BLACKJACK dilutes BLACKBERRY trademark for smartphones?
That’s what RIM, the maker of the Blackberry phone, says, according to press reports. Do we buy it — is there a likelihood of dilution (UPDATE: link added)? Well, actually, they may very well have a point on this one. RIM has been there, more or less, before.
Priya Ganapati from TheStreet.com observes that the lawsuit may be a case of the best defense being a good offense:
The [Blackberry] Pearl has received rave reviews for multimedia capability that brings together a camera, email, and music and video playback, packaging it in a slim, hip design.But rival Samsung’s BlackJack phone, with its strong marketing and reviews, could steal its thunder.
BlackJack, which is being offered in the U.S. only by Cingular, has been burning up the airwaves with its catchy commercial. The latest television spot for the BlackJack, set to some very interesting music, shows off the phone like a deck of cards, emphasizing its thinness and its many functions.
It’s an effective campaign, and consumers who don’t know better could almost mistake it for the BlackBerry Pearl.
And that’s exactly why RIM is worried. …
There may be more to that lawsuit than just trademark issues. “The action by RIM is an indication that the BlackJack is selling well with Cingular. And it is certainly a prominent part of Cingular’s ad campaign,” says … an analyst with Oppenheimer …
LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION — which uses, loves and endorses the BlackBerry Pearl — hates hates hates when businesses use the Lanham Act as a substitute for good old competition on the merits. On the other hand, when Company B opens itself up to a trademark claim with a mark like BLACKJACK to Company A’s BLACKBERRY mark– well, they’ve dealt their adversary a pretty strong hand.
UPDATE: Blackberry backs off, Jack.