Qantas/Jetstar

By Laurel Sutton

June 1, 2004

“April 20, 2004
On Dec 1, 2003 Qantas Airways Ltd announced the launch of their new low cost carrier named “Jetstar.” Unfortunately for Qantas, the name JetStar used in conjunction with the airline industry was an already legally trademarked brand by JetStar International Airlines.

Beginning at least four years ago, JetStar International Airlines, was the first and only company ever to use the trademark “JetStar” in conjunction with an airline or air carrier of any kind, and have enjoyed a peaceful and productive time with their superior trademark and domain. Quoting JetStar’s CEO Gene Bordelon, “When I formed this virtual airline four years ago, I went to great lengths naming and branding it so uniquely that the odds would be remote in the extreme that it would ever be exactly copied, unintentionally or coincidentally to avoid any copyright problems.” He continued by stating “It’s unbelievable that Qantas could come up with the same name, essentially the same logo design, and substantially the same silver livery as ours by chance. Even our domain name clearly states who and what we are. I knew when I named the airline ‘JetStar’ it along with our signature livery would be a very powerful and recognizable trademark brand. Qantas and their ad agency obviously also recognized this. ” From a press release at JetStar Airlines

Whoops. We were wondering how this could happen in today’s litigious world. Did Qantas not bother to check the US trademark database? Worse, did they know about it and ignore it? Their legal counsel must be pretty scared right now. If JetStar International wins a case for trademark infringement, Qantas could be forced to change the name of their low-cost carrier.

The same thing happened to Ford recently, when they launched their Futura brand. Again: Whoops.

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