Puma devours Poodle

German artist Thomas Horn is the creative mind behind the new clothing line PUDEL. The logo shows a black silhouette of a jumping poodle. The word PUDEL is written in the same font as PUMA’s. The trademark was used to sell T-shirts to which PUMA reacted. Horn claimed that his expression of PUDEL was protected by his right to freedom of speech. The trademark was a parody on PUMA and should therefore be allowed.

The court did not agree with him. The new logo is suspiciously similar to PUMA’s and is being used for the same goods. This means there is trademark infringement. In trademark law there is no such thing as a parody exception. A claim to freedom of speech is therefore misplaced. The logo is used in such a way that it profits from PUMA’s reputation. Of course PUMA fully agreed with this. Use of the logo in a satirical magazine is not a problem, commercial use however is a leap too far.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?