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Airline Says It Owns the Word "Northwest" 7

Freshly Exhumed writes "Northwest Airlines, the major airline whose market branding is being phased out after it was acquired by Delta, charges that it has exclusive ownership of the common, geographically descriptive term northwest. The Minnesota-based airline is going after the operator of a small, Spokane Washington web site that provides tourist information for visitors to the Pacific Northwest. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, '[the site's owner] said he has so far spent more than $4,000 in the past few months to defend his site, and he's looking at thousands more going forward as he faces battles in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.' Presumably the Government of Canada will be the next Northwest target victim, what with their use of the term to name some of their Territories since 1870. I don't suppose Northwest can sue the world's cartographers, geocachers, boy scouts, etc. can they?"


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Airline Says It Owns the Word "Northwest"

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  • Not a problem; they'll just change their name to Monster Edge.
  • by Anonymusing ( 1450747 ) on Monday August 10, 2009 @02:51PM (#29014499)

    They'll have to rename the movie, "North by the Direction Opposite of Southeast".

    But, seriously: the tourist site is not technically in the same industry as the airline. It doesn't even offer sales of airline tickets. I thought that you could use similar names as long as the industries were different (e.g. Apple Corps versus Apple Computer). The site has also been up for ten years. They could've sued a lot earlier if it really was an issue.

    • The trouble is even if you are right and the courts agree you are right lawsuits are expensive, and if you are an international operation things are much worse since they can hit you with lawsuits in multiple countries increasing both the cost to defend yourself and the chance that they will get a descision against you (either due to a bad court or due to one of the countries having less friendly laws than the others).

      Look at lindows for an example of a company that won it's trademark battle in the US but t

  • Change the website that formerly used to be about the Pacific Northwest by a simple search and replace on the string.

    Now the website will be about the Pacific Delta Airlines Sucks.

  • Wait... I'm not reading The Onion....

  • Perhaps this university [northwestern.edu] should offer some pro-bono legal representation to gonorthwest.com [gonorthwest.com]

    I Can just see how absurd the argument when the tile page of the lawsuits read:

    Northwest Airlines: Plantiff
    Dorsey & Whitney LLP: Attorney for Plaintiff

    gonorthwest.com: Defendant
    Northwestern University - School of Law: Attorney for Defendant
    Black, Lowe, and Graham: Attorney for Defendant

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