Liquor giant Bacardi has a new big thing, and it’s called Tang.
No, not that Tang. The powered orange drink that became famous as the beverage of astronauts in the 1960s is a registered trademark of Mondelez International, which several years ago acquired several snack brands spun off by Kraft Foods.
Bacardi’s Tang is a liquor distilled from fermented Chinese green tea. It’s applied to the Patent and Trademark Office to register its “Tang” logo for a tea distilled spirit and alcoholic beverages except beer.
Mondelez—which has the Tang mark registered for soft drinks and powders, syrups and concentrates used in the preparation of soft drinks—hasn’t publicly opposed Bacardi’s application. It’s conceivable that it could eventually fight it on the grounds that Bacardi’s Tang would create confusion with Tang soft drinks, but someone has expressed displeasure first.
That would be the Texas Rangers. The ball club is fighting Bacardi’s registration because, it says, the “T” in Bacardi’s Tang logo looks too much like the “T” in the Texas Rangers logo.
The purpose of trademarks is to identify the source of goods and services, and the Rangers claim that the goods and services they sell under their trademarks include “wine and other alcoholic beverages,” as well as beverage ware; food and beverage services; apparel; paper goods and printed matter; toys and sporting goods; and novelty items.
The PTO can deny Bacardi’s trademark application if it finds it would cause confusion with the Rangers’ trademarks. But is anyone really going to think that the Texas Rangers are selling green tea liquor?
Well, yes, say the Rangers. The baseball team argues that letting Bacardi use the logo will create a likelihood of confusion among consumers, leading them to believe that the club is somehow connected to or approves of the liquor.
So far, not much has happened in the cancellation proceedings. But one item on the case docket indicates that the matter has been suspended while the parties engage in settlement negotiations.
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