While Missouri residents may be particularly familiar with the renowned Energizer Bunny, they might be surprised to learn that Duracell, a major competitor of Energizer, has allegedly used a similar pink bunny in its own advertising. Because of the supposed use of this feature in Duracell packaging appearing in U.S. retail locations in the latter half of 2015, Energizer has filed suit against Duracell and its former parent company.
The current conflict is based on the fact that the two battery companies made an agreement in 1992, which restricted Duracell in its use of the bunny for U.S. products and advertising. The suit suggests that the prominent use of the figure in company packaging equates to malicious, intentional, and willful exploitation of Energizer’s trademark. The company hopes to obtain a permanent injunction to prohibit use of the Duracell Bunny. Energizer is seeking financial damages as well.
In a situation involving competitors using similar logos, colors, and phrases to create brand recognition, it may be important to register one’s trademark to protect the right to use those factors in advertising and product development. Failing to protect one’s trademark could lead to serious potential for business litigation if a competitor successfully registers its own variation of a similar concept. At the same time, a company might want to do extensive research to ensure that its ideas are not so similar to a competitor’s that there would be confusion when choosing one product or brand over another.
A business lawyer can be extremely helpful for a company that is working to develop a recognizable brand. This may provide for skillful research into similar intellectual material so that serious and costly conflicts can be avoided. Additionally, a lawyer may handle the process of registering certain intellectual materials on behalf of a client.