Texaco sees dead licensees
Duets Blog reports on a case in which Chevron — now owner of one the biggest trademarks around, the Texaco star, and one of the major trademark owners most affected by this problem — is finally going after what we call “ghost branding” here at LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®:
The present fact pattern in the Chevron trademark case, to me at least, raises the pivotol and threshold question of what constitutes “commercial use of a mark,” and what legal recourse a trademark owner has when there is no longer any business being conducted at an abandoned service station, and the former-franchisee apparently has no control over the physical property any longer, yet trademarked [sic] signage and trade dress remain affixed and visible on property maintained in a “dilapidated condition,” with “boarded-up windows,” “unkempt (sic) grounds,” and “an overall appearance of disrepair, neglect and abandonment,” as shown in the photos …
Of course, whomever they’re suing, the fault lies with the franchising operations department at the old Texaco, which should have affirmatively de-branded the former franchisee when the dealership was no longer authorized.
But you can’t sue them, can you, Chevron?