If you look in the BMW t-shirt section you’ll see three designs; BMW 2002 Colors, Classic BMW 2002, and the BMW 2002 front grille.
The graphic used on the “Classic BMW 2002” items is a photograph of my BMW 2002 which was then converted into half-tone art. Pretty cool. I thought.
The graphic of the “BMW 2002 front grille” was hand-drawn on the computer. Again, from a photo of my car.
So here’s the thing. John G. Froemming (on behalf of the BMW Group) sent a notice to CafePress.com (where the shirts are sold through) stating that the “use of the BMW Grille Design mark infringes upon their intellectual property rights (trademark).”
CafePress’ response was to remove all items displaying the Grille from their store — which means they are no longer available in the store section on this site.
I can understand CafePress’ response – heck, who wants to be sued by a mega automobile manufacturer over some cotton? Obviously not them.
I personally have a good amount of knowledge in the area of trademarks and intellectual property so I’m very careful about the merchandise/designs I create. In fact, I never even thought about putting the designs up for sale until other 2002 fans kept asking me where they could get one.
If BMW has a trademark on the 2002 front grille and feels my designs infringe upon those trademarks, then so be it, the designs need to go.
I guess the issue I’m having is how BMW decides which artwork infringes upon their trademarks.
Doing a quick search on the Internet, I came across hundreds of designs and photographs of BMWs. All makes, all models, all types of artwork showcasing BMW cars.
But none of those were targeted as infringing against BMWs trademarks because the art wasn’t showing the front grill.
Just about any make, model, or year BMW that has hit the streets can be recognized from just about any angle. You would think that those design’s, in and of themselves, would be trademarked. Yet, the only thing they’re focusing on is the front grille.
I understand BMW, and other large corporations, must have a heck of a time keeping up with all the knockoffs people are selling and making a buck off their brand. I just find the line between the front grill versus any other part of a BMW that’s instantly recognizable is kind of silly.
Granted, the front grill is very unique and I can understand BMW having a trademark on it. But by the same thinking, would you not think that the side, front, or rear your profile of a BMW would also have a trademark?
So, even though I can take a pretty good guess at what the final outcome is going to be, I’m going to write a letter to Mr. Froemming to see if perhaps there isn’t a different solution that can be had — other than taking the designs off the site. Again, I’m sure the designs will have to be forever rescinded to the depths of darkness, but at least I will have tried.
So, for the items that did sell, I would like to thank the people who purchased them. I hope you enjoy your shirts and, hopefully, come back to 02restoration.com to buy some new BMW 2002 designed merchandise. Obviously, without the front grille.
If you have any thoughts on the subject, I’d love the year them. Thanks, and happy motoring.