The Patent and Trademark Office of the United States has rejected four trademark applications for the term “CrackBerry”, on the ground that the “CrackBerry” trademarks would weaken the “BlackBerry” trademark owned by Research in Motion (RIM) Ltd based in Ontario, Canada. BlackBerry, in the United States, is widely referred to as “CrackBerry” by people who are obsessed with Blackberry smartphones.
According to the sources, between December 2006 and May 2007, one Defining Presence Marketing Group (DPMG) had filed four applications for registering the “CrackBerry” trademark for different types of goods and services like web-based marketing, computer services, online chat rooms and apparel.
Research in Motion (RIM) opposed all four applications on the grounds that use of the "CrackBerry" trademark would cause confusion among public and argued that it has the risk that the trademarks would lead to dilution, which would weaken the distinctive quality and reputation of the BlackBerry trademark.
In contrast DPMG argued that the registrations should be continued because the term CrackBerry is merely a satire of BlackBerry and there is no likelihood that confusion would exist. Conversely the judge dictated that RIM's BlackBerry handsets were already widely referred to by the term "CrackBerry" long before DPMG’s application for registering the trademarks, which supported RIM’s claim on likelihood of confusion.
Courtesy: Pinsent Masons LLP
The story was first published in INTELLECT Issue no.1, dated April 2012