L.A. TECH & MEDIA LAW FIRM – Intellectual Property & Technology Law

Co-Existing Trademarks:Yamaha Musical Instruments and Yamaha Motorsports

Trademarks are essential components of a brand’s identity and the rule is exact copies of trademarks are generally infringing. Still, the trademark YAMAHA is famous for both motorsports and musical instruments. The question is then how can these two well-known coexisting trademarks avoid the likelihood of confusion and trademark infringement? Both trademarks create an instant connection between the brand and the consumer, fostering trust and recognition. The Yamaha Group is known for its innovative products, and it has established an exceptional reputation worldwide. In this blog, we explore the distinctive trademarks of Yamaha’s Musical Instruments and Motorsports divisions, and how two identical coexisting trademarks in the marketplace avoid a likelihood of confusion and liability for trademark infringement.

Yamaha Musical Instruments

The Yamaha Group has been a leader in the music industry for over a century, providing top-quality instruments that cater to various musical genres and preferences. The Yamaha Musical Instruments division prides itself on its extensive range of products that cater to the needs of amateur and professional musicians alike. The Yamaha Musical Instruments trademark consists of two primary elements: the Yamaha tuning fork and the Yamaha wordmark. The tuning fork is an elegant symbol of the company’s commitment to musicality and precision, while the wordmark conveys a sense of sophistication and excellence.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records show Yamaha Corporation, with an address located at 10-1, Nakazawa-cho, Hamamatsu-shi Shizuoka-ken JAPAN is the official owner of U.S. Registration No. 3559368 for the mark YAMAHA filed in Class 021 for “Accessories for musical instruments, namely, cleaning swabs for musical instruments, cleaning brushes for musical instruments with flexible wire handles, mouthpiece brushes for musical instruments, polishing cloths, silicon cleaning cloths, silver cleaning cloths, tone hole cleaners consisting of brushes used to clean tone holes of musical instruments; gauze for cleaning and polishing musical instruments” and claimed priority date of 1947.

Yamaha Motorsports

Yamaha’s Motorsports division offers a range of high-performance vehicles designed for on-road and off-road adventures. Their products are engineered to provide the ultimate riding experience and have become a go-to choice for motorsports  enthusiasts worldwide. The Yamaha Motorsports trademark, on the other hand, consists of a bold, dynamic symbol that embodies the spirit of speed, power, and adventure. The emblem’s three interlocking tuning forks represent the company’s commitment to innovation, performance, and reliability. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records show Yamaha Corporation, with an address located at 10-1, Nakazawa-cho, Hamamatsu-shi Shizuoka-ken JAPAN is the official owner of U.S. Registration No. 20179 99 for the mark YAMAHA filed in Class 012 for “structural parts for motorcycles; motorcycle frames, motorcycle engines, motorcycle suspensions; motor scooters and structural parts therefor; snowmobiles and structural parts therefor; personal watercraft, jet-propelled water vehicles, water scooters, and structural parts therefor; all-terrain vehicles and structural parts therefor; golf carts and structural parts therefor” and claimed priority date of February 1955. 

 Co-Existing Trademarks

While both Yamaha Musical Instruments and Yamaha Motorsports use the term YAMAHA as their brand name, there is no likelihood of confusion here because the trademarks are owned by one parent company, the Yamaha Corporation.   Not only are the logos of each Yamaha subsidiary distinct from the others, but by way of Yamaha Musical Instruments’ design is elegant, and refined, and conveys a sense of musicality and precision while.Yamaha Motorsports’ design is bold, and dynamic, and embodies the thrill of speed, power, and adventure, but the license arrangement between the two divisions ensures no trademark infringement risks. The Yamaha Group’s versatility in providing top-quality products to diverse consumer segments is evident in their Musical Instruments and Motorsports divisions. The shared unique trademarks and unique logos of both divisions, musical and motorsports, Illustrate how companies can expand their trademarks into various categories of business, and in this case, create an entirely new division of the business in a completely separate industry while keeping the anchor term YAMAHA in branding.  For technology startups and entrepreneurs who want to protect and license their trademarks, Yamaha Corporation serves as a good example of proper trademark control when allowing a subsidiary to use your trademark. Consultation with an experienced trademark and entertainment attorney is strongly advised.     
David N. Sharifi, Esq.
David N. Sharifi, Esq.

David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; david@latml.com.

Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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