Advertising Age reports of the brand new false advertising lawsuit: Gatorade v. Powerade.

Daily Bread reports on the lawsuit too, here.

For those of you who have been looking for a copy of the complaint, it is finally available, here (pages 1-7), here (pages 8-14), here (pages 15-18), and here (pages 19-22).

More later, but for now the complaint has six counts, including: (1) Federal false and misleading advertising; (2) Federal trademark dilution; (3) Unfair competition under NY State Law; (4) Trademark Dilution under NY State Law; (5) Deceptive Acts & Practices under NY State Law; and (6) Common Law Unfair Competition.

Probably the most interesting claim will be the trademark dilution claims that allege tarnishment, disparagement, and a denigration of the famous GATORADE trademark and trade dress. These claims are reminiscent of the claims brought in the successful John Deere v. Yardman lawsuit from 1994, where the court enjoined an advertisement that put into motion and cast the famous running stag logo in an unfavorable light.

  • Another interesting case that involved Quaker Oats, owner of the Gatorade mark, occurred in the early 1990s. I was a new associate at the law firm that defended Quaker Oats, Willian, Brinks, Olds, Hofer, Gilson, and Lione, in Chicago at the time.
    In advertisements, Quaker Oats used the slogan “Gatorade is thirst-aid for that deep down body thirst.” Quaker Oats was sued by the owner of the “Thirst-Aid” mark used in the slogan; lost at the lower court, and appealed to the 7th Circuit. It is an interesting case (factually and legally), and a link to the case can be found at http://altlaw.org/v1/cases/483608.

  • The Trademark Company

    And so continues the mega companies attempts to expand their trademark rights beyond what they should be. Aside from the last few letters in the respective marks is there really that much similarity here? I’ve played in the Swamp at Florida where Gatorade got its start. I’ve enjoyed Powerade in recent years. Never once have I been confused. Moreover if Gatorade wants to exclude others from using “ADE” maybe they should just file to protect that mark. Or perhaps the powers that be can lobby Congress for an amendment to the act – like the ITU statute – wherein derivatives and roots of marks are officially and not subjectively protected in an underlying application.

  • Actually, this was a false advertising case, not a trademark infringement case, so no allegation that Gatorade and Powerade are confusingly similar.