Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Chrysler legal turns into schoolyard bully over use of Ram logo

14 posts in this topic

Chrysler legal turns into schoolyard bully over use of Ram logo

by Chris Shunk (RSS feed) on Feb 20th, 2010 at 3:22PM

About the same time Chrysler and Fiat executives were running through a marathon eight -hour look into the future with the world's automotive, Pentastar lawyers were working over the principal at Lake Mary High School in Lake Mary, Florida. You may be asking yourself what Chrysler lawyers would want with principal Michael Kotkin when, just six months earlier, The Pentastar needed billions of taxpayer dollars to exit bankruptcy. Good question, for sure, but the answer is pretty lame.

Moto Bullet reports that Chrysler's legal department was reportedly all up in Kotkin's grill because the school's logo was a near-perfect match for the Dodge Ram logo. Team Pentastar ordered the school to replace the company's favorite goat head as the school logo or risk having to drive a Sebring head into court. Chrysler lawyers even had several photos of the logo being used at the school in several different spots. The Seminole County School District decided that the logo wasn't worth an expensive legal battle, so the school, ranked in the top 1.4 percent nationally for academics, reportedly has until June 15 to remove it from the premises. But while avoiding court will likely save the district plenty of money, the school won't get out of this mess scot-free. Removing the horned-head from the school's gym floor alone will reportedly cost the school (read: local taxpayers) $15,000, or roughly the cost of a new science book for about 300 kids.

We don't want to pretend that we're experts on branding rights and corporate logos, but we just can't see what the harm is to Dodge if the brand and the school share the logo. After all, we're assuming the school isn't going to start making a competitive truck in wood shop. Principal Kotkin is still putting a positive spin on the situation, saying that Chrysler's actions have "galvanized my school," but unfortunately for Team Pentastar, the school's new battle cry sounds something like "I'll never buy a Chrysler as long as I live."

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/02/20/chrysler-legal-turns-into-school-bully-over-use-of-ram-logo/

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This pissed me off, I've never been to this school, but the idea that a company which is only surviving because these kids parents helped finance Chryslers survival only to have Chrysler turn around and screw them is unbelievable. Maybe Chrysler should spend more time trying to figure out why no one buys their cars and less time beating up on a public school.

Ahh I feel better now.

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
UPDATE: The Chrysler Group got in touch with Autoblog to tell its side of the story, which you can read after the jump.

[source: Moto Bullet]

The Chrysler Group:

We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to clarify the facts as we believe that the media has not reported the issue very well nor accurately. Chrysler Group has understood from the very beginning the special sensitivity this issue required as there is a school and students involved. Moreover, it is quite apparent that both Chrysler and Lake Mary High School share the same passion and pride for their respective Ram Logo and Mascot. Brands and the trademarks that represent them are among the most valuable assets companies own. We're sure you can appreciate that in order to protect the value of the brand, companies must explore trademark breaches with diligent attention. We equally respect the legitimate trademark rights of others. Given the sensitivity of the issue, we feel that Chrysler Group has dealt with the school very reasonably and with the utmost respect for the school and its students. For example, our dealer has agreed to pay for the design of a new logo for the school, and Chrysler Group has agreed to a longer transition period for the school to complete more involved removals of our logo. Indeed, we are proud to say that Chrysler Group and the school district reached an amicable resolution of this issue in February which we were very pleased with. We remain open to dialogue with the school community on further ways Chrysler Group can help to mitigate the impact of this transition period as we wish for the entire school and district to be lifelong friendly supporters of Chrysler Group going forward as we are lifelong friendly supporters of Lake Mary High School.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update: There isn't any way the PR guys at Chrysler can spin this, they took action against a public high school. Since the high school isn't commercial, what the hell do they care? If anything its almost like free advertising for Dodge, maybe instead of busting stones, Chrysler could have donated to the school baseball team or something to actually improve their image.

It could have been worse though, Chrysler could have donated a bunch of Sebrings to torture the people into changing the logo.

-2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, well legally Chrysler is in the right. The logo does bare more than a passing resemblance to The Ram, and that does qualify as copyright infringement. Those are the facts.

However, it certainly isn't good PR.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Chrysler is paying for a new logo design for the school. How about if they let the school simply phase out the old logo that's in question? Instead of this appearing to be a "here comes big bad Chrysler to stick it to the school", it instead becomes a partnership to give them a unique but still cool ram logo. Chrysler donates some minimal money to have old logos painted over & the new logo put in it's place. For the more expensive things like the gym floor, set an agreement that when the floor needs worked over down the road, that at that time they replace the old logo with the new.

But, it's too late to avoid the negative PR, to change to the above plan now would just be a lame givein to public pressure. Might still be a little better, but nowhere near as good as if they'd done it from the start.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I look at their school logo, nothing about it gets me to think about the Ram connection to Chrysler.

dodge_ram_logo.jpg

ram_logo_w_name.gif

I just don't see the resemblance that any forward-view of a ram wouldn't also look the same. The detail of the school logo makes theirs far more unique to Ram's silhouette style.

WAY TO GO Chrysler! Lawyers never fail me in their quest for stupidity.

I wonder if they must have went up against this school as well:

Suitland High School Rams logo: SuitlandRam.jpg

I checked their website and see this is now their logo: ram1.gif

Now that one, I can completely understand getting them to change.

Edited by ShadowDog
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, it goes into more than just "well it's a school, Chrysler should have let them use it"

Not how it works in trademark law. You have to defend your trademark at nearly every turn. If you let someone use it without defending it, then it sets precedent in the courts eyes as to how strong your trademark is.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, it goes into more than just "well it's a school, Chrysler should have let them use it"

Not how it works in trademark law. You have to defend your trademark at nearly every turn. If you let someone use it without defending it, then it sets precedent in the courts eyes as to how strong your trademark is.

Exactly.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, it goes into more than just "well it's a school, Chrysler should have let them use it"

Not how it works in trademark law. You have to defend your trademark at nearly every turn. If you let someone use it without defending it, then it sets precedent in the courts eyes as to how strong your trademark is.

I totally get trademark law and the need to defend it against all threats. But, the logo in the article don't look like the Ram logo... Yeah, there both heads on view of a ram... Totally different style, color and detail. Plus one is horns out and one is horns out.

If Chrysler is threatened by the use of the Ram as a logo, they should man up and go after a worthwhile opponent... the St. Louis Rams.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys, it goes into more than just "well it's a school, Chrysler should have let them use it"

Not how it works in trademark law. You have to defend your trademark at nearly every turn. If you let someone use it without defending it, then it sets precedent in the courts eyes as to how strong your trademark is.

I get that, but Chrysler should have used this as an opportunity to create more viability for the Ram brand (ex sponsor them or something) and not come off as being jerks. No matter what the law says, at the end of the day a lot of people, myself included, look at this and think wow what a way to spend my bailout money, sending your legal team after a bunch of high school kids. I bet a lot of those kids parent have bought their last Caravan.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lawyers screw everything up by making mountains out of mole hills.

Legal realities aside, this is inane.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0