Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Subaru’s Use of Phrase ‘Share the Love’ Doesn’t Infringe on Trademark
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held yesterday that carmaker Subaru of America, in using the words “share the love” in connection with fundraisers for charities, does not infringe on the trademarked phrase, “A World of Love, for You and Those You Love.”
The memorandum opinion from a three-judge panel affirms the dismissal of an infringement action brought by Marilyn D. Mintz, who bills herself as an “Artist, Writer, Inventor, Business Person, including Licensor.”
The opinion declares that “Mintz does not plausibly allege trademark infringement.”
Subaru’s phrase and Mintz’s, the opinion points out, “only share the generic word ‘love,’ which could not be trademarked on its own and cannot plausibly be the ground for an infringement claim.”
Mintz also contended that a heart on a hand used by Subaru infringes on her trademarked figure of a man whose torso takes the shape of a heart.
Subaru’s design, the opinion says, is plainly not similar to Mintz’s ‘Heart on Hand’ trademark except in the use of a common symbol. Mintz’s design includes a hand that is circumscribed by a heart and includes an entire body; Subaru’s design includes a hand that radiates blue beams and is not connected to a body. Considered in their entireties, the designs arc so facially dissimilar that they cannot plausibly create a likelihood of contusion.”
The case is Mintz v. Subaru of America, Inc., 16-16840.
The panel was comprised of Chief Judge Sidney Thomas and Judges Carlos F. Lucero and Judge John Byron Owens.
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