Doctor Who?

Doctor Who is a science fiction television program of the BBC. Doctor Who is the main character who travels through time with the Tardis, a blue phone booth (which one used to use in order to call the police).

The BBC is “not amused” by the use of the mark Tardis by Tardis Tardis Environmental UK, a company that rents portable toilets. The trademark is identical, moreover, the visual element in the logo of Tardis has a striking resemblance with a phone booth. The BBC, proprietor of the trademark Tardis since 1976, fears confusion and dilution of the trademark and announced to contact the company.

Well, we do not expect that this will evolve into a massive court case. Nevertheless, there is an interesting question whether a fictive product name such as Tardis can be a valid trademark. Other fictive trademarks are the Nimbus 2000 (the broom of Harry Potter) and Duff beer of the Simpsons (the latter is subject of continuing fights).

Arnaud Bos

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