DEERE RIVAL APPEALS RULING ON LOGO

By Published on .

The court battle over the John Deere logo is going another round.

Lawyers for MTD Products have appealed a U.S. District Court ruling in New York barring the lawn equipment marketer from airing a commercial the court deemed to violate New York state's anti-dilution statute.

The case is scheduled to go to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York the week of Oct. 10.

An MTD ad, created by W.B. Doner & Co., Cleveland, featured a computer-animated representation of the Deere & Co. logo being chased by an MTD riding mower, with voice-over claiming MTD's Yard Man "doesn't cost nearly as much money" as the competitor's model.

On Aug. 9, Judge Lawrence McKenna ruled Cleveland-based MTD's ad adversely diluted the trademarked Deere emblem's status with viewers, and granted a temporary injunction barring MTD from broadcasting its commercials out of New York.

Counsel for MTD said the company likely will air the commercial in spot markets, despite Deere's threat to sue if the ad airs in other states.

MTD attorney Patricia Hatry argued that the ad does not dilute Deere's logo and that it is a fair and truthful portrayal of MTD's less expensive product. Part of her appeal will be on the grounds that the ad "is a message that enjoys First Amendment protection rights."

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