Vodafone has failed connection with US Copyright Office over logo protection
Written by Ellis Sweetenham on 30 August 2018« Return to Reading Room
As one of the biggest telecommunications companies across the world, you may be surprised by Vodafone’s struggles with their US IP.
Part of their branding since 1998, the red and white logo which features an apostrophe in a circle has been a key recognisable indicator for them for some time.
In line with a boost of its use within the company’s branding, Vodafone made an application in the US to register the logo for copyright protection in December 2016.
Unlike in the UK and EU, a copyright owner can register their protection in the US which aids them in confirming their ownership when an issue or dispute arises.
Vodafone’s 2016 application was refused by the US Copyright Office in 2017 on the basis that it lacked ‘the authorship necessary to support a copyright claim’. In short, the Office deemed the logo lacking in minimum standard of creativity required.
In October 2017, Vodafone pushed the Office to reconsider their decision, but the review board stated in March 2018 that due to the familiar shapes contained in the mark, the decision was upheld.
Vodafone again were not happy with this and appealed the decision once more in June this year. They argued that the logo did have the required creative elements as the apostrophe in the centre was in fact a ‘ballooned droplet’.
However, yet again Vodafone failed to connect as the Review Board again refused the application on the basis that the shapes included are common geometric shapes, the use of colour did not add to the creative authorship of the logo and the limited shading also failed to affect the logo’s protectability.
It is likely that this decision is the end of the road for Vodafone- but watch this space for any further updates.
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