Monday, January 06, 2014

The Cadillac of nominative fair use questions

Check out the tagline for this Thermador ad: “The Swiss Army Knife® for the Culinary Obsessive.”  In the mouseprint footnote, there’s a link to the Thermador website and the statement “® Swiss Army is a registered trademark of Victorinox AG and its affiliates.”  Assuming no permission (as this type of TM disclosure is equally common with comparative ads where the TM owner didn't give permission), is this likely to cause affiliation/permission confusion?  Nominative fair use?  Dilutive?  What if there is permission—does the brand strategy have anything to tell us about “dilution”?

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