• Mar 16, 2011
Chrysler is very proud of its "Imported from Detroit" slogan that debuted during the Super Bowl to much fanfare. It's taken the necessary steps to protect the phrase, which includes applying for for the trademark rights as it pertains to both vehicles and clothing.
This was a wise move, because some enterprising folks have apparently already tried to cash in on the phrase. A company called Pure Detroit has started selling clothing with the tagline, while also claiming to be an exclusive clothing provider for the automaker.

Chrysler is not exactly thrilled with Pure Detroit, but according to The Detroit News, it initially attempted to solve the matter away from the court system. It asked Pure Detroit to stop using the phrase, and to send a portion of any proceeds received to charity. Pure Detroit has evidently decided to give Chrysler a Bronx Salute, leaving the automaker with no choice but to make this an official legal matter.

[Source: The Detroit News]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well this seems pretty cut and dry... If it's trademarked, then what Motown is doing is a no no.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @super

        then if they had the trademark, motown loses A to Z. I was under the idea (based on this article) that Chrysler had filed a TM in the past week or so and the shirts were already being sold!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Pure Detroit started selling the shirts on Feb. 7. What Chrysler isn't saying is that they didn't file an application for a trademark on using the phrase on apparel until Feb. 8. They had it registered for other use before then but Pure Detroit might have prior claim to its use on apparel.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @weatherman...actually my expanded knowledge comes from a very well known car company threatening a lawsuit against me for trademark and copyright infringement. ultimately , because they had first in commerce use of words which were in a domain name which I had registered after they had trademark it I had to relinquish the domain name to them . as the lawyer stated if I had been 24 hours earlier in my launching of the website they would not have had a case. additionally , I own other web sites which are trademarked by major companies such as apple which I was first in commerce and they cannot take away from me because I was first in commerce and my use precedes the trademark. I'll certainly share the domain names via email. You'll.actually laugh and cry when you see what they are and what I did to protect myself.
        • 3 Years Ago
        And also, Chrysler trademarked the "Imported from Detroit" slogan January 18th, well before the super bowl ad even aired.
        Furthermore, Chrysler trademarked the slogan for various uses, including branded clothing.

        “From February 14 – when Chrysler first learned of Pure Detroit’s selling of shirts with the IfD tag and claiming it was “exclusive” – until early March, Chrysler Group continued to ask Pure Detroit to stop selling its IfD merchandise. And, we even offered solutions to Pure Detroit, such as asking them to donate a portion of its proceeds to charity."

        The entire story is over on allpar.
        http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2011/03/chrysler-sues-pure-detroit-over-slogan
        • 3 Years Ago
        Not so! If Motown is using it on shirts before them, then they have what's called "First in Commerce" which gives them a grandfather right to use it regardless of Trademarks! Technically, if Chrysler wants to use it on a shirt, then a court may actually grant Motown damages since they were First In Commerce!

        QUOTED BELOW

        Federal Trademark law generally provides that if someone is the first to use a trademark (or service mark) in "interstate commerce" (that congress regulates), (a "first use in commerce") they may register the trademark as their exclusive property.

        Use, not only registration, gives one the right to stop others from infringing,
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why would any small clothing company go up against Chrysler... sure they're the smaller of the big three, but they have a legal team that will crush them. Not to mention, one would assume that they would have TMed the crap out of that slogan. Especially since they got so much great feedback.
      • 3 Years Ago
      can "imported from detroit" even technically be trademarked? Yes the fist logo with the slogan can be but the "imported from detroit" as a stand alone slogan cant...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, if the slogan wasnt trademarked at the time of introduction, how can the clothier be held responsible for using it w/o authorization? I could be wrong, am hoping someone can better explain the situation and legal ramifications (if any) can be held against Pure Detroit, other than it must cease and desist from using it in the future.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I thought everything was being imported from Italy now. The irony being the top selling Chrysler car will likely be the Fiat 500, and the best clothing designs come from as well. The T-Shirts.... probably imported from China.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Never been to San Fran - live on the right coast. And my sense of humor is fine thank you.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yo Derek,

        What you said wasn't humourous at all. Hope you're not a comedian by trade...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yo Frank, you left your sense of humour in San Francisco too...?
        • 3 Years Ago
        The FIAT 500 won't come close to being the best seller, but I bet you don't even know what the sales numbers are for any of Chrysler's vehicles. And as has been reported here and elsewhere (more than once) the shirts Chrysler sells are made in the US. They might even be made by union workers. Please read b4u post.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have to give props to Chrysler for trying to settle this matter in a reasonable way (outside the courts).

      Its admittedly a very powerful slogan and I could see them trying to protect it - especially since I would guess that if Pure Detroit is like any of the other urban clothing companies out there, its probably all cheap Chinese-made crap.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Though the clothier is pretty nervy in taking on a much larger company, this is actually an interesting case. Is "Imported from Detroit" simply another way of saying "Made in Detroit"? Anyone who produces a product can make a factual statement about its point of origin or manufacture. So the question becomes whether "Imported from Detroit" is even subject to trademark protection in the context in which it is used. (Note that the issuance of a trademark basically gives the holder the right to litigate it. There are many trademarks and patents which are issued which should not have been and are not uncommonly invalidated in a legal proceeding initiated by the holder when the defendant presents a defense.)

      Oh, there is also the matter of the factual accuracy of the "Imported from Detroit". Is it a truthful statement? What about the Fiats which Chrysler will be selling?

      If a product is manufactured in Detroit (or possibly even distributed from Detroit, which would be Chrysler's defense in the case of a Fiat 500 made elsewhere...but probably would not be factually accurate either...what is exclusive about the phrase.

      "Made in America" does not belong to any one company. Neither does "Made in the U.S.A.", although there was a case many years ago involving a Japanese manufacturer located in the Japanese city of "Usa" which began marking its products "Made in USA" which plainly was intended to mislead consumers into believing that the product was made in the United States of America when it was not. (During the time of that case Japanese products were not well regarded.)

      It should be interesting to see how this turns out. Chrysler must now decide whether to proceed at the risk of a court declaring their trademarked expression an invalid trademark. Put on some popcorn boys and girls, the entertainment has just begun.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Considering that Chrysler spent millions of dollars to an ad company to come up with the slogan, I think that's the least they should do. Pretty classy to ask nicely and seek charitable donations of a PART of the money already made. Too bad the company selling the goods is apparently classless. Oh well, see ya in court suckers!
        • 3 Years Ago
        Yep, hard to fault them on this one. Seems like they are paying attention to their PR, well done to them.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree that Chrysler first asking nicely and seeking to have the profits donated is a very classy move. The clothing company not complying and also claiming to be the "Offical" Clothing Company" is well a cheap money grab.
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