Perhaps more than any other movie or movie series in history, the Star Wars franchise has heavily influenced popular culture. Several generations have grown up with the characters and new generations will continue to do so as new movies are planned for release. That is why it is not too surprising that a brewery in upstate New York named Empire, chose to call one of its beers “Strikes Bock”. Empire Strikes Bock is a clever name for a beer, but after Empire filed a trademark application on the name, it drew the ire of Lucasfilm. The Star Wars Studio recently filed an opposition to the trademark application alleging permitting registration of the mark for ale will create a likelihood of confusion and will dilute Lucasfilm’s trademark rights in it’s THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK mark.
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.