Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Smashing Pumpkins goes after Virgin after 17 years

Another bizarre branding case! The Smashing Pumpkins is suing Virgin records, claiming that Virgin misappropriated its brand in tunes and ads apart from the intended use of their music, especially in a promotional campaign for "Pepsi Stuff." Although the band has worked with Virgin for seventeen years, apparently, it claims, Virgin only had permission to sell online downloads. The suit was filed in Los Angeles.

The E! News story "Smashing Pumpkins Sue Label Over Ads; Pumpkins Hammer Virgin" is by Josh Greenberg, and appears here, and (AP story on AOL) here. The general reaction of the public in the AOL survey that appears is that the suit is frivolous. A copy of the suit (from the Eonline site link) is here (PDF).

From the reports, this does sound like a case of "dilution" (Pumpkins claims its commercial reputation is tarnished) although here it appeared retrospectively, can could have been alleged even before the 2006 Trademark Dilution Revision Act passed.

One of Donald Trump's "Apprentice" tasks was to design a new Pepsi bottle and ad campaign, and I remember that the losing side made the bottle, a globe, into a "geography lesson."

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