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cat fight
blog 2 Jun 2017

First ‘bull fight’ now ‘cat fight’?

Trademarks
Large brands sometimes have logos that are very similar. That can go well for decades, without brands interfering with one another. This was also the case with Jaguar and Puma. However, due to a recent trademark application by Puma, this has changed and the two 'cats' have now gotten into a cat fight.

Jaguar and Puma use the image of a jaguar and a puma in their logo. Both predators look alike, as well as in real life as in their logos. Jaguar however manufactures luxurious, fast cars, while Puma manufactures sporting goods. Both brands therefore left each other alone for a long time. Yet now Puma filed a trademark application for certain means of transportation in the United States, Jaguar believes that Puma is intruding its territory.

Jaguar's appeal

Puma’s application concerns boats, motorised golf carts and baby wagons. According to Jaguar, Puma has entered the territory of the car manufacturer, which makes it confusing for consumers to see who the actual manufacturer of these means of transportation is. That confusion can damage the worth of their brand, fears Jaguar. On 8 May 2017, Jaguar filed an appeal against Puma at the American trademark authority.

Car manufacturers, sports brands and ‘animal-named brands’ often have issues with each other. In the Netherlands, the yearlong ‘bull fight’ between the energy drink brand Red Bull and the famous coffee shop The Bulldog only ended recently.
Bart ten Doeschate - Trademarks & Designs

Comparison with other cases

Car manufacturers, sports brand and ‘animal-named brands’ often have issues with each other. Earlier this year, there was a case in the United States between Adidas and Tesla. Tesla withdrew its trademark application after Adidas objected against a Tesla logo which contained three stripes. In the Netherlands, the yearlong ‘bull fight’ between energy drink brand Red Bull and famous coffee shop The Bulldog only ended recently. Given the similar names, Red Bull argued that The Bulldog infringed its trademark by also selling energy drinks. This was not the case, ruled the judge.

Uncertain outcome

The outcome of the Jaguar vs Puma case is still unclear. It is possible that both parties will hold up a good fight in court, because we are dealing with two big, strong brands. Jaguar has substantiated its objection with clear arguments. We will have to wait and see if Puma will be impressed with that, or if the brand will let it become a yearlong ‘cat fight’. If it turns out to be the latter, it will be very interesting to see who will become the victor.