Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
 
Rossiya747
Posts: 322
Joined: Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:56 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:59 am

washingtonflyer wrote:
I'll give you a perfect example of a common use trademark word that has sparked major battles: Prime.


Optimus Prime v. Amazon Prime
223 319 320 321 332 333 346 388 734 737 738 739 38M 744 752 753 763 764 772 773 77W 788 789 208 CRJ2 E145 E190 UA DL AA WN AC CM 4O AV 2K FI DY D8 SK LH EI FR U2 IB OS LX BA VS BT PS MS SA SW QR EY HY AI 9W TG SQ MH AK D7 QZ BR NH CA QF MI LV/IB VY AL
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:28 am

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
Not how do people in the public use the term—the public doesn’t matter: they’re not selling anything. Trademark depends on a merchant selling someone or service and using a term to describe it. So, what are APPLE and WHOLE FOODS using “flagship” to sell?


I don’t know if they are, however surely the way the public and the media use a word does change things.
It’s not like I made up that list of 50 flagship stores.



No. As I keep trying to tell you, trademark coverage only concerns a merchant’s use of a term in commerce, i.e. while trying to sell something. That’s why it’s irrelevant if someone other than Apple or Whole Foods is using flagship with respect to Apple’s and Whole Foods’ goods and services that might be covered by AA’s trademark.

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
What are you quoting from?


15.1501, application for a trademark. Sorry I thought you said you were a IP attorney, I had assumed you would know the law on how to apply for a trademark.


I’m just trying to figure out why the good pilot is talking about trademark applications when AA already has the trademark.

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
The word Amazon predates Amazon.com

The word Progressive predates Progressive Auto Insurance.

The word Ford predates Ford Motor Company.

The word DELTA predates Delta Air Lines.

I hope these examples show that a word predating it’s use as a brand is wholly irrelevant.


None of those are good examples, would delta airlines take action if someone designed an aircraft with a delta wing ?


No, because “delta” describes the shape of the wing. It’s purely descriptive. Plus, that word is already in use to describe that shaped wing. Delta does not have and almost certainly could never get a trademark to cover a delta-winged plane.

The examples are on point. You gave us your legal opinion that s company shouldn’t have a trademark on a word if that word already existed. That of course is ridiculous, as these example (and myriad others) show.

zeke wrote:
I still don’t think things are cut and dry as being suggested, they would not have done such things like calling the A350 their flagship aircraft without getting a legal opinion.


And yet, they got sued.

Seriously, that’s your reason for fighting this? Because you think they got a legal opinion? And that legal opinion was 1) correct and 2) followed? I give legal advise all the time, sometimes even saying “you will likely get sued if you do this,” but if you want to be successful, you learn that the business people are the ones actually in charge. Lawyers advise; businesspeople execute.

You should accept that delta must be right because they wouldn’t have done something without talking to their lawyers.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8986
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:03 pm

DLX: Respectfully, you've locked into a position without knowing all the facts here, trying to predict the outcome.

And you're being pretty-aggressive with the pilot folks who are challenging your opinion, just because you're an IP attorney.

Instead, see if you can't argue the other side just as persuasively. I think you probably could. I would start with Flagship being a weak/descriptive mark in many of the contexts that AA is using it, and go from there. And I also would look at the manner in which DL is using it.

I personally think that the outcome here is not even remotely preordained, and it's going to depend on a lot of facts we don't yet know. I also think that the Ft. Worth court has some history of handing AA big hometown victories, only to have the Fifth Circuit rein it in. US v. AA and Crandall is one such example. Of course, the world has changed a lot in the interim time period. Regardless, depending on how the case turns out, if it ever gets there which it probably won't, I wouldn't take the first word as the final word.
 
User avatar
scbriml
Posts: 19126
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:13 pm

Rossiya747 wrote:
washingtonflyer wrote:
I'll give you a perfect example of a common use trademark word that has sparked major battles: Prime.


Optimus Prime v. Amazon Prime


Hi Rossiya747 - please change your signature. It's causing rendering issues because the forum software doesn't break it up, so any thread you post in becomes very wide. Thanks!
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:06 pm

wjcandee wrote:
DLX: Respectfully, you've locked into a position without knowing all the facts here, trying to predict the outcome.

* * *

Instead, see if you can't argue the other side just as persuasively. I think you probably could. I would start with Flagship being a weak/descriptive mark in many of the contexts that AA is using it, and go from there. And I also would look at the manner in which DL is using it.


On the contrary, I'm only countering the people who have said DL will be the clear winner. People in general do not understand trademark law (totally fine!), and have reacted with "you can't trademark a common word." Or, "you can't trademark a word that already exists." Or, "you can't trademark nautical terms." Or most pervasively, "you can't trademark an adjective that you don't live up to." All of those are incorrect. With a correct understanding of trademark law, you can see that AA's case is actually fairly strong. AA has a trademark, and DL is using the exact same word to sell their own particular product. What facts am I missing?

DL's defense, OTOH will be difficult. DL has missed the opportunity to oppose AA's getting the marks, and at least some are now incontestable by law. So now, to avoid liability, they have to prove that they are not using AA's mark (despite the evidence in this thread), that AA shouldn't have the mark (which won't work for incontestable marks) or that the mark is merely descriptive without secondary meaning (my opinion: these marks are suggestive, not descriptive. AA is not selling flagships.). BUT if DL puts up a great argument, I'm not too stubborn to change my mind.

wjcandee wrote:
And you're being pretty-aggressive with the pilot folks who are challenging your opinion, just because you're an IP attorney.

I'm being aggressive with a certain pilot (who can defend himself) because he is spouting out ideas that are utterly contrary to law, such as saying Delta could sue AA for using the word "One" when selling one-way fares. That isn't a matter of opinion. The pilot was wrong.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 2:01 am

D L X wrote:
No. As I keep trying to tell you, trademark coverage only concerns a merchant’s use of a term in commerce, i.e. while trying to sell something. That’s why it’s irrelevant if someone other than Apple or Whole Foods is using flagship with respect to Apple’s and Whole Foods’ goods and services that might be covered by AA’s trademark.


There are lots of examples, and ones I have posted before on this thread like Lufthansa using flagship the same way to describe their A350 services to North America like DL, and the Flagship Ballroom.

There are lots of examples out there, you just want to ignore them if it’s doesn’t suit your agenda.

D L X wrote:
I’m just trying to figure out why the good pilot is talking about trademark applications when AA already has the trademark.


I was a good/sharp pilot probably 25 years ago, now just very average with a lot more experience.

My question was clear, in the US code I posted it is incumbent on the party marking the application to identify and exclude the current use of the trademark.

Flagship is a normal English term that predates the United States, my simple observation is did AA exclude that term that was in use in aviation, in transportation before they made the trademark application ?

Is the application actually valid ? Is one possible outcome from this is the court deems the trademark invalid ?

D L X wrote:
No, because “delta” describes the shape of the wing. It’s purely descriptive. Plus, that word is already in use to describe that shaped wing. Delta does not have and almost certainly could never get a trademark to cover a delta-winged plane.


Let me reword that to show you how silly this sounds

“No, because “flagship” describes the type of aircraft. It’s purely descriptive. Plus, that word is already in use to describe that type of aircraft. AA does not have and almost certainly could never get a trademark to cover a flagship aircraft.

D L X wrote:
Seriously, that’s your reason for fighting this? Because you think they got a legal opinion?


Because I think (my opinion) flagship is a common use word in aviation, there would be 40 companies in the US with flagship trademarks, and its a commonly used term in the press. None of the common uses one associates with AA.

Isn’t the widespread use of the term flagship no different to the way people use the word escalator?

D L X wrote:
On the contrary, I'm only countering the people who have said DL will be the clear winner.


And yet no one has actually said that.

D L X wrote:
I'm being aggressive with a certain pilot (who can defend himself) because he is spouting out ideas that are utterly contrary to law, such as saying Delta could sue AA for using the word "One" when selling one-way fares. That isn't a matter of opinion. The pilot was wrong.


Who said anything about it being a legal opinion ? I’m allowed to express my own opinion.

When has DL actually used flagship or one by itself to describe its products? When they describe their products they include the word Delta, eg Delta One, Delta Sky Club etc

I don’t see how a consumer would be confused with a comment like flagship Delta Sky Club, you have to know what Delta Sky Club is, and if you know it is, that’s Deltas marketing, not AA.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
User avatar
usdcaguy
Posts: 1523
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 12:41 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 3:55 am

Does it not matter whether DL uses the word in lowercase vs. uppercase? For example, an airline can have a flagship lounge without having a Flagship Lounge. IMO the word Flagship as a marketing term is lackluster in this day and age anyway. It doesn’t mean anything anymore, and it’s not because DL uses the term descriptively. AA was once considered a premium carrier, but they slid way down hill. Using old terms to describe products that have been worn out then refreshed is a bad idea. AA should find another name to convey the idea that their products are new and refreshed instead of a sad refrain of days gone by.
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:30 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
American is looking to overhaul their product into the future where Flagship in the American context will have new and exciting offerings.

Like what?
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8986
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 6:01 pm

I think they should solve this the way Herb did, with a grudge match at the Sportatorium!!! I know a lot of people who would love to wrestle Pudgy Dougie. Does DL have any exec's who for sure could kick his butt?
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:07 pm

afcjets wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
American is looking to overhaul their product into the future where Flagship in the American context will have new and exciting offerings.

Like what?


My quote out of context of entire quote I said is a little off. But I was just making a general comment as to why American would want to safe-guard "Flagship" branding despite Delta's potential argument that Delta has the superior experience (which is irrelevant to Trademark law.)
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:08 pm

wjcandee wrote:
I think they should solve this the way Herb did, with a grudge match at the Sportatorium!!! I know a lot of people who would love to wrestle Pudgy Dougie. Does DL have any exec's who for sure could kick his butt?

Gil West looks kick-*ss lol.
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:12 pm

TYWoolman wrote:
afcjets wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
American is looking to overhaul their product into the future where Flagship in the American context will have new and exciting offerings.

Like what?


My quote out of context of entire quote I said is a little off. But I was just making a general comment as to why American would want to safe-guard "Flagship" branding despite Delta's potential argument that Delta has the superior experience (which is irrelevant to Trademark law.)


Oh, I thought I missed a press release. I think the Flagship Suite is next and will ultimately be offered JFK-LAX. I think it's inevitable as DL has already said they plan to offer the Delta One Suite on their entire widebody fleet.
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:17 pm

afcjets wrote:
TYWoolman wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Like what?


My quote out of context of entire quote I said is a little off. But I was just making a general comment as to why American would want to safe-guard "Flagship" branding despite Delta's potential argument that Delta has the superior experience (which is irrelevant to Trademark law.)


Oh, I thought I missed a press release. I think the Flagship Suite is next and will ultimately be offered JFK-LAX. I think it's inevitable as DL has already said they plan to offer the Delta One Suite on their entire widebody fleet.


I think Flagship is great branding, quite the diffentiator name-wise. It certainly sets a high-standard, that's for sure.
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:37 pm

More fuel for the fire:

AA has been using "Flagship" with the (R) symbol for a while now for its business class, as shown in this 2017 web page on the Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170915110 ... tional.jsp

However, searching fares today, I noticed that AA has added "Flagship (R)" on its search results as well for all services with lie-flat seats:

Image

AA is definitely not playing around.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8986
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:37 pm

I almost fell asleep reading the legal papers (yawn!), but roused when I went to look back at the ADR (alternative dispute resolution) method employed by Southwest and Stevens Aviation over the slogan "Just Plane Smart", which Stevens had trademarked years earlier. Here are the letters between the two that lead to the "Malice In Dallas" event at the Sportatorium (INC magazine said at the time that Stevens's chairman had used his VP as a cover, but really wrote the correspondence himself):

"January 2, 1992

Dear Mr. Kelleher:
We LOVE your new ads that use the clever, creative, effective "Plane Smart" theme! We can testify to its effectiveness since we've been using it in our own ads for a long time. In the true fun-loving spirit on which Southwest Airlines was founded, we challenge you to a duel to see who gets to keep "Plane Smart" -- big ol' Southwest or little bitty Stevens. (Please -- no lawyers!) We trust that you accept this challenge in the spirit intended. . . . No litigiousness implied at all. We challenge you to a sleeves-up, best-two-out-of-three arm-wrestling match between you and our chairman, at high noon on Monday, January 27, 1992. . . .

Respectfully,

Stephen D. Townes
Executive Vice-President
Stevens Aviation

P.S. Our chairman is a burly 38-year-old former weight lifter who can bench press a King Air -- or something like that. . . .

* * *

January 21, 1992

Dear Mr. Townes:
Our chairman can bench press a quart of Wild Turkey and five packs of cigarettes a day. He is also a fearsome competitor who resorts to kicking, biting, gouging, scratching, and hair pulling in order to win. When really pressed, he has also been known to beg, plead, whine, and sob piteously. Can your pusillanimous little wimp of a chairman stand up against the martial valor of our giant?

Best regards,

Herbert D. Kelleher

* * *

January 31, 1992

Dear Mr. Kelleher:
Our valiant chairman, Kurt Herwald . . . will set a date with you soon for the showdown of the century. By the way, what does pusillanimous mean?

Respectfully,

Steve Townes"

Excerpted From: https://www.inc.com/magazine/19920501/4059.html
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:52 pm

zeke wrote:
My question was clear, in the US code I posted it is incumbent on the party marking the application to identify and exclude the current use of the trademark.

Flagship is a normal English term that predates the United States, my simple observation is did AA exclude that term that was in use in aviation, in transportation before they made the trademark application ?

Is the application actually valid ? Is one possible outcome from this is the court deems the trademark invalid ?

Ok. This is not a bad question. Yes, it is possible, but no, it is not likely.

AA doesn't have a trademark application--they have an actual trademark. An actual trademark is presumed valid because getting one requires negotiating with the federal government to get one. If someone has a trademark, you know they had to convince a federal trademark examiner that the mark was registrable over the rules you mentioned. For Flagship, this occurred in the 1930s, and then again more recently. As a result, you can assume that it does not cover the normal usage of the word at the time, which did not convey these particular goods and services. (Using an existing word in a new way is almost certainly trademarkable.)

These marks are OLD, and as such, most of the registrations are incontestable by law. (It only takes 5 years of continuous use, and these marks have up to 80.) Never say never, but it is EXTREMELY difficult to invalidate an incontestable trademark. Here are the ways (Lanham Act sec. 14):

  1. the registered mark becomes the generic name for the goods or services, or a portion thereof, for which it is registered,
  2. is functional,
  3. has been abandoned,
  4. its registration was obtained fraudulently
  5. it's immoral, comprises the US Flag or coat of arms, someone's name or portrait without their permission, or resembles someone else's trademark, OR
  6. if the registered mark is being used by, or with the permission of, the registrant so as to misrepresent the source of the goods or services on or in connection with which the mark is used

zeke wrote:
Isn’t the widespread use of the term flagship no different to the way people use the word escalator?

I don't think so at all. If someone says "look at that escalator over there," the listener knows exactly what to look at. All escalators are called "escalator." Similarly, "look at that delta wing." But if someone says "look at that flagship over there," does the listener look for a business class seat on an airliner? I don't think so. Flagship is not a generic for a business class seat or service.

zeke wrote:
On the contrary, I'm only countering the people who have said DL will be the clear winner.

And yet no one has actually said that.

Literally the first response in this thread, and most of the first page.

zeke wrote:
When has DL actually used flagship or one by itself to describe its products? When they describe their products they include the word Delta, eg Delta One, Delta Sky Club etc

Now, this may actually be the source of the friction here. When DL had a press release (similar to LH's) calling the A350 their flagship aircraft, that did not seem particularly offensive to me in a trademark sense. Calling their Atlanta Sky Club "flagship" is closer, but still probably not enough to go to war over. But when they but "FLAGSHIP" in their booking engine, that's when I noted that DL has crossed way over the line -- they used the exact trademarked word by itself to differentiate its competing products:

Image
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:30 pm

wjcandee wrote:
I almost fell asleep reading the legal papers (yawn!), but roused when I went to look back at the ADR (alternative dispute resolution) method employed by Southwest and Stevens Aviation over the slogan "Just Plane Smart", which Stevens had trademarked years earlier. Here are the letters between the two that lead to the "Malice In Dallas" event at the Sportatorium (INC magazine said at the time that Stevens's chairman had used his VP as a cover, but really wrote the correspondence himself):

"January 2, 1992

Dear Mr. Kelleher:
We LOVE your new ads that use the clever, creative, effective "Plane Smart" theme! We can testify to its effectiveness since we've been using it in our own ads for a long time. In the true fun-loving spirit on which Southwest Airlines was founded, we challenge you to a duel to see who gets to keep "Plane Smart" -- big ol' Southwest or little bitty Stevens. (Please -- no lawyers!) We trust that you accept this challenge in the spirit intended. . . . No litigiousness implied at all. We challenge you to a sleeves-up, best-two-out-of-three arm-wrestling match between you and our chairman, at high noon on Monday, January 27, 1992. . . .

Respectfully,

Stephen D. Townes
Executive Vice-President
Stevens Aviation

P.S. Our chairman is a burly 38-year-old former weight lifter who can bench press a King Air -- or something like that. . . .

* * *

January 21, 1992

Dear Mr. Townes:
Our chairman can bench press a quart of Wild Turkey and five packs of cigarettes a day. He is also a fearsome competitor who resorts to kicking, biting, gouging, scratching, and hair pulling in order to win. When really pressed, he has also been known to beg, plead, whine, and sob piteously. Can your pusillanimous little wimp of a chairman stand up against the martial valor of our giant?

Best regards,

Herbert D. Kelleher

* * *

January 31, 1992

Dear Mr. Kelleher:
Our valiant chairman, Kurt Herwald . . . will set a date with you soon for the showdown of the century. By the way, what does pusillanimous mean?

Respectfully,

Steve Townes"

Excerpted From: https://www.inc.com/magazine/19920501/4059.html


What a brilliant exchange of wits!
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 28, 2019 4:16 pm

D L X wrote:
[But when they but "FLAGSHIP" in their booking engine, that's when I noted that DL has crossed way over the line -- they used the exact trademarked word by itself to differentiate its competing products:


If you go to the DL website and try and book a DTW AMS one way sector Jan 22 2020 you would observe the following.

Three nonstop flights a day, DL132/134/136.

The price for the same seat class is the same on each aircraft, DL132/136 are operated by A330s which are not called their flagship aircraft (A350). DL134 is operated by their flagship aircraft.

The products DL are selling on each of the flights are the same regardless of type
Main
Comfort +
Premium Select
Delta One

They are not selling any product with flagship in its name, the screen shot posted takes things out of context.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:08 pm

Delta should listen to American and immediately stop using the word Flagship. It might confuse some business travellers who might think it's a code share and quit flying American.
 
User avatar
Raiden
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:28 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:23 pm

WPvsMW wrote:
http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:a4kku.3.1

AA will prevail. AA has owned the mark applied to "transportation of passengers and cargo by air" since registration of No. 3717509 in 2009.
This is the root of the problem.

American legal malfeasance of allowing already established terms to be trademarked.

"Flagship" is a recognized air transport term that came from maritime world (like many other terms that also originate from the maritime world). It should never have been trademarked in the first place. AA should have trademarked "flag-plane" or flag whatever.

BTW where is this "trademark" submitted? No doubt in one of those kooky Texas courts (where the law is uniquely tailor made for crooked patent trolls).
 
User avatar
scbriml
Posts: 19126
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2003 10:37 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:41 pm

afcjets wrote:
Delta should listen to American and immediately stop using the word Flagship. It might confuse some business travellers who might think it's a code share and quit flying American.


They'd be the dumbest business travellers going. :rotfl:
Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana!
There are 10 types of people in the World - those that understand binary and those that don't.
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2281
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 28, 2019 9:58 pm

Raiden wrote:
WPvsMW wrote:
http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4807:a4kku.3.1

AA will prevail. AA has owned the mark applied to "transportation of passengers and cargo by air" since registration of No. 3717509 in 2009.
This is the root of the problem.

American legal malfeasance of allowing already established terms to be trademarked.

"Flagship" is a recognized air transport term that came from maritime world (like many other terms that also originate from the maritime world). It should never have been trademarked in the first place. AA should have trademarked "flag-plane" or flag whatever.

BTW where is this "trademark" submitted? No doubt in one of those kooky Texas courts (where the law is uniquely tailor made for crooked patent trolls).


Washington DC.

USPTO....United States Patent and Trademark Office.

This is US Government 101.

Obviously your baseless assertions are not founded on an informed opinion.
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:32 pm

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
[But when they but "FLAGSHIP" in their booking engine, that's when I noted that DL has crossed way over the line -- they used the exact trademarked word by itself to differentiate its competing products:


If you go to the DL website and try and book a DTW AMS one way sector Jan 22 2020 you would observe the following.

Three nonstop flights a day, DL132/134/136.

The price for the same seat class is the same on each aircraft, DL132/136 are operated by A330s which are not called their flagship aircraft (A350). DL134 is operated by their flagship aircraft.

The products DL are selling on each of the flights are the same regardless of type
Main
Comfort +
Premium Select
Delta One

They are not selling any product with flagship in its name, the screen shot posted takes things out of context.

Right. That “Flagship” label is there for no reason. No reason at all.

If your position is that a word doesn’t count if the price is the same, or that a word doesn’t count if it’s not the official name of the product, then you’re again making up distinctions that are irrelevant to trademark.
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 1:35 pm

scbriml wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Delta should listenb to American and immediately stop using the word Flagship. It might confuse some business travellers who might think it's a code share and quit flying American.


They'd be the dumbest business travellers going. :rotfl:

The dumbest by a.net standards but not all frequent business travellers are enthusiasts or even loyalists.
Some are the exact opposite, especially when someone else is paying. In the past we have had UA/US, AA/AS, AS/DL within the US and of course large airlines like AA/BA, DL/AF, UA/LH codeshares are common on international flights, which is where this would happen.

When AA is the only airline in the US that has ever used the term Flagship for branding and they have for almost 100 years and it is a registered trademark for them, and Delta begins using it on their booking engine for the exact same product they already have a different brand name for that they market heavily, I totally get why a business class flyer's first reaction might be they are codesharing on this route for whatever reason.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:12 pm

D L X wrote:
Right. That “Flagship” label is there for no reason. No reason at all.

If your position is that a word doesn’t count if the price is the same, or that a word doesn’t count if it’s not the official name of the product, then you’re again making up distinctions that are irrelevant to trademark.


I was just simply pointing out that they are using the term to represent the aircraft type as being their flagship. It is the normal nautical use of the term.

Whoever made that screenshot and posted it made it look provocative by cutting out the other flights on the same day and the different products/services being sold. The screen shop posted was only a fraction of what someone booking a ticket would see.

They are not using it to highlight/sell premium products or services, the fares on the A330 and A350 are the same in the example I gave on the same date between the same city pair and for sane baseline or even premium products.

Where AA use the term, and what has been trademarked is using the term to market their premium products and services which consumers pay more for. It’s part of their branding for up selling.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8986
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:19 pm

Hey, Zeke -- I think you're doing a great job of illustrating the other side of the case, and nitpicking AA's "evidence", which is exactly what the DL lawyers will be doing. They should read your comments here for inspiration. Of course, they're going to be immersed in the minutia of legal precedent, too, but it's super fun at a trial or hearing to do what you did: taking a "ta-da!"-type of illustrative exhibit and zooming out (literally and/or figuratively) to show the thing in true perspective. It's very-powerful.
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:36 pm

zeke wrote:
Whoever made that screenshot and posted it made it look provocative by cutting out the other flights on the same day and the different products/services being sold. The screen shop posted was only a fraction of what someone booking a ticket would see.


The A350 is more likely to appear in markets where Delta has only one nonstop flight (ATL-SEL). If the issue is confusion over a codeshare it is common for not all route options in a single market to involve a codeshare, so the context of other flights would be irrelevant.
Last edited by afcjets on Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
seanpmassey
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:38 pm

D L X wrote:
zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
[But when they but "FLAGSHIP" in their booking engine, that's when I noted that DL has crossed way over the line -- they used the exact trademarked word by itself to differentiate its competing products:


If you go to the DL website and try and book a DTW AMS one way sector Jan 22 2020 you would observe the following.

Three nonstop flights a day, DL132/134/136.

The price for the same seat class is the same on each aircraft, DL132/136 are operated by A330s which are not called their flagship aircraft (A350). DL134 is operated by their flagship aircraft.

The products DL are selling on each of the flights are the same regardless of type
Main
Comfort +
Premium Select
Delta One

They are not selling any product with flagship in its name, the screen shot posted takes things out of context.

Right. That “Flagship” label is there for no reason. No reason at all.

If your position is that a word doesn’t count if the price is the same, or that a word doesn’t count if it’s not the official name of the product, then you’re again making up distinctions that are irrelevant to trademark.


Merriam-Websters defines flagship as:
"2: the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things (such as products, stores, etc.) —often used before another noun - the company's flagship store"
(https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flagship)

I think this is showing how weak of a trademark it really is. Flagship in the aviation context has come to mean "best-in-class" service in line with the definition, and it is used that was globally. At best, AA's trademark is a descriptive mark and not worthy of trademark protection.

As Zeke pointed out earlier in this thread, Lufthansa is also using flagship to describe the A350 service. While Lufthansa is based in Germany, they're using that description for their service between Germany and the United States in the same manner that American is using it for their service between the United States and international destinations. Wouldn't AA be required to file suit against Lufthansa to protect that trademark? If they don't, aren't they abandoning the defense of that trademark?
 
User avatar
gatibosgru
Posts: 1773
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:48 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:22 pm

afcjets wrote:
scbriml wrote:
afcjets wrote:
Delta should listenb to American and immediately stop using the word Flagship. It might confuse some business travellers who might think it's a code share and quit flying American.


They'd be the dumbest business travellers going. :rotfl:

The dumbest by a.net standards but not all frequent business travellers are enthusiasts or even loyalists.
Some are the exact opposite, especially when someone else is paying. In the past we have had UA/US, AA/AS, AS/DL within the US and of course large airlines like AA/BA, DL/AF, UA/LH codeshares are common on international flights, which is where this would happen.

When AA is the only airline in the US that has ever used the term Flagship for branding and they have for almost 100 years and it is a registered trademark for them, and Delta begins using it on their booking engine for the exact same product they already have a different brand name for that they market heavily, I totally get why a business class flyer's first reaction might be they are codesharing on this route for whatever reason.


I'm sorry, but this is a reach. Absolutely no one will be confused by the way DL uses the word d Flagship.
@DadCelo
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:32 pm

seanpmassey wrote:
I think this is showing how weak of a trademark it really is. Flagship in the aviation context has come to mean "best-in-class" service in line with the definition, and it is used that was globally. At best, AA's trademark is a descriptive mark and not worthy of trademark protection.


Just to turn this up a notch, imagine if Delta got Flagship Law LLC to defend them. Engage Flagship Communications Inc to handle the media campaign.

Get expert witnesses in from Flagship Advisors LLC, Flagship Aerospace Corporation, Flagship Air Systens Inc, Flagship Air Transport Systems Inc, Flagship Airways Inc, Flagship Associates Inc, and Flagship Brands USA LLC.

It may even be a flagship case, in a flagship state, in a flagship court.

The case might even be published in a flagship journal.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
ikramerica
Posts: 15100
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:47 pm

Watching the 1942 Disney film “saludos amigos”, when the animators land in at Lake Titikaka, the aircraft door opens and on the inside of the door, clear as day, reads “American Flagship.” That’s 75+ years of prior use in marketing to the public.
Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
 
AEROFAN
Posts: 1864
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:47 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:48 pm

Did AA trademark the name? If it didn't, its claim worth as much as its "flagship "business class" product. i.e its CRAP!
“You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.” ~Harlan Ellison~
 
User avatar
Polot
Posts: 10639
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:01 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:55 pm

zeke wrote:
seanpmassey wrote:
I think this is showing how weak of a trademark it really is. Flagship in the aviation context has come to mean "best-in-class" service in line with the definition, and it is used that was globally. At best, AA's trademark is a descriptive mark and not worthy of trademark protection.


Just to turn this up a notch, imagine if Delta got Flagship Law LLC to defend them. Engage Flagship Communications Inc to handle the media campaign.

Get expert witnesses in from Flagship Advisors LLC, Flagship Aerospace Corporation, Flagship Air Systens Inc, Flagship Air Transport Systems Inc, Flagship Airways Inc, Flagship Associates Inc, and Flagship Brands USA LLC.

It may even be a flagship case, in a flagship state, in a flagship court.

The case might even be published in a flagship journal.

Trademarks are always industry specific, so Delta really wouldn’t be proving any point doing something like that. That is why I can buy a Delta faucet or move with United Van Lines.
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:56 pm

wjcandee wrote:
Hey, Zeke -- I think you're doing a great job of illustrating the other side of the case, and nitpicking AA's "evidence", which is exactly what the DL lawyers will be doing.


No, he’s really not. He’s just throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something sticks.

zeke wrote:
Whoever made that screenshot and posted it made it look provocative by cutting out the other flights on the same day and the different products/services being sold. The screen shop posted was only a fraction of what someone booking a ticket would see.


The other flights that don’t use the mark aren’t relevant. It’s like saying “I’m not a thief. If you zoom out to the whole block, look at all these houses that I didn’t rob.”

zeke wrote:
They are not using it to highlight/sell premium products or services


Even Delta disagrees with you there.

zeke wrote:
the fares on the A330 and A350 are the same in the example I gave on the same date between the same city pair and for sane baseline or even premium products.


The price charged is irrelevant to whether someone has infringed.

zeke wrote:
Where AA use the term, and what has been trademarked is using the term to market their premium products and services which consumers pay more for.


Your own quotes show that AA has the trademark for more than just premium products and services.

zeke wrote:
Just to turn this up a notch, imagine if Delta got Flagship Law LLC to defend them. Engage Flagship Communications Inc to handle the media campaign.

Get expert witnesses in from Flagship Advisors LLC, Flagship Aerospace Corporation, Flagship Air Systens Inc, Flagship Air Transport Systems Inc, Flagship Airways Inc, Flagship Associates Inc, and Flagship Brands USA LLC.

It may even be a flagship case, in a flagship state, in a flagship court.

The case might even be published in a flagship journal.


LOL.

None of these examples would be trademark infringement because none have DL using the name to sell goods and services for which AA has a trademark. This is truly basic stuff.

This is why you’re dangerous as a mouthpiece for trademark law. You’re one of the most respected posters on this site, but you don’t know anything about trademark law. So people listening to you believe falsehoods when you spread this misinformation.
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 4:06 pm

zeke wrote:
seanpmassey wrote:
I think this is showing how weak of a trademark it really is. Flagship in the aviation context has come to mean "best-in-class" service in line with the definition, and it is used that was globally. At best, AA's trademark is a descriptive mark and not worthy of trademark protection.


Just to turn this up a notch, imagine if Delta got Flagship Law LLC to defend them. Engage Flagship Communications Inc to handle the media campaign.

Get expert witnesses in from Flagship Advisors LLC, Flagship Aerospace Corporation, Flagship Air Systens Inc, Flagship Air Transport Systems Inc, Flagship Airways Inc, Flagship Associates Inc, and Flagship Brands USA LLC.

It may even be a flagship case, in a flagship state, in a flagship court.

The case might even be published in a flagship journal.


And Delta is still going to lose the case the same way someone selling MacRib or MacNugget will lose it for violating McDonald's trademarks.
 
seanpmassey
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:07 pm

VS11 wrote:
zeke wrote:
seanpmassey wrote:
I think this is showing how weak of a trademark it really is. Flagship in the aviation context has come to mean "best-in-class" service in line with the definition, and it is used that was globally. At best, AA's trademark is a descriptive mark and not worthy of trademark protection.


Just to turn this up a notch, imagine if Delta got Flagship Law LLC to defend them. Engage Flagship Communications Inc to handle the media campaign.

Get expert witnesses in from Flagship Advisors LLC, Flagship Aerospace Corporation, Flagship Air Systens Inc, Flagship Air Transport Systems Inc, Flagship Airways Inc, Flagship Associates Inc, and Flagship Brands USA LLC.

It may even be a flagship case, in a flagship state, in a flagship court.

The case might even be published in a flagship journal.


And Delta is still going to lose the case the same way someone selling MacRib or MacNugget will lose it for violating McDonald's trademarks.


McRib and McNugget would likely be classed as fanciful marks as they are words that don't really mean anything until they were coined to describe the specific products that McDonalds offered. Someone who uses those terms to describe their product is doing so knowing that they are using someone else's branding.

Flagship isn't that clear. Flagship has meant best-in-class service for a long time, and likely prior to American Airlines adopting it as a trademark for their premier service (although I'm not an etymologist and google is failing me right now). It's also descriptive in that the trademark is just describing the premium level of service, and it would have the same meaning even if it wasn't applied specifically to American Airlines.

So I don't think American has a clear cut case here, and it may work against them. But they have to file the suit anyway to defend their trademark.
 
IPFreely
Posts: 2615
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:26 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:11 pm

VS11 wrote:
And Delta is still going to lose the case the same way someone selling MacRib or MacNugget will lose it for violating McDonald's trademarks.


I don't expect Delta will let this go to court and take their chances on the judgement when they lose. Most likely it will settle the same way AA's lawsuit against Expedia over the AAdvantage trademark was settled; Delta will cease using the term "flagship" and little or no cash will change hands.
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:39 pm

seanpmassey wrote:

Flagship isn't that clear. Flagship has meant best-in-class service for a long time, and likely prior to American Airlines adopting it as a trademark for their premier service (although I'm not an etymologist and google is failing me right now). It's also descriptive in that the trademark is just describing the premium level of service, and it would have the same meaning even if it wasn't applied specifically to American Airlines.



Except that it is pretty clear. First of all, AA can argue very successfully that the secondary meaning of flagship is directly derived from their trademarked premium air travel service i.e.very analogous to "to xerox"or "to fedex". Second, the use of descriptive trademarks has been addressed already by DLX as in Progressive, Thrifty, etc.

Delta Air Lines is either playing dumb or just dumb. It is not the first time they steal other airlines' product ideas. For all of the money they are making, they should hire a better ad agency to come up with a way to describe their newest long-haul aircraft type without infringing on someone else's trademark.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:47 pm

Polot wrote:
Trademarks are always industry specific, so Delta really wouldn’t be proving any point doing something like that. That is why I can buy a Delta faucet or move with United Van Lines.


My comments were tongue in cheek, however were directed at the AA filed complaint that “ Delta’s use of these confusing marks is causing irreparable harm to the well-established goodwill and reputation of American and its trademarks.”

Under the trademark application law 15.1501 the application has to exclude existing uses of the term to avoid confusion. Flagship is common English word that is used in transportation, Delta is using the term in that way, and AA is saying this is confusing.

The reason I think this is confusing is the common use of the word should never have been trademarked.

“ (D) to the best of the verifier’s knowledge and belief, no other person has the right to use such mark in commerce either in the identical form thereof or in such near resemblance thereto as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods of such other person, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive, except that, in the case of every application claiming concurrent use, the applicant shall—
(i) state exceptions to the claim of exclusive use; and
(ii) shall [1] specify, to the extent of the verifier’s knowledge—
(I) any concurrent use by others;
(II) the goods on or in connection with which and the areas in which each concurrent use exists;

(III) the periods of each use; and
(IV) the goods and area for which the applicant desires registration.”

Now my view is if AA did not exclude existing uses of the word flagship, or the USPTO made a mistake when using the trademark to exclude the common use of the word so that “no other person has the right to use such mark in commerce either in the identical form thereof or in such near resemblance thereto as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods of such other person, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive“.

The USPTO can under 15.1507 when been made aware of their mistake amend the trademark under the law

“ (g) Correction of United States Patent and Trademark Office mistake
Whenever a material mistake in a registration, incurred through the fault of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, is clearly disclosed by the records of the Office a certificate stating the fact and nature of such mistake shall be issued without charge and recorded and a printed copy thereof shall be attached to each printed copy of the registration and such corrected registration shall thereafter have the same effect as if the same had been originally issued in such corrected form, or in the discretion of the Director a new certificate of registration may be issued without charge. All certificates of correction heretofore issued in accordance with the rules of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the registrations to which they are attached shall have the same force and effect as if such certificates and their issue had been specifically authorized by statute.”

Trademark law is about protecting branding and intellectual property, it is not there for companies to lodge marks for every descriptive word in the dictionary to prevent others from using it.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
afcjets
Posts: 3510
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2015 6:20 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:49 pm

gatibosgru wrote:

I'm sorry, but this is a reach. Absolutely no one will be confused by the way DL uses the word d Flagship.


Not having read all the comments and seeing the delta.com booking image, I was. I assumed it meant J class since it was displayed right above the J fare, and since that's both why and how another airline who has the trademark and has used it for almost 100 years does it.

Also, other than the A350 being Delta's newest and largest widebody, there is nothing special about it from a passenger perspective other than it has J suites, which obviously only pertains to J class. But now their 777s have them too. The A350 is no different than any other twin engine widebody with 9 or 10 across seating on a single level. AFAIK Delta doesn't even have a small stand up bar. If they still had the 747 I might could understand wanting them to refer to it as their Flagship jet, or if they had the A380 or if the Concord was still around, but there is nothing special about the A350 other than it's newer and has a few more rows of seats and might go a bit further but so far it's not going anywhere new.
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:56 pm

zeke wrote:
Flagship is common English word that is used in transportation, Delta is using the term in that way, and AA is saying this is confusing.

Trademark law is about protecting branding and intellectual property, it is not there for companies to lodge marks for every descriptive word in the dictionary to prevent others from using it.


The words upper class are pretty common in the English language, and yet Virgin Atlantic brands its premium service Upper Class. If BA were to slap the words upper class when selling tickets online, Virgin Atlantic will be rightfully justified in protecting its branding.
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:06 pm

The more interesting case if American Airlines can protect its Flagship branding from being used by Space X/Blue Origin/Virgin Galactic! Is space travel same as air travel?
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:19 pm

D L X wrote:
The other flights that don’t use the mark aren’t relevant. It’s like saying “I’m not a thief. If you zoom out to the whole block, look at all these houses that I didn’t rob.”


It is relevant as no use gets to see that screen shot alone, the screen shot has been taken out of context so you do not see the actual products and services they are selling on that page.

Please note the AA has not said in their complaint the use of Flagship to describe a type of aircraft is against their trademark.

What they claim is “ Delta has begun to use the terms “flagship,” “Flagship,” and “FLAGSHIP” to promote its own airport lounges and premium services and interiors, including its One Suite first class seating and its Premium Select seating.”

However Delta does not offer for sale or advertise a
“Flagship Lounge”, “Flagship premium services” like “Flagship Check-in” “Flagship escort” “Flagship Interior” Nor does it have a “Flagship One Suite” or “Flagship Premium Select searing”

They products are called for example “Delta One”, not “One Suite” as stated in the AA complaint.


D L X wrote:
Even Delta disagrees with you there.


Per the AA complaint filed “American has been using a series of federally registered “Flagship” trademark which today include the marks “Flagship,” “Flagship Lounge” and “Flagship Suite” (the “Flagship Marks” to describe premium air travel services for first and business class passengers since the 1930s and 1940s.”


D L X wrote:
The price charged is irrelevant to whether someone has infringed.


Having no price difference for the same product across various aircraft demonstrates Delta is not using the term to “describe premium air travel services for first and business class passengers”.

D L X wrote:
This is why you’re dangerous as a mouthpiece for trademark law. You’re one of the most respected posters on this site, but you don’t know anything about trademark law. So people listening to you believe falsehoods when you spread this misinformation.


Personal attacks have no place on this thread.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 15112
Joined: Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:42 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:26 pm

VS11 wrote:
The words upper class are pretty common in the English language, and yet Virgin Atlantic brands its premium service Upper Class. If BA were to slap the words upper class when selling tickets online, Virgin Atlantic will be rightfully justified in protecting its branding.


Go online to the delta website you will find they sell no product or service called flagship.

You may however travel on their flagship aircraft, and experience their main, comfort +, premium select, or delta one products.

BTW BA called the Concorde their Flagship
Operating LHR JFK.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:43 pm

zeke wrote:
VS11 wrote:
The words upper class are pretty common in the English language, and yet Virgin Atlantic brands its premium service Upper Class. If BA were to slap the words upper class when selling tickets online, Virgin Atlantic will be rightfully justified in protecting its branding.


Go online to the delta website you will find they sell no product or service called flagship.

You may however travel on their flagship aircraft, and experience their main, comfort +, premium select, or delta one products.


Sure, I agree DL are not claiming that their on-board product is called Flagship. However, the way they visually present their booking engine with the word flagship is misleading and confusing - whether willfully or not. No law is perfect for everyone but AA came up with the use of flagship in air travel products/services first and trademarked it so that no other US airline can use it. That’s the purpose of the trademark - signify origin.
 
WPvsMW
Posts: 2252
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:58 pm

DL has excellent lawyers. I've met some of them. I'm sure DL mgmt was advised of the risk of a TM infringement suit, and accepted the risk.... IMO for publicity reasons. Nothing like a good TM infringement suit to improve the brand latency for both litigants. IOW, DL welcomes the law suit.
 
seanpmassey
Posts: 94
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:00 pm

VS11 wrote:
seanpmassey wrote:

Flagship isn't that clear. Flagship has meant best-in-class service for a long time, and likely prior to American Airlines adopting it as a trademark for their premier service (although I'm not an etymologist and google is failing me right now). It's also descriptive in that the trademark is just describing the premium level of service, and it would have the same meaning even if it wasn't applied specifically to American Airlines.



Except that it is pretty clear. First of all, AA can argue very successfully that the secondary meaning of flagship is directly derived from their trademarked premium air travel service i.e.very analogous to "to xerox"or "to fedex". Second, the use of descriptive trademarks has been addressed already by DLX as in Progressive, Thrifty, etc.


Can they, thought? The secondary definition of flagship and it's common use across all industries, derives from American's trademark for their top-tier service? I'm not an etymologist, but I would find that to be something that American would have a hard time proving. Even if that is the case (and I find it highly unlikely), then it's possible grounds for trademark dilution as the term has become genericized.

The other examples you cite are the names of companies, not the names of specific products. But I can see similar issues happening if someone creates a novel approach to insurance that is described as "progressive" while relying on one of the many commonly accepted definitions as it would cause confusion with Progressive insurance.

VS11 wrote:
Delta Air Lines is either playing dumb or just dumb. It is not the first time they steal other airlines' product ideas. For all of the money they are making, they should hire a better ad agency to come up with a way to describe their newest long-haul aircraft type without infringing on someone else's trademark.


Except that the trademark in this case covers a commonly used word for describing the best-in-class, in the same manner that retail has flagship locations and broadcast communications networks have flagship stations. It's commonly used in commercial aviation in the exact manner that Delta is using it, as evidenced by Lufthansa's press release that Zeke posted earlier describing their A350s being their new flagship aircraft that will be used on some flights to the United States. Other airlines offering service to the US use that terminology as well. All of it runs afoul of American's trademark as that service covers the United States...

What word would you recommend that airlines use in place of flagship when describing their top-end plane?
 
TYWoolman
Posts: 613
Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:13 pm

zeke wrote:

Go online to the delta website you will find they sell no product or service called flagship.

You may however travel on their flagship aircraft, and experience their main, comfort +, premium select, or delta one products.

BTW BA called the Concorde their Flagship
Operating LHR JFK.


To be fair, as much as I do believe my fav airline Delta has a case, at least to mitigate financial damages, I think American is playing hardball during a Delta on-board product transitioning phase. Now, calling a particular aircraft flagship, in my ears, CAN be interpreted as selling a product, that is, a Delta A-350 product with the classes of seating you described. Delta has the burden of proof here and it has something weighing it down: Is Delta's innocent use of flagship demarcation of aircraft (A-350), which happens to have its full array of onboard seating classes right out of factory, be an adequate description-differentiator in the minds of some to differentiate other aircraft in Delta's fleet that may not have the entire overhaul yet? If so, isn't the term flagship, even though associated only with A350 in their booking engine, a roundabout way of selling the new experience, especially internationally? I know this argument favors American, but I believe Delta will come out the long-term winner as this case will highlight Delta service levels with the potential to launch new and unique branding!
 
VS11
Posts: 1661
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2001 6:34 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:20 pm

seanpmassey wrote:

What word would you recommend that airlines use in place of flagship when describing their top-end plane?


Let's see: premium, finest, first-rate, cutting-edge, leading-edge (I suggested it earlier in the thread), modern, latest, latest-technology, advanced, state-of-the-art, pioneering, vanguard, spearheading

Again, they can hire someone to come up with a new and unique verbiage which they can even trademark - skyship, blastship, armadaship, arrowship, spearship, or whatever. You don't even have to be very creatively minded - you can write computer code to generate gazillions of possible phrases.
Last edited by VS11 on Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
D L X
Posts: 12679
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 3:30 am

Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 29, 2019 7:33 pm

zeke wrote:
Go online to the delta website you will find they sell no product or service called flagship.

Zeke, are you reading my posts? As I said earlier, it’s irrelevant that the product’s official name is not “flagship.” What matters is that they are using the word in connection with classes of goods and services for which AA has a trademark. If you believe otherwise, please cite a legal source.

zeke wrote:
Even Delta disagrees with you there.

Per the AA complaint filed “American has been using a series of federally registered “Flagship” trademark which today include the marks “Flagship,” “Flagship Lounge” and “Flagship Suite” (the “Flagship Marks” to describe premium air travel services for first and business class passengers since the 1930s and 1940s.”

YOU said Delta is not using it to highlight/sell premium products or services. That is clearly bogus as DL has announced raising their cabin experience to “flagship standards” on other aircraft.

zeke wrote:
Having no price difference for the same product across various aircraft demonstrates Delta is not using the term to “describe premium air travel services for first and business class passengers”.

No.

1) Again, price charged is irrelevant to trademark law.
2) it’s not the same product—one service is on an A350, and Delta is making for damn sure you know that’s better. It’s “premium.”

Your problem is that you’re looking for an exact match, service to service, good to good. But that kind of head-in-sand mentality is not trademark law.

zeke wrote:
This is why you’re dangerous as a mouthpiece for trademark law. You’re one of the most respected posters on this site, but you don’t know anything about trademark law. So people listening to you believe falsehoods when you spread this misinformation.

Personal attacks have no place on this thread

I didn’t personally attack you. I attacked your position and further explained how it’s dangerous coming from someone with your high reputation.

If you feel strongly, hit the moderation button, but what I said was true.

zeke wrote:
The USPTO can under 15.1507

This is not a legal citation. Can you tell us where you found this?

If you mean 15 U.S.C. 1057, you should be aware that that’s “correction,” not “cancellation” of a certificate of registration. Its how you fix things like printing errors when the applicant and examiner had agreed on something else. Not whether an applicant should have gotten the mark or not. It has zero relevance to this discussion.

I already showed you what you’d need to cancel a mark. 15 U.S.C. 1064.

WPvsMW wrote:
DL has excellent lawyers. I've met some of them.

I agree. Some were my classmates in law school. Smart cookies.

WPvsMW wrote:
I'm sure DL mgmt was advised of the risk of a TM infringement suit, and accepted the risk.... IMO for publicity reasons.
* * *
DL welcomes the law suit.

Thats my opinion too. In fact, it was explicitly alleged in the complaint that this has to be purposeful—DL is too sophisticated for this to have been an accident.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos