Beware zombie brands


Anne Gilson LaLonde

Beware zombie brands

leolintang /

When a company decides to discontinue a brand, it can return from the dead in a distorted form unless vigilant precautions are taken, says Anne Gilson LaLonde.

Zombie brands are abandoned trademarks that are adopted by a new owner specifically to capitalise on consumer recognition of and loyalty to the discontinued mark. The new owner usually copies the abandoned mark to benefit from its nostalgic appeal.

Companies discontinuing a brand can continue to offer promotional items featuring the brand, use the brand as a sub-brand in a smaller form on the packaging, or offer seasonal or occasional “retro” packages for sale.

They could sell rights to the mark or, better yet, license the mark for use on related goods. These strategies continue use of the mark in commerce and provide value for the original mark owner.

Brands, trademarks, zombie, USPTO, applications