While the brand extension from construction and earth-moving equipment to boots makes perfect sense, especially the steel-toe variety, here is the explanation for women’s casual dress shoes:
Photo credit: G. Baird
Marketers, the extension seems unnatural and forced to me, but I’d love to hear from our readers who have a stronger vantage point on whether this brand extension will work long term for Cat.
What called me to create this story for you is the hidden trademark strategy to be unearthed.
“Footwear” is one of those broad descriptions of goods that the USPTO will accept as sufficiently precise. Selecting it facilitates and better positions your brand for line extensions yet to come.
In other words, narrowly selecting “slippers” or “steel-toe boots” over “footwear,” in trademark filings may leave you boxed in when seeking to expand or extend the lines of your present brand.
Not sure when Caterpillar first introduced women’s casual dress shoes under the Cat brand, but it has owned federally-registered rights in the word CAT for “footwear” for more than a decade.
Caterpillar likely began using CAT with steel-toe boots, but given its broader registered rights, I’m guessing it didn’t lose much sleep wondering if it could grow into those broader registered rights.