Site logo

F1 on collision course with 3M over new logo

NEWS STORY
11/06/2018

Formula One was racing into a storm tonight as an article in the Daily Telegraph by Christian Sylt revealed that Post-It Note maker 3M has officially filed opposition to the sport's application for a trademark to its own logo. It could put the brakes on the brand which has been derided by drivers and fans alike.

F1's logo was unveiled at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November and was trumpeted as a flagship for F1's new era under Liberty Media which bought the sport at the start of last year. It has since been followed up with an official font, mascot and theme tune in a bid to rev up F1's image.

The previous logo had been used for 23 years and created the silhouette of a number one between a slanted letter ‘F' and the speed lines opposite. In contrast, the new logo is formed of two parts - a curved stripe with a white line running through the middle followed by a straight line. Unfortunately, it bears a striking resemblance to a logo which has been used by 3M for the past year on its Futuro range of therapeutic clothing including ankle supports, knee straps and compression tights used to prevent deep-vein thrombosis.

This put it on track for a collision with F1 as the sport launched a new line of clothing earlier this year featuring its new logo.

In January the Telegraph revealed that 3M hadn't given F1 permission to use the design and was considering what action to take. That decision has now been made as it has lodged opposition to F1's logo application with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) which will make a decision in the next two to four months.

Opposition to trademarks is not uncommon but this is different for several reasons. Firstly, the two logos look so similar and this is the key factor in whether the authorities will give F1's logo the green light.

F1's trademark application covers 26 of the total of 45 categories including one for clothing but excluding the one relating to therapeutic clothing which 3M's mark is registered in. However, in 2008 the European Court of Justice's Advocate General ruled that trademarks are "protected by a basic rule which prevents the registration or use of a sign identical or similar to a registered trademark, for goods or services identical or similar to those for which the mark is registered."

It means that if someone - such as F1 - wants to apply for a trademark to a logo which looks similar to one which has already been registered it won't be able to do so if. This is the second difference to many other opposition cases as the chronology is clear cut.

EUIPO records show that 3M applied for a pan-European trademark to its logo on 17 February 2017 and it was registered four months later. This gives 3M precedence as F1 didn't lodge the application for its new logo until November. It's unclear if F1 was aware of the 3M registration when it chose its new logo but one would hope it was.

F1 is now in a position where it risks being forced to drop its logo and pay to re-brand (again) if the opposition goes against it.

It could pay 3M to head this off but that would cost too... and this at a time the teams are already facing a financial hit as F1's spending under its new owners continues.

Furthermore, 3M doesn't need the money. Last year alone it made pre-tax profits of $7.5bn on $31.7bn of revenue which was 18 times higher than F1's total. The sport is now on a collision course with a giant and its very brand is at stake.

With 3M likely to stand its ground, F1 faces a bruising time ahead… and could well end up requiring the various therapeutic supports that form the Futuro range.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by george, 13/06/2018 9:49

"If Ecclestone was still in charge ( of course it would never have happened) but secondly, he would have found a way to turn 3M in a sponsor around this controversy. Of course if the Liberty Media guys did not check the trademark on the logo that is unforgivable and the marketing/PR director should resign. I wish to believe there is already a deal with 3M and this is an interesting way to get extra exposure. If not, well, buybuy marketing/Pr directors. I have for nearly 2 years now tried to get Liberty Media to let me represent F1 as an Asian Office, which they need, as the growth market is in Asia and the Middle East. No reply. Even though I have pedigree in F1. Marketing/Pr/exposure wise they go from bad to worse, with the logo problems/halo/pit girls. If they wanted to deliberately sink F1 they could not do it any better "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by YuppieScum, 12/06/2018 21:54

"Ro,

I thought I did answer that question: It's because LM want to make F1 more accessible to Americans, and a logo that makes them feel stupid doesn't achieve that goal.

I quite agree that many of the changes LM have made effectively "dumb down" the sport, and the proposals for renaming the tyres next year is a very good example.

With F1 being adjusted to require less intellect to comprehend, together with more and more broadcasters putting F1 behind a pay-wall, the traditional fan-base is being pushed away. As this happens, the value to sponsors and advertisers goes down, and the budgets for non-manufacturer teams will dwindle.

The idea of a spending-cap for the next Concorde agreement is all well and good, but even if it can be agreed (and, more importantly, enforced) it is likely to be too late for the likes of Williams and Sauber."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Ro, 12/06/2018 20:14

"YuppieScum,

still doesnt answer the question : "WHY CHANGE IT AT ALL"....Im sure that the logo wont make a person (American or Indonesian or any other country) realise what F1 is all about. Its motor racing after all , not graphic pleasing to the eye. There are a hundred better things that Media Liberty should look at and improve, all they have done up to now is distance the 'core fans' from F1. But hey, we dont pay for F1 (yet). Wander what will happen then ?
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by YuppieScum, 12/06/2018 16:26 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 12/06/2018 17:08)

"Ro,

The focus of Liberty Media is entirely on making F1 acceptable to an American audience.

This is why the new French Grand Prix starts an hour later than the existing European races, why all the race start times are now 10 minutes past the hour, and why Austin last year had the cringingly-awful driver introductions, by an announcer who didn't know the difference between "marquee" and "marque".

The old logo was really clever in it's use of negative space. However, some people didn't "get" it, many of those people were Americans, and Americans don't like to feel stupid because they don't understand something... hence, a new logo rushed into being without the appropriate and proper due diligence.

"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Ro, 12/06/2018 15:07 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 12/06/2018 17:08)

"What was the point of changing the logo in the first place ? Seems that Media Liberty have a will to destroy everything that was F1. It it works dont change it, or are they doing it just for America? Pityfull, pointless, pathetic..."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Spindoctor, 12/06/2018 12:00

"Priceless!
The Bratches gang are certainly providing entertainment, sadly not much is on the track!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Agrajag, 12/06/2018 9:25

"Everyone on this forum could have produced a better logo for a whole lot less money and checked Google Trademarks too."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by FQITW, 12/06/2018 8:44

"Well this situation is certainly “captivating and intriguing” so Mr Bratches should be happy!

I wonder if this is a ’Destination’ balls-up or ‘Destination balls-up’?
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

9. Posted by -ape-, 12/06/2018 7:40

"Who cares"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by PlayF1, 12/06/2018 2:12

"Agreed.
How can they win this?
From the look of the 3M logo, they would be better off, cutting their losses, and begging a couple of weeks grace, to mod the <img> file"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Egalitarian, 12/06/2018 2:03

"This seems to be really sloppy work on the part of the new owners. The designer of the Liberty F1 logo could easily have dropped it into Google images to check for potential copyright issues. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2019. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms