Monday, January 30, 2006


Slate on Ford Fusion ads that look like iPod ads. This post was going to be called "Initial interest confusion, thy name is Ford," but at the bottom of the article, the reporter notes that Apple gave permission.

Ford's car communications manager says, "the iPod is so iconic that people stop to watch the ad." To which the reporter points out, "Yes. Because people think it's a new iPod ad. And iPod ads are often fresh and entertaining. When it turns out to be an ad for a midsize sedan, I imagine that people mostly lose interest." I'm not a big fan of the initial interest confusion doctrine, yet I agree that maybe this wasn't the best use of the brand on Apple's part.

In a future dilution action against one of the many businesses that use the iPod in advertising, should this be evidence that the mark is already diluted? Even though Apple granted permission, and thus there's no infringement, promiscuous use may still dissipatet he special attributes of fame for dilution purposes. (Compare to the idea of self-tarnishment, as in these dual-authorized rivalry figurines.)

I may be able to teach my dilution classes entirely with Apple/iPod examples.

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