Pepsico claims River City violates trademark

Posted by on March 22nd, 2006 at 3:10 pm

roof of River City Bike Shop

PepsiCo, the global corporation that owns brands like Doritos and Gatorade, has taken notice of an ad by iconic Portland bike shop, River City Bicycles. At issue is one of PepsiCo’s oldest and most valued brands, Quaker Oats.

PepsiCo’s trademark lawyer, Janet Silverberg has sent River City management a cease and desist letter regarding an ad by River City that spoofs a box of Quaker Oats. The ad, which is part of the shop’s “Commute by bike” series, ran in last weeks Willamette Week newspaper and PepsiCo claims it is in violation of their trademark.

No official comment yet from River City and I apologize for not having a graphic of the ad in question. I’ll post it once I can track it down.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
gabrielPatrickScottetta-tronAndrew Miller Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
pdxrocket
Guest
pdxrocket

Honestly, I think I might tend to agree with PepsiCo on this one. The ad depicts the Quaker Oats guy in a slimmer manner, supposedly because he bikes. Since this really isn’t poking fun or satirizing the marketing, River City is literally using the work as part of a marketing tool. I think they might be best to drop the adverts.

Roger J
Guest
Roger J

I am dumbfounded by this one. Yes it copies the “look and feel”, but it’s not like it’s confusing consumers, or luring them into buying some competitive product (EG “I bought this Waterford thinking it was a box of oatmeal).

I personally found the ad clever and appreciated that it had a fresh feel. It didn’t change my buying habits of Quaker Oats, but I think this cease and decist order will compel me to buy some other brand of oatmeal going forward.

-r

Curt Dewees
Guest
Curt Dewees

Do the folks who own Campbell’s soups sue the estate of the late Andy Warhol over his pop art interpretations of the Campbell’s soup label?
I’ve often thought that a River City Bicycles should create an ad spoof on the Campbell’s soup can, with “River City Bicycles” name done in the Campbell’s soup typeface, and “Cream of Bike” being the name of the soup!

My god, corporate lawyers can be such a pain in the ass!

gabriel amadeus
Guest
gabriel amadeus

Man, those guys are on the ball! And without a sense of humor, either.

Andrew Miller
Guest
Andrew Miller

To spoof or not to spoof?

etta-tron
Guest
etta-tron

Wow. Corporate lawyers are just all over p-town these days, aren’t they?

Scott
Guest
Scott

What I don’t understand is how River City’s ad hurts pepsico in any way really. They are always trying to associate Quaker Oats with health, this is doing the same and certainly not stealing their business. Maybe the Quakers need to sue pepsico for using a likeness without permission. Wouldn’t the image of a quaker be in the public domain? Perhaps not on a round can but what ever.

Pdxrocket is likely write in the legal sense, the point is that the law is absurd. I guess we can all argue until we are blue in the face but copyright law is very procorperate. Unless that changes pepsico, specialized and some many others will keep up the harassment. Branding has become so valuable that lawyers can’t allow people to have a bit of fun. I guess I would say I’m not going to buy from pepsioco any more but I don’t any way so it is a mostly empty threat.

Copyright, patent and trademark law was ment to encourage innovation by allowing individuals or groups to gain rewards for a fixed period from their innovations. Now it is being perverted to being used to prevent competition. Next up, Klennex suing for not mentioning their trade mark when I ask for a tissue! No wait, they figured out that diffusion of their brand into the cultual landscape is helpful in their marketing. Pepsico, are you listening, learn some lessons from others.

Penny wise, pound foolish, its too bad this sort of stupidity won’t run pepsico out of business.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

I don’t have the energy to get fired up about this one. The Specialized-Mt.Cycle deal wore me out. This stuff is crazy sad…….

gabriel
Guest
gabriel

what, does pepsico own specialized. if this kind of stuff ticks them off, they should drop specialized for behaving as egregiously. their support of specialized doesnt go unnoticed to the jo-shmo (me) consumer. just my two cents

Mark F.
Guest
Mark F.

wow, this corporate stuff is tiring. I as well dont have the energy for this one. all I can say is that maybe this is karma coming back at River City for not dumping Specialized given how nasty theyve been through the years. down with antagonistic corporate America.

Me
Guest
Me

I think River City should stick this one out in court. hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhahahahaha