– Karen Brennan, Attorney
As an opening note, I am able to write about more than being a new mom, but it does bring up previously unexplored and interesting topics. Today: Baby Einstein. While I am sure most mothers agree that television is not the best thing for an infant, given the success of the Baby Einstein videos, it seems to be generally accepted to plop a baby in front of the television for a fifteen-minute video that could make him a genius. However, I am betting the popularity has more to do with allowing a mom a few minutes to take a shower than an attempt to turn a drooling three-month old who would rather eat the video box than watch the video into a genius.
This blog is not meant to discuss the merits of such videos and the impact on babies’ cognitive development, but rather note the interesting coexistence of highly similar trademarks in this field. A friend gave us a few Baby Einstein videos (her words). When I went to pop one in for junior (in desperate need of a shower), I realized the video was actually a Baby Genius video. While I am no genius, it seems like these two highly similar trademarks for identical goods would cause some confusion in the marketplace, particularly given the success of the Baby Einstein videos. The Baby Einstein company was started by a mom more than a decade ago and has since been purchased by Disney. Today, I doubt there is a mom out there who hasn’t heard of the videos and wondered how essential they are to her child’s development.
From a brief search of the Trademark Office database and the Internet, it appears these brands are peacefully coexisting and have been for quite some time. Maybe the marks are considered weak, given the other similar marks such as Brainy Baby, Bilingual Baby and Amazing Baby, but none seem quite as close as Baby Einstein and Baby Genius. Regardless, unless it is a hygiene emergency, I think I will try to stick with reading and talking to my baby.