Environmental group Save the Earth Enterprises, claiming that a Honda Civic commercial infringes upon its logo, filed suit Dec. 23.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, seeks to recover Honda’s profits from the ad campaign by American Honda Motor Co. and its advertising agency, Rubin Postaer & Co., according to a press release.
It also seeks to stop future use by Honda of the Save the Earth trademark.
“The Honda ad campaign confused people into thinking that we endorsed Honda or were affiliated with Honda. We aren’t affiliated with them and don’t endorse them,” said Save the Earth Foundation founder Neal Pargman.
Pargman since 1972 has been selling merchandise with the Save the Earth U.S.-registered trademark. Pargman said that Honda’s commercial displayed several uses of the Save the Earth trademark. He says Honda used the trademark without permission, and ignored cease-and-desist letters.
One commercial features a man wearing a “Save the Earth” t-shirt, reports Motor Trend.
Or, as Media Bistro describes the commercial, it “features a hippie type sporting a ‘Save the Earth’ t-shirt and getting out of his 70’s Civic CCC. As he strolls on the sidewalk, time lapse footage takes us through different eras of the t-shirt (slogan intact) and the Civic itself.”
This is not the only trademark case involving eco logos in recent times.
In 2008, Apple filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opposing the “GreeNYC” logo being used by New York’s tourism group, NYC & Co.
In 2007, the High Court of Australia dismissed a bid by BP to have the green Pantone colour 348C used in its logo registered as its trademark.