These Are The 10 Biggest Brand Bullies In The United States

Lance Armstrong

Photo: AP

The San Francisco-based website Trademarkia has launched a campaign to expose companies who bully smaller businesses for allegedly misusing or copying their brands.While trademark bullying is hardly a new phenomenon, it’s always surprising to see the most prominent offenders.

Lance Armstrong, founder of Livestrong, for example, might be an admirable philanthropist, but if you’re a company that uses either “live” or “strong” in your name, Armstrong (or at least his lawyers) will get on his bike and hunt you down.

“It’s really unfair because you’re trying to build your brand around a name,” Tradmarkia co-founder Raj Abhyanker told Business Insider. “And you aren’t thinking about Lance Amstrong; you’re just thinking about the word ‘strong.'”

10: UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship: 18 Trademark Complaints in 2011

Zuffa is the owner of UFC: Ultimate Fighting Championship, so it doesn't take potential infringement sitting down.

Zuffa went after Cage Life, a Karate training centre, for using an eight-sided competition mat (much like UFC's) in its logo.

9. TeleTracking Technologies: 18 Trademark Complaints in 2011

TeleTracking has 'bullied' Culture Track, AutoTrac, SoundTrack ... you get the idea. Don't use the word 'track'!

8. Facebook, Inc.: 18 Trademark Complaints in 2011

Companies that want to use either 'face' or 'book' in their names can expect a prompt opposition filing. That's a problem for companies such as Red Book, Blue Book and MyYearBook.

4. Johnson & Johnson: 20 Trademark Complaints in 2011

Best examples:

Johnson & Johnson deemed Band-Animals and Fan-Aids to be too close to Band-Aids. KyStrips, which sells wound dressings and antibiotic creams, was too similar to K-Y Gel.

6. Blue Cross Blue Shield: 21 Trademark Complaints in 2011

Blue Cross' oppositions have seemed more reasonable. The health care provider often files disputes if a different health-related company uses 'blue' in its name (or even has a blue cross in its logo).

5. K-2 Corporation: 22 Trademark Complaints in 2011

K-2 Corporation manufactures Ride Snowboards and recently acquired Zoot Sports. That means most things featuring 'ride' or 'zoot' (particularly relating to sports clothing or equipment) isn't safe. This includes Zootie B. Little of the Zootie Patootie children's clothing company.

4. Zynga Inc.: 23 Trademark Complaints in 2011

The Farmville creator will go after any company that uses 'ville' in its name.

Victims include: Cupidville, Quackville, Neanderville, Cruiseville, Blingville, Dietville, Footballville ... you get the idea.

3. Apple Inc.: 24 Trademark Complaints in 2011

Apple goes after companies that include 'i' or 'pod' or 'apple' in their names, and it doesn't like with logos featuring a picture of an apple, either.

Check out Tesco's fresh & easy neighbourhood Market.

2. Lance Armstrong Foundation: 26 Trademark Complaints In 2011

It appears as if Lance Armstrong has now claimed to have exclusive rights to the word 'strong.'

He has filed oppositions against an apparel store called Live the Beauty of Being Strong (a long name but, come on, not at all derivative), Headstrong Fight Gear, Born Strong Athletics, and the clothing supplier Christ Strong.

1. Kellogg's North America: 40 Trademark Complaints in 2011

This is one mean rooster.

Kellogg's has filed oppositions against SNAP! 1-2-3 maths Kits and MAD POPS (which sells bath salts, hair gels, nail polish, etc.) for allegedly ripping off its beloved Snap, Crackle, and Pop Rice Krispies characters.

Honorable Mention: McDonald's

Sorry, Irish companies. If there's a 'Mc' or a 'Mac,' there's going to be a problem.

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