The news that Ford has settled a dispute over the Focus brand name in Germany (MW August 6) by payment of DM1m to publisher Burda-Verlag does little to sharpen the British appetite for European integration. Burda claims the name Focus, which Ford proposes to use throughout Europe for its new car, would confuse German consumers. This is because Burda publishes a magazine under the same name, which is read by considerably less than one per cent of the German population.
All this underscores the need for a common set of laws for the registration and protection of trademarks in Europe. Some progress has been made, but as long as narrow, nationalistic interpretation is allowed (in the UK the Volkswagen Polo brand comfortably co-exists with Ralph Lauren Polo and NestlÃ© Polo), major marketing and manufacturing initiatives will be impeded, to the benefit of nobody.
Group deputy chairman
Interbrand Newell & Sorrell