Original logo image, ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, a Project of California Renewal - Image Credit: Case 2:10-cv-00132-LKK-DAD Document 1-2
For PROP. 8, Judge believes image means nothing
In the world of images and logos, a lot is made to impart the exact impression and nature of an effort or business enterprise through branding. The biggest area where branding gives its first impression comes from corporate colors and the graphic elements that are associated with the effort or business enterprise ... the logo.
XEROX Corporation comes to mind when one thinks of how important it becomes to protect an effort's graphic intellectual property. XEROX did not want the general public to grasp on to, and water down the meaning of their name when one referred to a photo-copy as a "XEROX" just as Kleenex did not want to have everyone refer to a paper wipe by their trade name, Kleenex. XEROX was mostly successful in their efforts through protecting the word XEROX in courts through lawsuits when the company saw the word used in a generic nature thereby watering down the definition and impact of the word, XEROX.
The same sensibility should govern cultural and political messages delivered through graphic intellectual property as well. A lawsuit has been brought upon The Courage Campaign Institute for using the graphic elements of the logo used by The Proposition 8 coalition.
A Judge in the California District Court did not believe the value of the graphic image and the identification brought through a logo graphic was worth defending on behalf of the effort to protect traditional marriage.
Rip-Off logo Image, The Courage Campaign Institute - Image Credit: Case 2:10-cv-00132-LKK-DAD Document 1-3
This excerpted and edited from The Sacramento Bee -
Prop. 8 backers sue foes over logo
By Denny Walsh - The Sacramento Bee - Published: Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 - 10:57 am
The opposing forces in California's war over gay marriage have found something else to squabble about: the gay-marriage camp's mockery of the traditional-marriage camp's logo.
The squabble is playing out in Sacramento in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton.
A stylized silhouette of a man and a woman and a boy and a girl, all with raised arms beneath a banner reading, "Yes On 8 Protect Marriage," is the logo of Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative amending the state constitution to declare that marriage is only between a man and a woman.
Since the campaign on behalf of Proposition 8 began using the logo on Jan. 31, 2008, it has employed it in a number of ways, most recently on its Web site.
The Courage Campaign Institute began using an almost-identical logo – the adult figures both are wearing dresses and the banner reads "Prop 8 Trial Tracker" – last week on a Web site it launched for updates and commentary on the San Francisco trial of a federal constitutional challenge to the amendment.
The Proposition 8 coalition is defending the amendment in court because the state would not.
Soon after the Trial Tracker logo showed up, the Proposition 8 promoters cried foul.
The Courage Campaign argues the slightly altered logo is funny, a parody that is cloaked in free-speech protection.
ProtectMarriage.com – Yes on 8, a Project of California Renewal sued Tuesday in Sacramento federal court.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants – nonprofit groups that support gay and lesbian marriage – have misappropriated the plaintiff's trademark in a way that is likely to confuse the public, and they "have never utilized the infringing logo in any way that would result in humor, a … requirement for a parody."
The plaintiff claims to have spent "a considerable amount of money in establishing the ProtectMarriage Trademark in the minds of customers as a source of conservative views and traditional family values."
Karlton sided with the defendants Wednesday in a nine-page order denying the plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order halting the use of the logo on prop8trialtracker.com.
The judge ruled that Courage Campaign's "use of the mark is protected under the First Amendment, in that the use is relevant to an expressive parody and … is not explicitly misleading."
"Any potential for confusion or misdirection is obviated by the images and text that uniformly accompany defendant's use of the mark, namely, photos of homosexual couples together with text explicitly endorsing homosexual marriage," said Karlton.
In California ... a vote that has expressed the democratic will of the people by nearly 70% and intellectual property are under assault along with the ability for people to grow food and keep jobs (irrigation water ordered to be turned off in the fields of the Sacramento Valley in order to protect a non-indigenous fish, the Delta Smelt) ... nothing is sacred, except, of course, the decisions of a single politically "progressive" Judge or the wishes of small, but politically "progressive" special interest groups.