A Tale of Two Logos

Identifying marks, logos, and icons are all crucial elements to a brand’s identity. They are the main image that separates the brand from any other organization, and because of this, it is important that they are protected. It’s also crucial that a brand has a unified voice across all of its platforms. Rich Energy, an energy-drink brand and former Haas Formula One sponsor, has been learning this the hard way over the last two months. One trademark dispute popped the top on a whole other world of issues.

Rich Energy (founded 2015) entered into a lawsuit in May with Whyte Bikes (founded 1994), after the latter noticed that their two logos looked practically the same. Rich Energy lost the trademark case, and it has pretty much been downhill for the organization ever since. The judge in the case questioned the Rich Energy’s credibility, and was concerned that some documentation might have been manufactured by Rich Energy. Needless to say, their reputation hasn’t exactly been in a great place, so it was particularly suspect when they claimed that the removal of their logo from the Haas Formula One car was to save the racing team from unnecessary press attention (source). As if things couldn’t get any worse, in early July the drink company tweeted that they were parting ways with Haas F1 over a “PC attitude” and “poor performance” by the racing team. While the company has now claimed that they are seeking legal action against a rogue executive who made the post, it is obvious that this is a PR nightmare, and quite frankly, it could’ve been avoided all together had they received the initial trademark for their logo in the first place (source).

Copyrights and trademarks exist to protect the intellectual and creative property of brands. Copyrights are geared towards literary and artistic works like books and videos, while trademarks exist to defend defining marks like a brand logo. If your organization doesn’t have securities in place for your brand, it would be wise to pursue them. The process to receive a trademark is relatively easy and can generally take less than 90 minutes, even without a lawyer’s help. The first step is to check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website to make sure that another company hasn’t already registered an identical or similar mark in the category of services that you offer (EH, HEM, RICH ENERGY). The cost for a trademark is relatively inexpensive, and it usually runs between $275 and $325 per trademark. Once you’ve visited the Patent and Trademark Office’s website and followed all the necessary steps, you can expect to receive a response within six months after filing. By protecting the integrity of your brand, you are taking the necessary steps to secure longevity for the growth of your business.

The steps to building out a brand extend well past the trademark and copyright phases, but laying this necessary groundwork creates a foundation for future marketing to build upon. Whether it is assisting your organization in taking this initial step, or helping grow your business further through creative strategies like Brandfluence™ (note the trademark), the team at Marbury Creative Group is eager and willing to assist you. For more information on how we can help your brand, email shelly@marburycreativegroup.com.

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