Deere Protects Its Green and Yellow Colors
In a recent lawsuit against FIMCO, Inc., John Deere asserted that the South Dakota company’s green and yellow agricultural sprayers, which it manufactures and markets under the Ag Spray Equipment brand, infringed on Deere’s trademark color combination. In addition, Deere claimed by using these colors, FIMCO, Inc. is confusing the public as to where the product originated and dilutes the value of John Deere’s brand.
In a 107-page decision, the U.S. District Court in Kentucky found in favor of John Deere on all of its claims. Specifically, the court ruled that John Deere’s green-and-yellow color combination qualified as a “famous” trademark since as early as the late 1960s and that FIMCO intentionally chose these colors to create an association with Deere’s brand. It also found that FIMCO’s use of green and yellow could cause confusion among buyers as to whether its ag equipment was manufactured by or endorsed by Deere.
The court’s decision permanently bans FIMCO, Inc. and all those affiliated with the company from using the John Deere colors in the manufacture, distribution, marketing, advertising, or sale of its trailed and wheeled agricultural equipment in the U.S. FIMCO has 60 days to file a plan with the court on how it plans to comply with the ban.
The lawsuit, Deere says, is part of an ongoing and vigorous effort to protect its trademarks and intellectual property.