If you are contemplating painting your farm equipment green and yellow, BACK OFF.
Well that’s the word from the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. That federal district court ruled in favour of Deere & Company when it claimed in a lawsuit that it has the sole trademark use of a green and yellow colour combination on agricultural equipment.
Following a one-week trial, the U.S. District Court in Paducah Ky. ruled in favour of Deere. The court decision permanently bans the use of the John Deere colours by FIMCO, a company that manufactures and markets agricultural sprayers under the “Ag Spray Equipment” badge.
The lawsuit asserted that FIMCO’s green and yellow equipment infringed on Deere’s trademark for the colour combination. Deere also claimed that use of the colours by another manufacturer confuses the public as to where the product originated and dilutes the value of the John Deere brand. In a 107-page decision, the District Court found for John Deere on all its claims.
The court ruled that John Deere’s green and yellow colour combination qualified as a “famous” trademark since as early as the late 1960s and that FIMCO intentionally chose green and yellow to create an association with the John Deere brand. The court also found that FIMCO’s use of green and yellow was likely to cause confusion among purchasers as to whether its agricultural equipment was manufactured by or endorsed by John Deere.
The court decision affirmed that FIMCO and all persons affiliated with the company are permanently enjoined from using the combination of green and yellow colours in the manufacture, distribution, marketing, advertising or sale of trailed and wheeled agricultural equipment in any locality within the United States.