Globe Tattoo's Tonino Lamborghini 4G product was a fake. But then I read the press release (PDF) from Tonino Lamborghini and realized that it was legit, so I was a bit shocked.
In the press release, Tonino Lamborghini CEO said that Globe's 4G stick is a "counterfeited product" and that anyone making them constituted "a serious trademark infringement."
Let's stop right there. Those are really serious stuff-- counterfeiting and copyright infringement are words that go together with million-dollar lawsuits.To counterfeit means imitating something and passing it off as the original. I don't see Tonino Lamboghini making 4G USB sticks, so to say the Globe product is counterfeit is fairly inaccurate.
I think it's more of a licensing and branding issue.
To set the record straight, Tonino Lamborghini is different from Automobili Lamborghini, the company more popular globally for the sports cars it makes. Tonino Lamborghini, looking at its website, is a diversified manufacturer and distributor of a slew of products. Their product line includes watches, eyewear, perfumes, fashion accessories, furnishings, apparel lines, and gadgets. I only knew about the distinction between the two after the story broke out.
For their part, Globe responded with an official statement in their Tumblr account. Globe says that they got their license from Primo Mobile, the master franchisor of mobile phone related products for the Italian brand Tonino Lamborghini. This means that Globe has some basis to use the trademark.
My theory is that the Tonino Lamboghini folks saw the Globe Tattoo 4G
stick online and were shocked-- this is not a product they licensed to
be manufactured. Their jaw dropped further down when they saw how Globe
positioned the 4G stick-- "Feed Your Need for Speed" was a tagline that
harkened Automobili Lamborghini.
These folks jumped the gun and made the press release last August 3, roughly two months after 4G stick was launched.
The gap now is the licensing agreement between Tonino Lamborghini and Primo Mobile. If Primo Mobile is authorized to sub-license, what are its responsibility to the trademark owner? In effect, Tonino Lamborghini is second-guessing the sub-licensing process at Primo Mobile.
In my view, Globe is a casualty in this messy situation.
Tags: Globe Tattoo