit against Detroit company Moda. According to Chrysler’s complaint in U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan,  Moda engages in “blatant misrepresentation of Chrysler’s IMPORTED FROM DETROIT™ tagline, introduced by Chrysler to tremendous public acclaim during Super Bowl XLV.”  Chrysler sues the company for “trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false descriptions, unfair competition, false and deceptive trade practices and unjust enrichment.”

Chrysler alleges that Moda “began selling t-shirts boldly featuring Chrysler’s exact IMPORTED FROM DETROIT™ mark, depicted in a flashy eye-catching manner.” Despite Chrysler’s complaints, Moda did not cease and desist. Instead, they “began marketing new products, including tote bags and additional t-shirts with a new  IMPORTED FROM DETROIT™ design:”

Chrysler wants the court to stop the injustice, and order Moda to pay up to three times the ill gotten gains to Chrysler.

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17 Comments on “Chrysler Claims Exclusivity On Detroit Imports...”


  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    It is a small picture so I can’t really tell, but doesn’t it say “from” above the shield?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    It’s a fair point.  Facetious and inaccurate** as it is, it’s their (Chrysler’s) trademark and they need to sue to protect it.
     
    ** 300, Charger, Challenger, T&C and Caravan.  Imported from Brampton, Ontario.  Yo.

  • avatar
    gettysburg

    Seeing those three words would discourage me from buying a car or a t-shirt.

    After viewing the Chrysler Super Bowl spot my wife commented that it was as powerful and effective ad.   When I asked her if she’d ever consider buying a Chrysler product she didn’t hesitate in saying “No!”
     

  • avatar
    JJ

    Judging by the 1st look those shirts don’t scream american luxury to me. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the print washes off rather quickly and the black color fades to grey. In other words this might well be the Chrysler Sebring of T-shirts.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Chrysler tried to work something out with Pure Detroit in paying a royalty/residual, including them giving some proceeds to charity, as Chrysler is doing but they would have none of it. So the legal route was the only recourse.

  • avatar
    Benya

    Chrysler has a trademark, but I somehow doubt they have a copyright for “Imported from Detroit.”  As a result, I don’t think there is any reasonable likelihood of confusion that the t-shirts are being made by Chrysler or that people are buying them because they think they are made by Chrysler. I also doubt, that Chrysler registered their mark to cover selling t-shirts.

    Interesting questions is whether spending millions on a Superbowl ad is enough to create a “famous” trademark, which are entitled greater protection.  My gut says no.

    To me though, this is a copyright case with no copyrights.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The argument you are making doesn’t hold water.  A trademark is a trademark.  It doesn’t have to cover t shirts, but since Chrysler is already making t shirts with this on it, t shirts would be covered.  Kind of like how Coca-Cola can make merchandise with its catch phrase and have it protected, or have the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle on it, and it is still protected by trademark.  No one can just go and make sure with Coca-Cola’s logo, catch phrase, or other trademarked items on it without expecting a lawsuit.
       
      Now, if you want to argue that the phrase itself can’t be trademarked, because geographical references and the phrase Imported from are to generic, you might have a case.

    • 0 avatar
      Benya

      You are correct that a registered trademark does not need to be registered for the goods that are alleged to be infringing.  This would be especially true with a trademark like “Chrysler”, or “Coca-Cola.”  Just about any item with the mark would conceivable be though in the consumer’s mind to originate from Chrysler (or Fiat) or the Coca-Cola company.
       
      “Imported from Detroit” is no “Chrysler” or “Coca-Cola” though.  If Chrysler made and sold a t-shirt with the slogan on it before whoever it is they are suing, Chrysler will win.  However, if they didn’t use the trademark on a t-shirt first, then I think they could likely lose.
       
      It should be remembered that trademark law is a consumer protection law, not “real” intellectual property.  It is just we let the enforcement be carried out by trademark “owners.”

  • avatar
    Steven02

    Bertel,
    Time to get your eyes checked or glasses cleaned.  From is on the shirt on the top of the shield.
     
    From a legal standpoint, Chrysler has to pursue this.  If they didn’t, they would lose rights to the trademark.  Pure Detroit might be right here, since geographic locations and the phrase imported from isn’t often allowed in trademarks.  But, courts decide this differently all the time.  The big guy might win just because he can hire more lawyers.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Regardless of the legalities, I just don’t see the brilliance in the slogan. It’s actually inane.

    It doen’t say much about Chrysler’s opinion of the intended audience…

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Turkey Hill Dairy should be getting a piece of this action. Their slogan, featured prominently on all their products and web site is “Imported from Lancaster County.” That’s Pennsylvania.
    http://www.turkeyhill.com/

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I think the t-shirt seller’s idea is that a lot of folks who used to live in Detroit but don’t anymore would buy them.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    I think if you buy the car, Chrysler should give you a shirt, free of charge.  This would be good advertising and good business for them.   Isn’t that the whole idea of their having a line of apparel?  Or, are they that hard up for a couple of bucks?

  • avatar
    pbxtech

    To think they pay to put that slogan on billboards.  I’d find a way to work with the T-shirt people ’cause that car is so bad it got a reviewer fired. The internet is not going to like this.

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