Who is Bob? Bob is the one who stays sober during a night out with friends. Bob has been introduced by the Belgian Road Institute in order to raise awareness of the dangers of driving with alcohol. And Bob is huge success. In Belgium and Holland, everyone knows Bob, meanwhile the campaign has been launched in France (with Sam), Germany and Luxembourg too.
Bob is protected as a word mark and logo in the Benelux and now the trademarks have also been filed in the EU. The danger of using a term / person like Bob is that Bob becomes a kind of synonym for a term (a person who doesn’t drink). And we all know that trademarks and synonyms do not go along very well. Advertorials like Ready to bob and Bob keeps the zero are not contributing to keeping Bob a trademark.
So why the fuss about the correct use of the trademark someone (a non-trademark practitioner) would say. Well, sometimes you need your trademark registration. Like in the current case with The Green Bob, a campaign of the United Coffeeshops in Eindhoven (VCE). This campaaign uses the same logo but then in -right- green. The aim of this campaign is the awareness of smoking hash and driving.
A letter with an objection has already been sent, and VCE is now thinking about a defense. In case of a valid and well-known trademark, this would be a clear case. And while we still think that Bob is a trademark, you do not want a discussion about the validity of your trademark.
Source: Studio 040
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“Trademark protection gives freedom to do business.”