Honda Sued For Trademark Infringement For Suggesting It Wants To Save The Earth

from the okay,-don't-save-the-earth dept

Be careful suggesting that you want to “save the earth.” Automaker Honda just did that in an ad with a guy wearing a “save the earth” t-shirt, and for doing so, it got slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit from the Save the Earth Foundation, which apparently has a trademark on that phrase (and has had it since 1972). The foundation claims that the ad was implying endorsement by the foundation. I wonder if morons in a hurry have any interest in saving the earth.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: honda, save the earth foundation

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Honda Sued For Trademark Infringement For Suggesting It Wants To Save The Earth”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
32 Comments

Bought vs drew the shirts?

I assume Honda didn’t actually buy t-shirts with the slogan on them, but actually drew them in their video editing program or whatever. Would it make a difference if they had purchased a bunch of shirts and used them in the ads? Would that shift the liability to any t-shirt vendor who used the slogan without a license? Honda probably still has the deepest pockets, though.

Re: Bought vs drew the shirts?

“I assume Honda didn’t actually buy t-shirts with the slogan on them, but actually drew them in their video editing program or whatever.”

Why would you assume that?

This is the new world of trademark litigation, where you can shut down anything in which your trademark appears. Documentary film makers have been dealing with this headache for years.

taoareyousays:

Although something as generic as “save the Earth” as a trademark is inane, why didn’t they just say “save the planet”? Or has that been trademarked, too? How about: “save the 3rd generally large object in current orbit around our sun”?

It’s amusing that nobody is allowed to save the Earth now unless they are authorized.

Anonymoussays:

We should think about it more charitably

Save the earth is a good and right cause. We should have tolerance and perhaps think a little more charitably in cases like this. Honda is just using the saying to make money, Save the Earth is trying to accomplish something good and noble. We MUST err on the side of good causes not large corporations if this world is to survive.

intervalsays:

Re: We should think about it more charitably

Ok, assuming your serious, how does litigating a ridiculous trademark infringement (and its been show many times that these lawsuits aren’t even legal in many cases, although this one MAY have some “merit” (it makes me sick to even use the term here) further that “good and noble” cause? Sounds like another money grab to me. Seems like the good and noble thing to do would have been to let Honda alone. The ad might have been seen by millions of people with the guy’s t-shirt right square in the middle of it all. Now its just an ugly footnote in legal history and makes Save the Earth look like another greedy corp. Some times the litigator needs to err on the side of good.

John Spielmansays:

Re: We should think about it more charitably

Umm, yeah…Save the Earth Foundation is trying to accomplish something good.
That’s why they’re concerned about an ad using the phrase “save the earth”?
If they gave a crap about saving the earth, they wouldn’t give a crap about an ad that suggests people “save the earth.”

terresays:

trademark holders are required to defend it or lose it

Honda is not as harmful to life on Earth as Monsanto or Chevron, but they are all large corporations that advertise how green they are.

If Save The Earth Foundation didn’t protect their trademark they could lose the right to control the trademark. Consider the reasons Save the Earth might have to protect that trademark:

First, the legal requirement to take action if another company uses your trademark to promote themselves. It causes confusion, which is one of the basic tenets of trademark law. (Does Save The Earth endorse Honda? Is Honda partnering with Save The Earth to do good?

Next is monetary value of the trademark. It costs money to get and maintain a trademark, and Save The Earth has had their trademark since 1972. Trademarks gain value over time (Coke’s is worth billions). Trademark infringement is basically theft – of intellectual property.

Trademark holders can license their image. Honda can afford to pay a license fee. My question would be, did they offer to pay a licensing fee and were turned down by Save The Earth (who surely spent more time on the question than you and me). Or did Honda blow off the little environmental organization and not pay a fair licensing fee? Or did the ad agency throw the phrase on there without researching it, and Honda’s PR people missed it too?

Honda is doing a lot to develop fuel-efficient cars. At the same time, someone needs to hold the greenwashing corporations accountable. A trademark on Save The Earth is one way to do that. Check out thegreenlifeonline.org for their a Greenwasher of the Month.

rlsimmonsjrsays:

Honda Infringed on Save The Earth

Of course Save the Earth (STE) foundation sued. It does imply an endorsement by them. It would be seen more clearly if a less attractive and popular company was using their (STE) trademark. For example, if a Japanese dolphin-killing company or a baby-seal hunter group were to advertise using a t-shirt with STE on the actors in the commercial. Automobile ARE one of the main polluters on earth. It is their (STE) right, whether you agree with their decision or not, to choose which products they endorse. It is not a frivolous lawsuit. I’m surprised I keep seeing so many right-wing types on tech sites.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop ┬╗

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it