Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who's Infringing Now? Sauce for the Goose is Sauce for the Gander.

tata nano parodyIn a surprising turnabout, Tata Motors, manufacturers of the new Nano automobile, has been named as respondent in a case before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by Lucasfilm and interested parties connected with the 1970s hit sitcom Mork and Mindy.

The complaint alleges that the name of the recently introduced subcompact automobile “Tata Nano” was misappropriated from properties of interest to each party. Complainants contend that they are the lawful proprietors of certain trade and service marks (only slightly altered for use by the respondent) by priority of adoption and on the basis of continuous and extensive use, and request an immediate cease-and-desist order for use of the name.

The complaint points out that the automobile's first name (Tata) closely resembles a simple dehyphenated retrogradation of the acronym AT-AT applied to the elephantine troop carrier/gun platform appearing in the first Star Wars film, which predates the release of the smaller vehicle by more than thirty years. Unnamed co-complainants connected with the Mork and Mindy series charge that the vehicle's second name (Nano) is remarkably similar to the farewell salute uttered by the show's star at the close of virtually every episode, all of which were produced twenty to thirty years before the new car's introduction.

Attorneys for the complainants insist that their case is unaffected by the recent engagement of Mork and Mindy star Robin Williams as spokesmodel for the new vehicle's television marketing push in the United States. We would have called representatives of the respondents for their comment but that's a very long-distance call, they talk funny, and it's the weekend, and you know how that goes. Besides, this is a parody.