June 2017. Car-maker Jaguar has filed an opposition in the United States to a new application by sports clothing company PUMA to register its Puma logo as a trademark. Jaguar claims the puma too closely resembles its own leaping jaguar.

Means of transport

Jaguar is objecting to the attempted registration of the familiar, old-established PUMA logo because the latest application is not for the company’s usual sportswear brand but for boats, ski-lifts, motorised golf carts, baby buggies and wheelchairs – all means of transport – presenting an obvious overlap with Jaguar’s own sector of activity.

Risk of confusion

Jaguar argues there will be a risk of confusion between the two brands and that consumers will think the companies are linked, undermining the value of the venerable Jaguar brand.

PUMA for bicycles

Oddly, though, Jaguar hasn’t objected to the puma logo being used as a trademark for bikes, which are also covered by the application. Although why it should feel that people would associate a wheelchair bearing a PUMA logo with its brand rather than a bicycle with a PUMA logo, isn’t clear from the submitted evidence. PUMA has 40 days to prepare a defence.

Dutch sequel?

The case may even result in a Dutch sequel, since the Benelux Trademark Register shows that PUMA owns an old trademark registration – dating from 1992 – for the identical puma logo, covering precisely the same products. A victory in the US might therefore persuade Jaguar to attempt the same in other countries.

Picture Jaguar via Shutterstock.