Airstream Inc. recently received trademark approval from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the design of its unique spherical silver travel trailer.
“It’s kind of a big deal for us,” reported Bob Wheeler, president of the Jackson Center, Ohio, manufacturer. “We fight trademark infringement all the time, not usually in the RV industry, but from people making T-shirts, belt buckles, hats – things like that – with Airstream’s image. Their defense has been that the shape of the trailer was used by others in the 1950s.”
In legal jargon, the trademark consists of “the combination of the color silver as applied to travel trailers and a configuration of the trailers comprising generally quarter-spherical leading roof lines and an overall curvilinear appearance.”
“It’s the combination of the silver and the curved body shape,” Wheeler noted.
It took three years for the trademark to be approved “because (the patent offices) was fearful it would provide too broad protection,” Wheeler said.
That problem was overcome when the matter was assigned to an administrative judge who was an RVer. “He understood better that the Airstream shape has been burned into the minds of Americans,” Wheeler said.