> However, in order to be in violation of a trademark, there must be a
> substantial risk of consumer confusion. So a person displaying this sign in
> their garage, on their barn, etc. is not likely to make a consumer think
> it's a MG dealer or service department.
True. Trademark violation usually centers around whether the use in question
dilutes the strength of the trademark. That doesn't, however, mean that the
courts don't get crazy some times.
A local bar band called "The Raisins" had played cincinnati bars since the
late 70's. They were sued by the California Raisin Board for trademark
dilution in the mid 80's after the claymation TV commercials aired and the
raisin people trademarked the "Use of images of Raisins engaged in musical
activities" or some such. The courts found that there was dilution. Three
midwestern white guys playing bar music in Cincinnati were diluting the
strength of a bunch of claymation raisins.
Of course, the court also found that because the band had used the mark long
before the singing fruit, they did not have to cease and desist.
Until, that is, they teamed up with long time Bowie/King Crimson guitarist
Adrian Belew and recorded an album as "The Bears". The Fruit people went
back to court and argued that the band had abandoned the trademark, and won.
(And the band was forced to change their name, now they're the Psychodots.)
Of course, none of this has anything to do with MGs, so I'll stop.
/// or try http://www.team.net/cgi-bin/majorcool
/// Archives at http://www.team.net/archive