[pp.int.general] Fwd: [The IPKat] "You’re So Vain; You Probably Think This Plate is about You"

Amelia Andersdotter teirdes at gmail.com
Sun Jun 26 19:16:34 CEST 2011

it's not theft if texas is doing it :P

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: 	[The IPKat] "You’re So Vain; You Probably Think This Plate is 
about You"
Date: 	Sat, 25 Jun 2011 22:37:22 -0700 (PDT)
From: 	Jeremy <jjip at btinternet.com>
Reply-To: 	jjip at btinternet.com
To: 	ipkat_readers at googlegroups.com


/*Image <http://www.flickr.com/photos/coolmallu/1925949768/>*: BY-NC-SA 
coolmallu /

The IPKat is thrilled to have persuaded his friend and fellow-blogger 
*Aurelia J. Schultz 
<http://www.blogger.com/profile/04296562132231894342>* to metamorphose a 
brief Tweet into a fully-fledged blog post for him to host. It's all 
about that splendid phenomenon, the customised motor car licence plate. 
  Writes Aurelia:

    "There’s been a whole lot of hullabaloo lately as trade mark owners
    brace themselves for the onslaught of infringements expected with
    new top-level-domains.  But it’s not just the information
    superhighway where trade mark owners need to watch; they might want
    to take a look around on the paved highway too.

    Texas has found a new way to make money.  People, well Americans at
    least, love to showcase their individuality.  And with over *100
    hours a year
    spent driving, what better place to showcase your individuality than
    on your very own specially-for-you licence plate?  These licence
    plates, called vanity plates, usually are available for a small
    additional fee through the state department of motor vehicles when
    you register your car.  You submit your first few choices and hope
    that someone else hasn’t already taken “ILUVTM”.  Texas, however, is
    doing things a little differently, exploiting the market, and so far
    that exploitation has brought in some big bucks.  But, should the
    bucks really go to Texas?

    Texas is auctioning of highly sought after plates.  Rather than a
    small fee and the hope that you’re first, you can secure the licence
    plates of dream to showcase your individuality by out-bidding every
    other individual who wants to identify themselves the exact same
    way.  The Wall Street Journal *highlights
    commonly-desired plates, such as single digit numbers and AMERICA. 
    But the most interesting plates mentioned, fetching $7,500 and
    $15,000, were not numbers or places.  They were trade marks.

    “FERRARI”, just the word on a licence plate, went for $15,000 in
    Texas.  “PORSCHE” sold for $7,500.  Both (arguably) well-known trade
    marks related to cars, one has to wonder if the companies should
    have some say, or some piece, of what’s going on here.  (One also
    wonders whether Texas requires that the FERRARI plate only go on a
    FERRARI.  Perhaps the threat of society laughing at your FERRARI
    licence plate on a ’72 Pinto takes care of that.)

    It would be hard to find trade mark infringement here since no one
    is going to confuse a licence plate for a car, or think that a car
    is a Porsche just because the licence plate says PORSCHE.  And
    people know that licence plates are produced by the state, usually
    by the prisons, and not by car companies.  There’s also no unfair
    competition here as the licence plate is not competing with the
    actual car.  Dilution would be hard to show since there can be at
    most 50 licence plates with the TM, maybe 500 if there’s enough room
    for a digit (Note: the author does not know of any states that allow
    more than 7 spaces on a licence plate.)

    Texas does seem, however, to be unfairly gaining a hefty amount of
    money thanks to the strengths of these brands.  Shouldn’t they be
    sharing tha
    large pot?"

Thoughts, anyone?

Posted By Jeremy to The IPKat 
on 6/26/2011 06:37:00 AM --
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