The New York Times website’s Dealbook column last Friday evening provided an update on the trademark story it covered just a few weeks ago: Willa has successfully fended off Proctor & Gamble and their Wella trademark.
The original Times story two weeks ago garnered a lot of attention (and included a quote from me!). Perhaps P&G felt some backlash and heat for being portrayed as picking on a small business. The original story certainly was sympathetic to the plight of the Willa trademark.
Here is the key quote from the article about the dispute’s resolution:
Lawyers for Ms. Prunier also declined to provide additional specifics about the settlement, other than confirming that their client can continue to use the name Willa for her line of lip balm, facial masks and other skin care products.
These types of agreements are common place. While I have no knowledge of the specifics of the settlement agreement here, it is quite possible that Willa’s owners would have agreed never to use a logo that looks like Wella’s logo, never to use the trademark on some products, and other limitations. While such agreements are quite common, they are only possible when the small business has the guts and the funds to stand up the bigger company. Very often they don’t have the resources to put up any fight and the big company therefore succeeds regardless of how weak or strong the legal arguments were.
Hats off to Willa for taking on ‘Goliath’!
image from www.willaskincare.com