Just in time for Christmas Eve, an environmental group known as “Save the Earth Enterprises” has filed a lawsuit against Honda Motor Corp. U.S. and its ad agency RPA. The lawsuit points to the use of the trademarked slogan, “Save the Earth” without permission in a recent ad campaign.
According to the lawsuit, Honda used the trademarked slogan on the shirt of a an actor portraying a hippie as he exited his 1970-something Civic and then continued through time-lapse footage across the decades. The group, Save the Earth Enterprises, says it sent Honda cease-and-desist-letters without acknowledgment from Honda or its ad agency, RPA.
Save the Earth founder, Neal Pargman, states that he and his organization do not want anything to do with the organization (Honda). Pargman said, “The Honda ad campaign confused people into thinking that we endorsed Honda or were affiliated with Honda. We aren’t affiliated with them and don’t endorse them.”
The lawsuit is asking that the profits from the ad campaign be given to the Save the Earth foundation, and that the ad campaign is stopped from further air time.
I wasn’t aware that one could trademark such a common phrase. Doesn’t something like that belong in public domain? Even ligitimate tradmarks can enter public domain if they are so commonly used. EG: the term term “Photoshop” is widely used to refer to digitally editing a photograph. You think Adobe is going to start suing people?
Okay… above I was originally going to make a sarcastic remark about how this is like someone trademarking the Smiley Face. But after a quick trip to wikipedia, I learned that the Smiley Face IS trademarked and licensed out by a foundation. Has been for ten years
If someone can pull off obtaining and maintaining a trademark on that, perhaps Honda may pay for this one after all. I still think it’s stupid though.