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Oliver2020
Posts: 223
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 5:39 am

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

Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:08 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:

That really gets to the heart of the matter. Is flagship used as a common noun?

DL: The A350 is our flagship.

Or is it used as an adjective?

AA: Enjoy Flagship First Dining before your first class flight to London.

AA brought the suit - the burden of proof (customer confusion) is theirs. One element of Delta's defense strategy appears to be using discovery to show that AA found no meaningful customer confusion.


This whole thing is as dumb as Ohio State trying to trademark "The". Flagship is a term that existed long before AA.

Delta never used it before and once again AA to owns the copyright


https://news.delta.com/delta-air-lines- ... -777-200lr

In this article from Delta airlines dated February of 2008 it specifically says that the 777-200LR the spirit of Delta will be their new flagship aircraft.

The new 777-200LR is the flagship aircraft for Delta’s new global product, including fully horizontal personal sleeper suites in BusinessElite®, next-generation, more comfortable seats in coach, and Delta’s on-demand entertainment system on larger screens at every seat.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”vices,

Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:38 pm

Lootess wrote:
RDUDDJI wrote:
MIflyer12 wrote:

That really gets to the heart of the matter. Is flagship used as a common noun?

DL: The A350 is our flagship.

Or is it used as an adjective?

AA: Enjoy Flagship First Dining before your first class flight to London.

AA brought the suit - the burden of proof (customer confusion) is theirs. One element of Delta's defense strategy appears to be using discovery to show that AA found no meaningful customer confusion.


This whole thing is as dumb as Ohio State trying to trademark "The". Flagship is a term that existed long before AA.


Delta's flagship A350 Is what it is, a product that doesn't exist at AA and they have no ground to defend it.



I thought that also, but an aircraft is an aircraft is an aircraft. IMO typically passengers are not going to know what airline has what aircraft. I like to look at it as the branding as the common thread, regardless of any airline's unique asset in which the word Flagship is used to describe.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”vices,

Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:38 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
They're the ones that brought the case because DL is the one that infringed it.


AA has yet to prove customers were confused over this, infringement has not been proven.

To me, not being a trademark expert but part of the flying public, this spat over using the common word "flagship" is akin to Microsoft suing Pella over the word "windows": "windows" is a common word, and Pella happens to manufacture windows.

Had AA called it "FlAAgship". they'd have a case; but here, it's a common word defined as "the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things (such as products, stores, etc.) - often used before another noun" (Merriam-Webster). This is 100% what the A350 is to DL; they are only applying the dictionary definition.
If AA has a trademark on "flagship", then it should be cancelled; if not, who's the next company they will go after for using that term as per its definition?

That’s not how trademark works.

It isn’t like Microsoft suing Pella over Windows. It would be like Microsoft suing Apple if Apple were to (stupidly) call their operating system Windows. The whole point of trademark law is consumer protection: if one company builds goodwill in selling a product that the public knows is called a certain thing, someone else using that name dilutes the mark and/or causes the public to be confused that they are purchasing the wrong thing. Apple calling their product Windows would be like a fox dressed up as a sheep. BUT it has to be in the same class of sales. Windows (that you see out of) is different than Windows (that is an operating system). That’s why MS won’t sue Pella.

In fact, there is little operative difference between the word Flagship when used with commercial airline services and FlAAgship when used with commercial airline services. Both would make at least some of the public confused as to who was selling the product, or would dilute the brand so that neither could use it. (That’s a trademark violation too!)

But that’s not the current dispute. The current dispute is that DL wants to block the testimony of its executives, but wants to force AA execs to testify about irrelevant things.
 
lx2iah
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:04 am

So if Boeing had called the 787 their “flagship,” or Airbus called their 330-neo their “flagship,” would American be suing them for using their “prized” flagship name? I think not. These airlines don’t have the money to be blowing on such a frivolous lawsuit. Would they sue any cruise line if they called their newest ship - their flagship? I think not. Hey, while AA is on their suing spree - they should go ahead and sue Randall’s grocery stores (part of Safeway) for using the name “Randall’s Flagship.” There isn’t /anything/ “flagship” about American Airlines service. It’s far from anything “flagship.”
 
splitterz
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:42 am

lx2iah wrote:
So if Boeing had called the 787 their “flagship,” or Airbus called their 330-neo their “flagship,” would American be suing them for using their “prized” flagship name? I think not. These airlines don’t have the money to be blowing on such a frivolous lawsuit. Would they sue any cruise line if they called their newest ship - their flagship? I think not. Hey, while AA is on their suing spree - they should go ahead and sue Randall’s grocery stores (part of Safeway) for using the name “Randall’s Flagship.” There isn’t /anything/ “flagship” about American Airlines service. It’s far from anything “flagship.”


That's not the same thing. Separate markets. If United said Polaris Flagship, yeah American would have an issue with that. If ford called their next truck a Flagship, they would not care because they are not competing in the same kind of market. Apples to oranges comparison you made.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:45 am

lx2iah wrote:
So if Boeing had called the 787 their “flagship,” or Airbus called their 330-neo their “flagship,” would American be suing them for using their “prized” flagship name? I think not. These airlines don’t have the money to be blowing on such a frivolous lawsuit. Would they sue any cruise line if they called their newest ship - their flagship? I think not. Hey, while AA is on their suing spree - they should go ahead and sue Randall’s grocery stores (part of Safeway) for using the name “Randall’s Flagship.” There isn’t /anything/ “flagship” about American Airlines service. It’s far from anything “flagship.”

Logical fallacy aside, yes. If they had branded the plane “Flagship,” they would be infringing AA’s mark, and AA would likely ask them not to.

And of course Boeing knows this. Why would you kiss off a great customer like that? They wouldn’t.

As for cruise lines, quite possibly. AA’s trademark covers travel services other than commercial airlines.

As for the grocery store, no, that’s not a commercial airline service, and AA’s trademarks would not cover that.

Trademark only attaches to particular goods and services. If someone uses FLAGSHIP on something that’s unrelated to the services American provides, American’s trademarks would not apply.
 
lx2iah
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:43 am

Let’s figure this out. HP and/or US Holdings (or whatever their name was back in Tempe) bought AA during bankruptcy (I believe). To my knowledge HP/US was the purchaser or surviving carrier and they only used the American name once merged. HP/US did not have any “flagship” mark on any of their services. Technically the old AA and all of its rights should have been null and void once the merger was completed. So why are they in a “tiff” with Delta over the “flagship” name? The “old” American and all of its “marks” are long gone. Their stock ticker symbol is different, new logo, new everything. Delta should be able to use the “flagship” name how it wants to.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:57 am

lx2iah wrote:
Let’s figure this out. HP and/or US Holdings (or whatever their name was back in Tempe) bought AA during bankruptcy (I believe). To my knowledge HP/US was the purchaser or surviving carrier and they only used the American name once merged. HP/US did not have any “flagship” mark on any of their services. Technically the old AA and all of its rights should have been null and void once the merger was completed. So why are they in a “tiff” with Delta over the “flagship” name? The “old” American and all of its “marks” are long gone. Their stock ticker symbol is different, new logo, new everything. Delta should be able to use the “flagship” name how it wants to.

No.

HP bought all rights to US’s IP when they merged with US. US bought all rights to AA’s IP when they merged with AA. That includes their trademarks, which are arguably their most valuable assets. So AA’s use of Flagship back to the 1920s carries over to the current organization.

It’s just like a house. When you buy a house, you get the basement too.
 
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zeke
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 2:18 am

D L X wrote:
Using FLAGSHIP in conjunction with the sale of commercial airline services is a violation of AA's trademarks, as we showed earlier in this thread.


DL never sold, and a consumer has never purchased good or services from DL using the word flagship, not at check in, in lounges, or onboard.
 
Corpsnerd09
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 3:33 am

Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH
 
alfa164
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:05 am

Corpsnerd09 wrote:
Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH


I seriously doubt Delta is interested in relying on AA's "image" - premerger or post-merger - for kicks. Even the most imagined "glory" days of AA - which have long past - are hardly anything a premium carrier would want to emulate.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 8:46 am

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
Using FLAGSHIP in conjunction with the sale of commercial airline services is a violation of AA's trademarks, as we showed earlier in this thread.


DL never sold, and a consumer has never purchased good or services from DL using the word flagship, not at check in, in lounges, or onboard.

False. Let’s work from the correct set of facts.

DL advertised flights as Flagship in their website. There are examples of this in this thread. That’s using the mark in commerce in connection to commercial airline services.
 
Lootess
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:09 am

Corpsnerd09 wrote:
Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH


There is nothing shortsighted by the fact that Delta calls the A350 their flagship when AA doesn't even own the aircraft. So how is that taking AA's glory? You don't have an answer, that's what. AA's lawyers don't either.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:32 am

Lootess wrote:
Corpsnerd09 wrote:
Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH


There is nothing shortsighted by the fact that Delta calls the A350 their flagship when AA doesn't even own the aircraft. So how is that taking AA's glory? You don't have an answer, that's what. AA's lawyers don't either.

I suggest boning up on trademark law before you reach that conclusion.

DL was using a trademarked term to sell services in the trademarked class. That’s classic trademark infringement.
 
Corpsnerd09
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:45 am

alfa164 wrote:
Corpsnerd09 wrote:
Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH


I seriously doubt Delta is interested in relying on AA's "image" - premerger or post-merger - for kicks. Even the most imagined "glory" days of AA - which have long past - are hardly anything a premium carrier would want to emulate.


"flagship", "the on-time machine"

Sure seems like it
 
Corpsnerd09
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:54 am

Lootess wrote:
Corpsnerd09 wrote:
Delta should build its own brand and slogans instead of relying PMAA's image for kicks. It kinda just feels like they want to take PMAA's glory rather than create their own. A bit shortsighted TBH


There is nothing shortsighted by the fact that Delta calls the A350 their flagship when AA doesn't even own the aircraft. So how is that taking AA's glory? You don't have an answer, that's what. AA's lawyers don't either.


It's pretty clear that flagship is a term associated, long term, with a competitor. If Verizon started to use pink, it wouldn't be difficult to claim they were trying to emulate T-Mobile, even if they don't own the color pink. If Delta began to use Clipper in their branding, I'm sure the owners of PA's brand would disagree that it's ok because PA never owned A350s. You all also need to drop the notion that everything DL does is so unique and earth shattering. They're not the first to have an excellent on time operation, make big profits, mage joint ventures with broken airlines to their advantage or fly to PDL summer seasonal. If they want to be unique, then create a new term (Delta One for example) and run with it uniquely, otherwise it's just riding out a former competitor's glory days to confuse consumers.

What's next? Rhapsody in Blue on their commercials? That would definitely be very Delta.
 
A320FlyGuy
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:43 pm

lightsaber wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Weak. Can probably hold your breath in the time it'll take for this to get tossed.

Agreed. Flagship is an old Nautical term and aviation has used nautical terms forever. I cannot imagine is is copy-writable.


Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.
 
A320FlyGuy
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:49 pm

zeke wrote:
usflyguy wrote:

Where did you all go to law school?


Every person that goes to law school does not graduate at the top of the class.

Any US airline that operates internationally is a U.S. flag air carrier under the 1958 FAA Act. Flagship has been in common use on air and sea travel for so long, hard to see how such a trademark could be seen as being unique to AA.


Brings to mind that old joke about what they call the guy who graduates last in his class in medical school....Doctor.

Same thing applies to lawyers....although, I have learned that there is a huge difference between the billboard advertising, prime-time TV commercial using lawyers and the ones that work in large law firms that you have never heard of.

Bottom line on this one is that Flagship, while being used to describe a class of service on American Airlines, is also a recognized term in the nautical and aviation worlds and referring to the premier member of your fleet of aircraft as the "Flagship" of the fleet is hardly infringing on a trademark with American. If you were to take a survey of people on the street, I imagine that most people would associate the term "Flagship" much the same way that Delta is using it. It was a long time ago that American Airlines referred to itself as having the "Flagship Fleet".
 
VS11
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:56 pm

A320FlyGuy wrote:
Bottom line on this one is that Flagship, while being used to describe a class of service on American Airlines, is also a recognized term in the nautical and aviation worlds and referring to the premier member of your fleet of aircraft as the "Flagship" of the fleet is hardly infringing on a trademark with American.


Bottom line is that if your reasoning was applicable, "Flagship" would have never been registered as a trademark. Yet it was.
 
Boof02671
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 10:59 pm

A320FlyGuy wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Weak. Can probably hold your breath in the time it'll take for this to get tossed.

Agreed. Flagship is an old Nautical term and aviation has used nautical terms forever. I cannot imagine is is copy-writable.


Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.

It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades
 
Oliver2020
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 11:55 pm

Boof02671 wrote:
A320FlyGuy wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Agreed. Flagship is an old Nautical term and aviation has used nautical terms forever. I cannot imagine is is copy-writable.


Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.

It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades


https://www.alaskaair.com/content/airpo ... -and-hours

Alaska airlines also states they have an Alaska Airlines flagship lounge listed in this article from Alaska airlines.
 
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gatibosgru
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 11:57 pm

Hope you all keeping this thread alive get the bonuses once you win the fight. Seems very important to some here.
 
Oliver2020
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sat Dec 05, 2020 11:57 pm

Oliver2020 wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
A320FlyGuy wrote:

Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.

It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades


https://www.alaskaair.com/content/airpo ... -and-hours

Alaska airlines also states they have an Alaska Airlines flagship lounge listed in this article from Alaska airlines.

Even though they are partners that doesn't look good in my opinion to try to win a lawsuit.
 
wjcandee
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:11 am

Look, this isn't my area, but it seems to me, for what it's worth, that it's not as simple as some of the lawyers on here seem to be suggesting. Their syllogism is: (1) AA has a registered trademark in the word "Flagship" in connection with airline services; (2) Delta used that word (and refuses to stop using that word) in connection with airline services; so (3) game over, Delta loses, they can't use the word anywhere in their marketing.

I agree that the mark has been around long enough to have become "incontestable" as that term is used in trademark law, and discussions about whether it's generic or descriptive (i.e. not trademarkable) are likely not going to get too far. However, if a mark really has become generic, it can be cancelled by the court at any time, but that's rarer than you would think. The arguments that folks are making about it being a nautical term and in wide use in the airline biz and therefore not trademarkable are not crazy, but they are probably best analyzed as arguments going to the significant weakness of the mark.

A weak trademark doesn't become any less weak by being registered. What we know as a result of it being registered is that American owns it and that American claims entitlement to prevent others from using it in a way that infringes. But there's the rub. The best one can say about Flagship is that is "suggestive", and weakly so at that. The key is that when a mark is weak, you can throw all sorts of money and time at it, but it doesn't become firmly rooted in the public mind as a single source of goods or services.

Ask 100 random people if they associate any particular company with the brand "Flagship", and none are going to say American Airlines. In fact, you'll probably get some who associate it with cottage cheese (confusing it with Friendship). Ask the same question of 100 frequent fliers, and change "company" to "airline", and the ones that fly AA regularly might say "AA". (What AA will do is ask, "Which airline uses the name Flagship?", and insist that they choose one, so you'll probably get a distribution of answers identical to the distribution of knowledge of names of airlines, so AA will feature prominently. But that's not the real question.)

The law of trademarks is much more developed and nuanced than the lawyers on here seem to be suggesting. All one has to do is read cases like American Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc. v. American Consumer Credit LLC, where the trademark owner did not get his injunction, to understand that it ain't that simple. Owning the mark isn't the end of the inquiry; it's the beginning of it. Courts recognize essentially 4 different types of trademark infringement: dilution, palming off, confusion of sponsorship and reverse confusion of sponsorship. Regardless of the underlying theory of infringement, the fundamental analysis that the Court must perform is whether there is a likelihood of confusion regarding the origin of goods or services offered by the parties. To do this, it will analyze several factors, and must consider them without assigning dispositive weight to any one factor. Those factors are worded slightly-differently in different Circuits, but generally include, without limitation: (1) the similarity of the marks; (2) the similarity of the goods or services; (3) the relationship between the parties' channels of trade; (4) the relationship between the parties' advertising; (5) the classes of prospective purchasers; (6) evidence of actual confusion; (7) the defendant's intent in adopting the mark; and (8) the strength of the plaintiff's mark. All these things come into play.

So it is fundamentally wrong, in my view, to ignore all the points people are making and wave one's hands and say, "But Delta is using the same word as American and American has a registered trademark." Instead, taking all these folks' points and fitting them into the framework of whether they weigh in favor or or against a likelihood of consumer confusion, and how much, would I think yield a more-useful picture.

Do we really think that DL is trying to make people think that it's America West/USAir? Ooops, I mean "American"? Well there's one factor. You get the idea.

I will leave it to others to pound the table for their position as to how the Court will likely rule in the end, because I've been around long enough to know that that opinion and 2 bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

But I do think that it's more of a horse race than it's being made out to be on here.

One other point: Again, although this is not my area, it seems to me that the idea that American "had to" bring and spend a fortune prosecuting this suit to conclusion is silly. There are a variety of agreements that it could have tried to enter into with Delta that would constrain Delta's use of the mark to something reasonable and within American's control. Like DL can call its A350 its "flagship" airplane, but it can't change the name of Delta One to "Flagship Class". See how simple that was? But then people get all Alpha with each other, and the lawyers end up making massive $$$.
Last edited by wjcandee on Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:34 am, edited 5 times in total.
 
Oliver2020
Posts: 223
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:24 am

wjcandee wrote:
Look, this isn't my area, but it seems to me, for what it's worth, that it's not as simple as some of the lawyers on here seem to be suggesting. Their syllogism is: (1) AA has a registered trademark in the word "Flagship" in connection with airline services; (2) Delta used that word (and refuses to stop using that word) in connection with airline services; so (3) game over, Delta loses, they can't use the word anywhere in their marketing.

I agree that the mark has been around long enough to have become "incontestable" as that term is used in trademark law, and discussions about whether it's generic or descriptive (i.e. not trademarkable) are likely not going to get too far. However, if a mark really has become generic, it can be cancelled by the court at any time, but that's rarer than you would think.

However, a weak trademark doesn't become any less weak by being registered. What we know as a result of it being registered is that American owns it and that American claims entitlement to prevent others from using it in a way that infringes. But there's the rub. The best one can say about Flagship is that is "suggestive", and weakly so at that. The key is that when a mark is weak, you can throw all sorts of money and time at it, but it doesn't become firmly rooted in the public mind as a single source of goods or services.

Ask 100 random people if they associate any particular company with the brand "Flagship", and none are going to say American Airlines. In fact, you'll probably get some who associate it with cottage cheese (confusing it with Friendship). Ask the same question of 100 frequent fliers, and change "company" to "airline", and the ones that fly AA regularly might say "AA". (What AA will do is ask, "Which airline uses the name Flagship?", and insist that they choose one, you'll probably get a distribution of answers identical to the distribution of knowledge of names of airlines, so AA will feature prominently. But that's not the real question.)

The law of trademarks is much more developed and nuanced than the lawyers on here seem to be suggesting. All one has to do is read cases like American Consumer Credit Counseling, Inc. v. American Consumer Credit LLC, where the trademark owner did not get his injunction, to understand that it ain't that simple. Owning the mark isn't the end of the inquiry; it's the beginning of it. Courts recognize essentially 4 different types of trademark infringement: dilution, palming off, confusion of sponsorship and reverse confusion of sponsorship. Regardless of the underlying theory of infringement, the fundamental analysis that the Court must perform is whether there is a likelihood of confusion regarding the origin of goods or services offered by the parties. To do this, it will analyze several factors, and must consider them without assigning dispositive weight to any one factor. Those factors are worded slightly-differently in different Circuits, but generally include, without limitation: (1) the similarity of the marks; (2) the similarity of the goods or services; (3) the relationship between the parties' channels of trade; (4) the relationship between the parties' advertising; (5) the classes of prospective purchasers; (6) evidence of actual confusion; (7) the defendant's intent in adopting the mark; and (8) the strength of the plaintiff's mark. All these things come into play.

So it is fundamentally wrong, in my view, to ignore all the points people are making and wave one's hands and say, "But Delta is using the same word as American and American has a registered trademark." Instead, taking all these folks' points and fitting them into the framework of whether they weigh in favor or or against a likelihood of consumer confusion, and how much, would I think yield a more-useful picture.

Do we really think that DL is trying to make people think that it's America West/USAir? Ooops, I mean "American"? Well there's one factor. You get the idea.

I will leave it to others to pound the table for their position as to how the Court will likely rule in the end, because I've been around long enough to know that that opinion and 2 bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

But I do think that it's more of a horserace than it's being made out to be on here.

One other point: Again, although this is not my area, it seems to me that the idea that American "had to" bring and spend a fortune prosecuting this suit to conclusion is silly. There are a variety of agreements that it could have tried to enter into with Delta that would constrain Delta's use of the mark to something reasonable and within its control. Like it can call its A350 its "flagship" airplane, but it can't change the name of Delta One to "Flagship Class". See how simple that was? But then people get all Alpha with each other, and the lawyers end up making massive $$$.


I agree that the whole thing is ridiculous, and to add the lawyers are the ones who will most likely benefit from the whole ordeal.
Not to mention their code share partner will likely have to remove the flagship lounge statement and service as well.
First of all it's a shame we are discussing this, and most likely it will cost airlines money at a time when they are losing millions of dollars a day.
Note I'm not a lawyer and the above is just a guess to the final outcome.
 
TYWoolman
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 2:25 am

I think in the end they will both just agree to merge on condition that American drop the lawsuit. And that will be that :p. On serious note, American owns the trademark, confusion is subjective and cannot be quantiified with any degree of proven certainty, so IMO American wins since Delta is within the same industry selling same type of services. I mean American can have SkyFirst lounge access and would Delta be ok with that? How is Delta going to prove confusion? Proving confusion is merely impossible. It comes down to respecting law. Delta tried, American filed. Delta should move on. Flagship is American! I am sure there are many common words trademarked out there. But what is trademarked is Flagship with a certain goods and services of which Delta is a part of. Delta should not be permitted to use it. But Delta and American are in all sorts of cat fights lately, almost as if it's inevitable that only 2 large carriers with exist in the U.S. and each are fighting for suvivorship along side United.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:05 am

Boof02671 wrote:
A320FlyGuy wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
Agreed. Flagship is an old Nautical term and aviation has used nautical terms forever. I cannot imagine is is copy-writable.

Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.

It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades

Meh, still doesn't mean all that much... just ask Xerox.
 
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zeke
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:32 am

D L X wrote:
False. Let’s work from the correct set of facts.

DL advertised flights as Flagship in their website. There are examples of this in this thread. That’s using the mark in commerce in connection to commercial airline services.


No they didn’t, they never sold a product or service with the word flagship in it. The products they sell are called basic, main, comfort+, premium select, delta one etc, they don’t sell a flagship check in service, a flagship lounge, flagship cabin class or a flagship onboard service.

They didn’t advertise “flagship flights”, they stated the type of aircraft being used where it was an A350 as being the flagship A350. A350 being an Airbus trademark, not AA. This was also put in the same line as “Nearby Airport” “Lowest fare” “Fastest” “Flagship A350”. If you are going to assert “Flagship A350” is a product or service, you also stating “Nearby Airport” “Lowest fare” “Fastest” as also being products or services which everyone knows is not true.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Sun Dec 06, 2020 7:58 pm

LAX772LR wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
A320FlyGuy wrote:
Agreed...you took the words right out of my mou....er....fingers.

It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades

Meh, still doesn't mean all that much... just ask Xerox.


Would you get me a Kleenex (pointing to the store brand facial tissue)?

Also in the alot of the south most people refer to a cola drink made by any manufacturer as a "coke"
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 1:07 am

Jerseyguy wrote:
LAX772LR wrote:
Boof02671 wrote:
It’s already copyrighted and has been for decades

Meh, still doesn't mean all that much... just ask Xerox.

Would you get me a Kleenex (pointing to the store brand facial tissue)?

Also in the alot of the south most people refer to a cola drink made by any manufacturer as a "coke"

:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:
Definitely agree on that last part.

Also, friend used to manage a UPS store for 2yrs... she always said that not a day went by where someone didn't come in, and ask "How much to FedEx this?"
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:26 am

An A350 flies only long-haul select routes and some of those routes can also be flown by 767-300ERs I would imagine. Therefore, Delta showcasing its A350's as "Flagship" or "Flagship A350" can imply IMO a service that which cannot be experienced on any other aircraft in its fleet. This is where infringement may be deduced.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:30 am

zeke wrote:
D L X wrote:
False. Let’s work from the correct set of facts.

DL advertised flights as Flagship in their website. There are examples of this in this thread. That’s using the mark in commerce in connection to commercial airline services.


No they didn’t, they never sold a product or service with the word flagship in it. The products they sell are called basic, main, comfort+, premium select, delta one etc, they don’t sell a flagship check in service, a flagship lounge, flagship cabin class or a flagship onboard service.

They didn’t advertise “flagship flights”, they stated the type of aircraft being used where it was an A350 as being the flagship A350. A350 being an Airbus trademark, not AA. This was also put in the same line as “Nearby Airport” “Lowest fare” “Fastest” “Flagship A350”. If you are going to assert “Flagship A350” is a product or service, you also stating “Nearby Airport” “Lowest fare” “Fastest” as also being products or services which everyone knows is not true.

Zeke, you are wrong. And your continual refusal to accept that you may be wrong limits the usefulness of our discussion.

Fact: DL attached the word Flagship in connection with flights on its A350. That is 1) use 2) in commerce 3) in connection with the sale of goods or services.

Fact 1 plus fact 2 plus fact 3 are the basic elements of trademark infringement. Not “did XYZ sell something called <MARK>.”

Example: American Express never sold a service or product called “Don’t Leave Home Without It.” But you bet that if MasterCard had used that phrase in their advertisements, they would have been liable for trademark infringement. Does that help explain how you are focusing on the wrong thing?
 
wjcandee
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 2:53 am

As the Sixth Circuit put it, however, "[t]he ultimate question remains whether relevant consumers are likely to believe that the products or services offered by the parties are affiliated in some way. [...] Regardless of the theory of infringement alleged, a plaintiff must show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

Moreover, what a PTO examining attorney looks at is kind of what is alleged above, but that's not the whole story. Again the Sixth Circuit: "This notably excludes many of the factors that courts consider in a Lanham infringement action—including a consideration of the manner in which the marks are actually used in the marketplace."
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:45 am

wjcandee wrote:
As the Sixth Circuit put it, however, "[t]he ultimate question remains whether relevant consumers are likely to believe that the products or services offered by the parties are affiliated in some way. [...] Regardless of the theory of infringement alleged, a plaintiff must show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

Moreover, what a PTO examining attorney looks at is kind of what is alleged above, but that's not the whole story. Again the Sixth Circuit: "This notably excludes many of the factors that courts consider in a Lanham infringement action—including a consideration of the manner in which the marks are actually used in the marketplace."

Don’t forget about dilution.

Also with respect to the PTO, remember these are decades-old trademarks in some cases. They are way past gaining incontestable status.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:50 am

D L X wrote:
Let’s work from the correct set of facts. DL advertised flights as Flagship in their website. There are examples of this in this thread. That’s using the mark in commerce in connection to commercial airline services.


Yes, let's do work from the correct set of facts - which are not evident in your post. DL did not "advertise...flights as Flagship..." They described a specific aircraft type as their Flagship 350. That is a far different matter.


D L X wrote:
I suggest boning up on trademark law before you reach that conclusion. DL was using a trademarked term to sell services in the trademarked class. That’s classic trademark infringement.


Again, you are misstating the facts. DL was not "using a trademarked term to sell services in the trademarked class." They were, as mentioned above, not describing any specific "service" at all; they were designating a specific aircraft as their "Flagship" airliner, which has commonly been don in the area of transport for decades.. If you cannot grasp the difference, then maybe you need to bone up on trademark law.


D L X wrote:
Zeke, you are wrong. And your continual refusal to accept that you may be wrong limits the usefulness of our discussion. Fact: DL attached the word Flagship in connection with flights on its A350. That is 1) use 2) in commerce 3) in connection with the sale of goods or services.


False again. DL has not "attached the word Flagship in connection with flights on its 350"; it described the 350 as its "Flagship" aircraft. Not the "flights", not the service; but an aircraft. While that may seem to be a fine line, the fact is DL is not using Flagship to describe a service, but to describe an object, amounts to a substantial difference.


wjcandee wrote:
As the Sixth Circuit put it, however, "[t]he ultimate question remains whether relevant consumers are likely to believe that the products or services offered by the parties are affiliated in some way. [...] Regardless of the theory of infringement alleged, a plaintiff must show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

Moreover, what a PTO examining attorney looks at is kind of what is alleged above, but that's not the whole story. Again the Sixth Circuit: "This notably excludes many of the factors that courts consider in a Lanham infringement action—including a consideration of the manner in which the marks are actually used in the marketplace."


:checkmark: :checkmark: :checkmark:

If this were as "cut-and-dried" as some self-proclaimed expert(s) here would have us believe, then AA could have simply filed for summary judgement and the whole case should have been over. Obviously, that didn't happen. The marks are clearly not used to describe the same product type; it will be up to the Court's judgement to decide whether the similarity and/or differences in AA's usage and DL's usage justify a finding for the Plaintiff or not.

There's more to the issue than some simplistic (and dogmatic, to boot) commentators would want us to believe.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:01 am

Interesting

‘Flagship’ was our radio call sign in 1986 when I flew the SF340 for Republic Express


I wonder if that callsign is still in use ?
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:04 am

D L X wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
As the Sixth Circuit put it, however, "[t]he ultimate question remains whether relevant consumers are likely to believe that the products or services offered by the parties are affiliated in some way. [...] Regardless of the theory of infringement alleged, a plaintiff must show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

Moreover, what a PTO examining attorney looks at is kind of what is alleged above, but that's not the whole story. Again the Sixth Circuit: "This notably excludes many of the factors that courts consider in a Lanham infringement action—including a consideration of the manner in which the marks are actually used in the marketplace."

Don’t forget about dilution.

Also with respect to the PTO, remember these are decades-old trademarks in some cases. They are way past gaining incontestable status.


Of course. I'm just saying that the A+B=C analysis is a little like what an examining attorney does, as opposed to what a court is required to do (i.e. take into account more factors).

Well, dilution is probably at least one of the theories of infringement they're going for, I think. But I think it will be interesting to see how that plays. Either every similar-to-Delta use of the term as an adjective by third-party airlines other than Delta over the last 20 years is a non-infringing use (Alaska's flagship lounge at SEA, blah blah) and doesn't dilute anything, or it's a "use of the mark" that allows one to point to a zillion such uses as strong evidence of lack of distinctiveness of the mark, and thus make the argument that the mark is not an identifier for a single source.

It will be interesting to read whatever briefs they file after they worm their way through discovery at $1000+/hr for the partner that signed that discovery email and said that he had defended such-and-such deposition. (Talk about milking it.)

Not for nothin', but it does seem a little dumb to me to use an adjective as a mark; I know it's also a noun, but it is probably more-regularly used as an adjective, which, as here, complicates things unnecessarily. "Ambassador Club" -- no problem. "Flagship Club" might as well be "Happy Club".

But, again, this ain't my area.
Last edited by wjcandee on Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
D L X
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:09 am

alfa164 wrote:
D L X wrote:
Let’s work from the correct set of facts. DL advertised flights as Flagship in their website. There are examples of this in this thread. That’s using the mark in commerce in connection to commercial airline services.


Yes, let's do work from the correct set of facts - which are not evident in your post. DL did not "advertise...flights as Flagship..." They described a specific aircraft type as their Flagship 350. That is a far different matter.

You sure?

Image

Where does it say A350?
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:14 am

wjcandee wrote:
D L X wrote:
wjcandee wrote:
As the Sixth Circuit put it, however, "[t]he ultimate question remains whether relevant consumers are likely to believe that the products or services offered by the parties are affiliated in some way. [...] Regardless of the theory of infringement alleged, a plaintiff must show that there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

Moreover, what a PTO examining attorney looks at is kind of what is alleged above, but that's not the whole story. Again the Sixth Circuit: "This notably excludes many of the factors that courts consider in a Lanham infringement action—including a consideration of the manner in which the marks are actually used in the marketplace."

Don’t forget about dilution.

Also with respect to the PTO, remember these are decades-old trademarks in some cases. They are way past gaining incontestable status.


Of course. I'm just saying that the A+B=C analysis is a little like what an examining attorney does, as opposed to what a court is required to do (i.e. take into account more factors).

Well, dilution is probably at least one of the theories of infringement they're going for, I think. But I think it will be interesting to see how that plays. Either every similar-to-Delta use of the term as an adjective by third-party airlines other than Delta over the last 20 years is a non-infringing use (Alaska's flagship lounge at SEA, blah blah) and doesn't dilute anything, or it's a "use of the mark" that allows one to point to a zillion such uses as strong evidence of lack of distinctiveness of the mark, and thus make the argument that the mark is not an identifier for a single source.

It will be interesting to read whatever briefs they file after they worm their way through discovery at $1000+/hr for the partner that signed that discovery email and said that he had defended such-and-such deposition. (Talk about milking it.)

Not for nothin', but it does seem a little dumb to me to use an adjective as a mark; I know it's also a noun, but it is probably more-regularly used as an adjective, which, as here, complicates things unnecessarily. "Ambassador Club" -- no problem. "Flagship Club" might as well be "Happy Club".

But, again, this ain't my area.

This is my area.

Dilution is not infringement. Dilution is damage to trademark rights by blurring the lines of ownership or weakening the mark. (Most of the counter examples on this thread are actually evidence of past dilution.)

I think there’s both dilution and infringement here.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:36 am

I know it's your area. And I know you think there's infringement here. And there may be, but I just think it's more-complicated than is being argued. And I also think that you have to take seriously the common-sense statements of some of the non-lawyer members here, 'cause they're kind of like jurors, and we ignore them at our peril. I think what they're saying, while not in legal terms, does have a place in the at-least-8-factor test that a court would have to apply.

Dilution is a theory of infringement, one of four. I remember that from law school. I also just read a Sixth Circuit opinion that said the same thing.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 4:45 am

I take the common sense comments of posters here seriously all the time. (For real! I’ve surreptitiously tested how legal theories would fly here to get a sense for what lay persons would think.)

But Intellectual Property law is rife with lay misunderstanding. Laypersons generally get patent law more or less correct when it’s explained to them. Laypersons get copyright less correct. Laypersons get trademark way TF wrong. Generally, laypersons believe that you can trademark anything and that trademark prevents others from speaking those words, lest they have to pay you. “Ooh! That’s a cool slogan! You should trademark it!” (Only if you plan on selling something by using that phrase or logo, and plan to put in the work to make the public associate that thing with your thing.)

My main points on here have been consistently educational - if you think AA can’t possibly be right because “Flagship” has been a word associated with nautical (and therefore aviation) themes forever, that’s incorrect. AA has made the term have “secondary meaning,” attached to American Airlines, and has been doing so for decades. IT would be one thing for some random joe starting a company to use the term. But in this case, it’s one of AA’s main competitors. THEY KNEW BETTER.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:08 am

D L X wrote:
IT would be one thing for some random joe starting a company to use the term. But in this case, it’s one of AA’s main competitors. THEY KNEW BETTER.


I thought you claimed to be an infallible lawyer... not a mindreader...

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

Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:19 am

D L X wrote:
You sure?
Image
Where does it say A350?


On their website. Interestingly, when I pull up flights on exactly those same dates, to exactly the same destination, whenever a schedule says "Flagship" that is followed by "A350".

https://www.delta.com/flight-search/sea ... ce2be099c6

Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

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

Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:28 am

alfa164 wrote:

Again, you are misstating the facts. DL was not "using a trademarked term to sell services in the trademarked class." They were, as mentioned above, not describing any specific "service" at all; they were designating a specific aircraft as their "Flagship" airliner, which has commonly been don in the area of transport for decades.. If you cannot grasp the difference, then maybe you need to bone up on trademark law.


D L X wrote:
Zeke, you are wrong. And your continual refusal to accept that you may be wrong limits the usefulness of our discussion. Fact: DL attached the word Flagship in connection with flights on its A350. That is 1) use 2) in commerce 3) in connection with the sale of goods or services.


False again. DL has not "attached the word Flagship in connection with flights on its 350"; it described the 350 as its "Flagship" aircraft. Not the "flights", not the service; but an aircraft. While that may seem to be a fine line, the fact is DL is not using Flagship to describe a service, but to describe an object, amounts to a substantial difference.



Actually.... I have a very distinct memory of DL charging a $ premium on some of the premium class seats when their A350's first entered service.
It was met with a certain amount of outrage; at least on forums like this. Like, literally, a "surcharge" to fly on their new "Flagship". Well, sure - thats a clear case of DL saying the B747 out of DTW (IIRC) was being supplanted by this new "Flagship" aircraft (to support your point)... but at the very same time it seems to also suggest to the consumer (and I very clearly recall doing the price comparison myself) that there should be something more to "Flagship" than just the aircraft if they wanted more money! (even though, as it turned out, the answer was not)
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:31 am

alfa164 wrote:
D L X wrote:
You sure?
Image
Where does it say A350?


On their website. Interestingly, when I pull up flights on exactly those same dates, to exactly the same destination, whenever a schedule says "Flagship" that is followed by "A350".

https://www.delta.com/flight-search/sea ... ce2be099c6

Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

:roll:


This is what I get, the products for sale are “Main, Premium Select, Delta One”, they are not selling a product or service called flagship.

Image

https://www.delta.com/flight-search/sea ... 7abe283e35
 
FlyHappy
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:38 am

alfa164 wrote:
Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

:roll:


D L X screen grab is from last year.
Delta has changed how they present all this stuff.
What you see today isn't what they showed when A350 entered service, and not the same since AA filed suit.
 
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zeke
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship

Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:15 am

FlyHappy wrote:
alfa164 wrote:
Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

:roll:


D L X screen grab is from last year.
Delta has changed how they present all this stuff.
What you see today isn't what they showed when A350 entered service, and not the same since AA filed suit.


However it is not the full screen shot, even back then you could not buy a product or service called flagship. Essentially if you go onto today’s website and cut out the products and services for sale you get the same as what DLX posted. However if you click on flagship or flagship 350 you don’t selected a service, it brings up the A350 page https://www.delta.com/content/www/en_US ... cabin.html
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:30 am

alfa164 wrote:
D L X wrote:
You sure?
Image
Where does it say A350?


On their website. Interestingly, when I pull up flights on exactly those same dates, to exactly the same destination, whenever a schedule says "Flagship" that is followed by "A350".

https://www.delta.com/flight-search/sea ... ce2be099c6

Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

:roll:


Lol. I wish my photoshop skills were that good.

This screen shot is the evidence of what caused the law suit. It was taken almost a year ago. In fact, I wasn’t even the one that took it. You can find it on the first page of this thread. That you can now go on DL’s website and get something different now should be obvious: DL changed their website because they got caught infringing AA’s trademark.

zeke wrote:
However it is not the full screen shot, even back then you could not buy a product or service called flagship.

Zeke, it’s almost like you don’t read what I write—you keep saying irrelevant things, I keep telling you why it’s irrelevant, and you keep saying irrelevant things again.
 
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:57 am

alfa164 wrote:
D L X wrote:
You sure?
Image
Where does it say A350?


On their website. Interestingly, when I pull up flights on exactly those same dates, to exactly the same destination, whenever a schedule says "Flagship" that is followed by "A350".

https://www.delta.com/flight-search/sea ... ce2be099c6

Surely you wouldn't doctor an image to try to prove a point... would you?

:roll:


If I recall, what DL initially did was to indicate they were using their "Flagship A350" by putting just the word "Flagship" in that little box, apparently intending to mean, "The aircraft we're using on this flight is our flagship, which is the A350." They subsequently revised their web site to add "A350" after the word Flagship, possibly as a result of American losing its mind.. On its own, does the word in the box mean "Our Flagship", or does it mean "Flagship Service"? I think AA started putting that latter term (or something similar) on its schedule listings to highlight the "potential confusion".

Trying to be objective, I think it is highly-unlikely that anybody would see the word Flagship on a Delta schedule and think that this was an American flight, or somehow associate it with American. DLX correctly makes the point that AA has spent $$ over the years to associate the word "Flagship" with their service, and that would be evidence of consumer association with AA -- if it worked. As I pointed out earlier, you can spend a fortune promoting a very-weak and inherently-not-distinctive mark like Flagship, and it doesn't make it a stronger mark just because you did that (legally, I guess, the promotion can be seen to enhance the distinctiveness, but, on its own, the word is a loser, and its going to be a fun battle of the experts/pollsters [who are recently not seen as the savants they once were seen to be] as to how effective that promotion of the word was). I'm all about the airline biz, and yet it took this lawsuit to jog my memory that Flagship had anything whatsoever to do with American Airlines, who I generally don't fly.

True trademark story: The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead (in Atlanta) was the first of the modern Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company brand. It was developed by a guy named William B. Johnson, who in his obituary in the WSJ four years ago was dubbed a "Waffle King" in the headline. I'm sorry to say that I had a hand in attaching that somewhat-disdainful moniker to him twenty-something-years earlier in a bare-knuckles lawsuit arising from Ritz's alleged mismanagement of 4 hotels owned by our client, and flagged and managed by Ritz. Johnson, see, before he became a big-time hotel developer had made a fortune by being the largest franchisee of Waffle House restaurants. He wanted to build a fine hotel in Buckhead, because he knew and loved Atlanta. He got very far along in the development process for the property, with detailed plans and architectural drawings. The name he had decided upon for the place was...wait for it..."Monarch". To him, that sounded great. Sorry, I'm not likely to pay $500 a night in the 80s-90s to stay at a place called the Monarch, no matter how much promotion you do for it. Not distinctive. Johnson, however, had a brainstorm when he stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Boston one night, the lone survivor of what was I think 2 hotels that Cesar Ritz established in the US (the other had been in NYC) around the turn of the previous century, after running the Ritz in Paris and the Ritz and the Carlton in London. The family that owned the Boston hotel (and the Ritz-Carlton name) had licensed the name to the developers of a hotel on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, then operated by the Four Seasons. They had also licensed the name prior to that to a different developer who had refurbished two existing hotels, one in NY and one in DC, and wanted to class them up a bit with a better name. (Al Gore grew up in the DC one under its then name.) But that was it. Johnson wasn't stupid (just unimaginative in his original name choice), and ultimately made a deal where he bought the name, subject to the NY, DC, Chicago and Boston licenses, with the idea that he might want to develop some more hotels after he finished the now-renamed Monarch. The Buckhead place was a huge hit, and he turned The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company into a noted Flag (brand) for and/or operator of hotels owned by others (as well as a few more he developed) during the Greed is Good 1980s and 1990s. It had a very-unique management and operating style that eschewed a lot of policies and procedures typical of the hospitality business, which was ultimately one of our client's complaints, when he investigated after being unsatisfied with the financial results.

Ultimately, years later, Johnson sold the whole shebang to Marriott, which was coming to realize that the name "J. W. Marriott" wasn't a distinctive enough brand name to apply to hotels that they were developing to compete with the Four Seasons at the highest-price end of the market. Those JW Marriotts were schwanky, but the name didn't work, because all anybody saw was "Marriott", and the public had a perception of Marriotts as good, well-run hotels, but not anything uber-fancy. So Marriott bought Ritz-Carlton with the idea of leaving it alone to do its "magic", but ended up changing some of the things, frankly, that we were fighting about in our lawsuit. Marriott is a company with a lot of integrity, and I personally think they saw what we saw. And, full-circle, Marriott recently-ish de-flagged the Buckhead property from Ritz and changed its name to the Whitley Hotel last year after a major renovation.

I tell this whole story because it illustrates how much distinctive names (trademarks) matter. There was in fact absolutely no historical connection between Cesar Ritz's company and hotel operation and the current Ritz-Carlton, despite what Wikipedia says. The current one was all Bill Johnson, building a company that delivered an exceptional hotel experience worthy of the name that he purchased, even if the hotel building owners weren't happy with the financial results at one or more points. If Johnson had called the Buckhead hotel the Monarch, I am confident that he wouldn't have been able to Flag and operate for other owners so many dozens of highest-end hotels, no matter how successful he ended up being in the local Atlanta market. Same for Marriott. They bought Johnson out because their fabulously-well-known brand, Marriott, actually limited their ability to make money using their full founder's name with pride as the brand for their ultra-luxury hotels. People didn't get the distinction. The JW wasn't distinctive enough from the mother brand for people to understand that it was something other than what the name Marriott would condition them to expect.

And it's in light of these kind of highly-distinctive, household-name trademarks, of which the actually-rather-dull name American Airlines has become one due to consumer recognition, that we consider "Flagship", which I put even lower than "Monarch" in the scheme of things (because Monarch as a brand for something can in no way be descriptive, whereas Flagship actually can, as shown by how Delta is using it).

And at the end of the day, the most remarkable lesson about branding is that a name I helped give to a guy over and over in lawsuit papers and press releases ended up being in the headline of his obituary.
Last edited by wjcandee on Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
 
User avatar
zeke
Posts: 16358
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Re: AA sues DL over the use of the term “Flagship”

Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:06 am

D L X wrote:
Zeke, it’s almost like you don’t read what I write—you keep saying irrelevant things, I keep telling you why it’s irrelevant, and you keep saying irrelevant things again.


No source has been provided to back the statement “This screen shot is the evidence of what caused the law suit”, Respectfully you have posted numerous claims which are not factual.

Can we please go back to discussing the topic and not me.
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