22 March 2018Trademarks

Prudential accuses bank of trademark encroachment

Prudential Insurance Company of America has accused a bank of trademark infringement and unfair competition because of its “ongoing and progressive encroachment” on the insurer’s mark and distinctive design.

The US insurer filed the lawsuit against Philadelphia-based Prudential Bank at the US District Court for the District of New Jersey on Tuesday, March 20.

Prudential’s trade name and mark ‘Prudential’ have been used in connection with its services since 1875, and a significant aspect of its marketing now features a particular colour scheme: white lettering of the ‘Prudential’ mark appears on a blue background, often next to the silhouette of a mountain in white.

Prudential Bank adopted a “similar” blue and white colour scheme in 2013, switching from its previous green, white, and copper design. Its lettering style also closely imitates Prudential’s own style, the complaint noted.

According to Prudential, the changing colour scheme is “part of an ongoing and progressive encroachment on the ‘Prudential’ mark and design”.

The insurer said its ‘Prudential’ mark has been registered in various forms since 1960. It also owns numerous trademark registrations for marks which consist of or include ‘Prudential’, including design mark ‘Prudential’ (US trademark number 1,580,456) and ’’ (US trademark number 2,549,502).

Founded in 1886, Prudential Bank was originally known as The South Philadelphia Building and Loan Association No 2, according to the claim. changed to Prudential Savings Association, followed by Prudential Savings Bank. In 2017, it changed to Prudential Bank.

The insurer alleged that this combination of name, lettering, and colour scheme creates an impression that is confusingly similar to that created by Prudential.

In 2017, Prudential received a customer complaint and, following an investigation, learned that this was an instance of actual customer confusion caused by Prudential Bank’s use of the ‘Prudential’ mark, the claim explained.

Prudential said the parties reportedly tried to resolve the dispute without litigation but Prudential Bank has continued its infringement with full knowledge of the insurer’s rights,

The insurer is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction and triple damages for wilful trademark infringement and unfair competition.

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