When you hear the word “how” you typically don’t think of a brand, you think of a question, like “how do you do something?” Or perhaps a statement like “this is how it’s done.” But two companies have taken to using the word as a brand, one company for quite a bit longer than the other, and this overlapping use is causing a trademark dispute over this simple word.
U-Haul has been in the moving business for a long time, but a recent judgment shows that it wasn’t the first to use the term “pods” to refer to moving containers. That distinction belongs to Florida based PODS Enterprises, which began using the term in commerce in 1998 and received a trademark registration on the term in 2005. U-Haul’s subsequent use of the term is proving very costly, as a jury ordered the company to pay PODS $62 million in profits and damages for infringing the PODS.
Before 2006 to tweet was something only birds did. Now tweeting is pretty much ubiquitous. One of the 10 most popular sites on the internet, Twitter has changed culture and the way people experience the world. News outlets are typically no longer the first to break news, with eyewitnesses relaying near real-time updates through Twitter. With such widespread use, Twitter has become a highly recognizable brand. As such, the group is taking measures to protect its name and unfortunately for a former symbiotic partner, it may become a casualty.
Slumping sales have McDonald’s searching for something new and its recent trademark application may reveal what it has in store. In July, McDonald’s filed a trademark application on McBrunch. But does this mean we can count on an 11 AM menu? The fast food giant is playing coy. When asked about its plans for the mark, the company stated it routinely files “intent-to-use” trademark applications and sometimes moves forward with them and sometimes it doesn’t. So that leaves us with a resounding maybe.