Jack format slogan in question.
The company that owns the U.S. rights to the federally trademarked "playing what we want" slogan is suing Bonneville International Corporation for infringing use of the trademark on its radio stations in St. Louis, Phoenix and Chicago.
SparkNet Communications, a joint venture between Vancouver-based consultant Pat Bohn and Nashville-based consultant Garry Wall, initially filed a complaint against Bonneville last month in U.S. District Court in Chicago. On Wednesday (June 8), the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction ordering Bonneville to stop using the slogan.
SparkNet has licensed the trademark to 15 Jack stations in the U.S., including Infinity outlets in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas. In April, the company sued Fisher Communications for infringing use of the trademark on KPLZ Seattle. The station subsequently dropped the slogan.
At issue is Bonneville’s use of variations of the slogan on WTMX (The Mix) Chicago, KKLT (the Peak) Phoenix and WSSM (The Arch) St. Louis. The Mix Web site displays the slogan "Today’s new music… and whatever we want." The Peak and the Arch use "70’s, 80’s… whatever we want."
SparkNet contends that it and its licensees have used the trademark in the U.S. since May 1, 2001. The suit argues that the Bonneville slogans are so similar "in sight, sound and meaning that listener confusion is inevitable." By misrepresenting its programming "as the authentic 'playing what we want' product," Bonneville is usurping SparkNet's "opportunity to maximize the success of its product" in those markets, the suit states.
"Bonneville is misleading listeners" and "weakening consumers' perception of the Jack FM product (as being iconoclastic and irreverent) and is tarnishing the 'playing what we want' mark," the suit alleges.
SparkNet acknowledges "acceptably different" slogans used at other similarly formatted stations, such as "random radio," "rock without rules" and "whatever."
Under a briefing schedule agreement between the two parties, Bonneville will file an opposition brief on June 17, SparkNet will file reply papers on June 23 and a hearing has been requested for June 29.
Attorneys for Bonneville weren't immediately available for comment.