April 28, 2006

By Brad Stohry

The Government Employee Insurance Company, better known as Geico, filed a lawsuit against Tri-State Consumer Insurance Company, alleging various trademark violations as a result of certain radio advertisements broadcasted by Tri-State. Geico, who has a long running advertisement campaign that features a talking gecko lizard with an English accent, asserts that Tri-State's use of a similar talking gecko in a radio advertisement violates Geico's trademark rights. In Geico's complaint, Geico alleges that Tri-State's radio advertisement features a character identified as a gecko who discusses car insurance with the radio listener. As the gecko begins to suggest that the listener should switch their insurance coverage to Geico, the gecko is apparently crushed by a vehicle, as the listener hears an "unsavory 'splat' sound." After the untimely end to the gecko's life, "a gruff voice boldly proclaims, 'Enough with the gecko already! You want cuddly cartoon characters or better rates?"' Geico's argument is that Tri-State's use of the gecko dilutes the character's value to Geico.

Reuters News Article: LINK
Geico Website: LINK
Tri-State Website: LINK
Geico's Gecko Trademark Registration: LINK

Brad Stohry is an attorney with Ice Miller focusing his efforts on trademark prosecution and intellectual property licensing.


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