You would think politicians would be more wise but history teaches us otherwise. A group of Canadian politician thought it would be a good idea to use their three names in a Nine Inch Nails logo t-shirt but now they are in some hot water for their trademark infringement.
A couple of weeks ago, three Canadian politicians from the province of Alberta had a meeting of the “minds”. Edmonton’s mayor, Don Iveson, Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Neshi, and Alberta Premier, Rachel Notley, had a big meeting to discuss such issues as the need for the province to move ahead on upstream flood mitigation measures and the government’s proposed hike of the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Following the meeting, Notley and Neshi left holding up shirts which feature their last names below the Nine Inch Nail logo. The three politicians last names start with an N, I and N. Get it? Nenshi joked “we’ve gone from Notley Crue to Nine Inch Nails.” Apparently, the three didn’t have permission to use the trademark on the t-shirts.
The Nine Inch Nails logo was registered as a U.S. trademark in 1995 and has been used since Trent Reznor created the mostly one man band in the late 1980’s. The logo has been emblazoned on everything from the band’s albums to t-shirts to my notebooks back in college. It is trademark infringement to reproduce another’s trademark and use it on a competing good without permission. Of course, there are defenses to such allegations such as Fair Use and parody. The Three Stooges of Canadian politics should brush up on what parody is after getting some bad feedback from the shirts.
Yesterday, Iveson was asked about the witty shirts and quickly clammed up and uttered out the word: “infringement.” Iveson also stated, “we got advice that there were some concerns about the trademark and essentially to cease and desist”. Neshi’s office made the statement, “it is not aware of any legal ramifications, and only three shirts were made with no intention of producing on a large scale for retail.” No doubt the three received a friendly letter from Trent Reznor.
Oh our politicians, maybe they will think before they commit acts of trademark infringement in the future.