It is not uncommon for those concerned with copyright to butt heads with the folks controlling the marketing, branding, and positioning. Last year, Re/Max filed opposition against real estate company Rehava, claiming that their logo was too similar.
From Re/Max’s attorney -
First of all, both names start with “r” and have logos with accent lines near the letter “e,” he said.
“It goes beyond that,” Scoville added. “If you chop the top off of the ‘h,’ you (almost) have the ‘m’ in Re/Max. The next letter is an ‘a,’ and if you take the ‘v’ then you have half of an ‘x.’ “
Naturally this became a big topic of discussion among blogs, forums, newspapers, and I’m sure a few conversations over copy. Whatever brand equity Re/Max thought they were losing with Rehava joining the real estate scene…it could not possibly have been as costly as their bongus lawsuit.
At some point…Re/Max got the message. Apparently the local franchisees and affiliates went nuts over the lawsuit – but not over any alleged logo similarity…but because the company who ultimately holds the most power over the reputation of their individual businesses was acting so inappropriately and being lambasted for it.
So what can you learn from this? Pick your battles and do everything you can to talk the legal minds who get paid the big bucks to protect the company’s intellectual property and copyright…aren’t acting in ways that would ultimately degrade the reputation and qulaity of the assets they are working to preserve.