Deere & firm has for much more than 100 years marketed a wide range of agricultural, forestry, lawn, and garden equipment. Practically all its agricultural equipment is painted green and also yellow, and also Deere owns number of registered marks covering its green and yellow shade scheme. FIMCO Inc. Has actually an agricultural division that sell equipment also utilizing green and yellow. A comparison of the parties’ tools is displayed below, through Deere on the left and also FIMCO on the right:

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Deere filed suit to protect against FIMCO from using Deere’s registered green and yellow trade dress in link with sprayers and also wheeled farming equipment. Adhering to a five-day bench trial, the Court concluded that FIMCO’s use of the green and yellow trade dress infringed and also diluted Deere’s trademarks. The only likelihood-of-confusion determinants that favored FIMCO to be the high level of customer care, and the truth that Deere’s green and also yellow mark on trailed agricultural equipment was no as solid as Deere argued, due to multiple other companies utilizing that shade scheme end the years.

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With respect come FIMCO’s intent, the evidence showed the FIMCO was mindful of Deere’s color scheme once it began using green and also yellow. Nonetheless, the court stated: “nowledge that a trademark, alone, will not support a finding of intent to confuse if various other circumstances display that the defendant believed there was no infringement.” Here, the Court uncovered insufficient evidence that FIMCO selected the green and also yellow colors with an will to reason confusion. FIMCO’s CEO testified the the green and also yellow shade scheme was liked not come confuse farmer or “ride on man Deere’s back,” but because “that’s what people were ordering.” He also testified that he learned that Deere’s trademark registrations because that the shade scheme only as soon as FIMCO was offered with the complaint. Accordingly, this aspect was neutral.

On the concern of dilution, however, the Court uncovered that lot of the same proof strongly sustained a finding the FIMCO’s use of green and yellow diluted Deere’s trade dress rights. 4 of FIMCO’s witnesses testified that farmers want their trailed farming implements to enhance their tractors, and also that all points being equal, a farmer with a man Deere tractor would prefer a green and yellow trailed sprayer or applicator. Further, FIMCO trailed devices is often portrayed in marketing materials as being pulled by john Deere tractors. Even FIMCO’s CEO described green and yellow together “the john Deere” colors at trial.

The situation is Deere & company v. FIMCO Inc.

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, case No. 5:15-cv-105-TBR (W.D. Ky. Oct. 13, 2017).


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