Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sharp determined to use an alternative name in U.S. TV market

This is the update of the trademark dispute between Sharp and Hisense in the US television market. On July 24, it was reported that Sharp will use an alternative name, instead of "Sharp" and "AQUOS", for their televisions in the US market.

In July 2015, Sharp once decided to withdraw their TV business in the US, and signed a trademark license agreement with Hisense in January 2016 to permit Hisense to use the "Sharp" and "AQUOS" marks for televisions in the US. However, after acquired by Foxconn in August 2016, Sharp decided to re-enter the US television market. Then, they tried to terminate the license agreement with Hisense, but faced difficulty in the negotiation and filed a lawsuit after all.

Now, Sharp is planning to sell mainly high-end TVs with large-screen of 60 inches or above in the US. They didn't unveil the trademark, but just commented it is under examination for trademark registration.

When looking into the USPTO's trademark database, the candidate mark may be "REVEL8TION". It was filed in July 2015, where the designated goods include LCD television receivers, and the examination status indicates "A third request for extension of time to file a Statement of Use has been granted." And "8" in the mark seems to imply 8K resolution.

Anyway, this will be a good lesson for how to handle trademarks for products and services which you have a plan to withdraw your associated business in some countries. Sharp will be required to reconsider their brand strategy, especially the relationship between the new mark and "Sharp" and "AQUOS" brands outside the US. They may result in bearing a large burden to build a global brand.

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