How can you legally share a trademarked name?

Believe it or not, trademarked names can be shared by different companies. Even companies in a similar line of business and hence trademark category. But there has to be a mutually agreeable (and usually loRollsRoyceLogong term) contract in place. Sometimes the original party may want compensation, sometimes not. This also happens where there is extremely good brand equity in a name and the company splits into two or more entities.

For example, Rolls Royce® car company is now a clearly owned subsidiary of BMW and they continue to turn out ultra high end luxury cars. But separately Rolls Royce® Holdings is the parent company of an eminent jet and other engines company. Originally they had the same history. Today they both go their own way – but still retain and uphold the power of the Rolls RoyceVolvoTruckLogo name.

Similarly, Volvo® is a car company, now spun off and owned by a Chinese Company.  However, Volvo Group® make truck and boat engines as well as some trucks. The name and logo are shared.

NissanXterraNameBut Nissan Xterra® took a different approach. They wanted to use the name Xterra for their off road version of their SUV. But Xterra® is a popular off road bicycle brand of Trek Bicycles. So Nissan license the usage rights to the name and now it is shared. As part of this license, I am sure Nissan agreed to never use the name on their own bicycles. There has, however, been some cross promotions between the companies.


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Posted in Branding, Naming Education, Trademarks

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