/ July 1, 2008

Chance of Suing Coke? About "Zero"

Bluesprings Water Company challenged Coca-Cola one too many times it seems. The water bottlers, based out of Chicago, have all but vanished from the beverage industry but have not given up their claim that Coke is infringing on a nonexistent trademark. Bluesprings created Naturally Zero Canadian Natural Spring Water in 1997, offered it to the Coke brand in 2002 then found the opportunity for legal action too great to pass up when Coca-Cola created its own “Zero” line of products in 2004. Since then, Bluesprings has presented Coke with 6 different threats ranging from contesting trademark registration to demanding millions of dollars in damages as well as intentional defamation of the Coca-Cola name. Despite repeated contact from their legal counsel, the Coca-Cola Company has yet to see any threats unfold from Bluesprings leading them to follow through on the water company’s empty promises.

Coke is seeking an official statement that they are in no way infringing on any trademark, considering Bluesprings’ application with the US Patent and Trademark Office was never completed, and even in the case of a previously obtained trademark, their products are distinctive enough that they will not interfere with the other’s competition. While it was admirable for a small company to try to take on one of today’s corporate giants, Bluesprings should probably count their blessings that this is the only action Coke is taking. Some are suggesting that perhaps they took the new Coke Zero marketing campaign just a tad too seriously. Considering the company appears to be absent from the industry already, it is most likely in their best interest to stay that way, or at least out of Coke’s way.

Source: Law.com

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