Red Hat fails to protect its trademark in Court

The Tel-Aviv District Court (Judge Shoshana Almagor) has rejected a Red Hat lawsuit filed to protect its well-known Fedora trademark. The defendants, Start Commercial Ltd. and its director, deal with IT and data protection. According to Red Hat, they post in their blog and website, logos that closely resemble Red Hat's registered trademark. The court did not find conclusive similarity between the two trademarks – although it found that both companies are working, "one way or another", with the Linux operating system: "the illustrations in the plaintiff's trademark... and in the defendant's logo are not identical, and my first impression when comparing them is that the reasonable consumer might not mistakenly think that the source of the two marks is one and the same", stated Judge Almagor. "When you place the marks next to each other, the only similarity is the hat image. The prominent distinction is that the illustrated hat in the defendant's publications is in diagonal and not on the forehead of a human figure but on the corner of a polygon. In the middle of the defendant's illustration, there is a white arrow pointing to the right and there is another smaller arrow entered thereto. Around the arrows there is a green circle, which is encircled by a blue square on which the hat is hanging. On the other hand, or should we say "head", the hat on the plaintiff's "mystery man" is red, like the plaintiff's name, and is decorated with a black stripe. On the contrary, in the defendants' publications, the hat is black and the stripe around it is blue". Court has also rejected, for absence of proof, the plaintiff's claim according to which its hat trademark is a "Well Known Trademark" that should be entitled to broad protection – and also rejected its claims for unjust enrichment and trademark dilution {C.A. 3768-12-10 Red Hat Inc. v. Start Commercial Ltd. et. al.}. comments that in the realm of Linux, the fedora image is distinctly identified with Red Hat, and the use of such hat by an Israeli company – who is also dealing with Linux– seems as intended to ascribe it a relation to Red Hat. For the readers' convenience, the two trademarks are brought up below one next to the other:

RedHat vs. StartCom Trademarks