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I love monograms. Naturally I was intrigued when I learned that the monogram “RG3″ was the center of a recent trademark controversy. Two RG3′s are duking it out to see who can use RG3 for exclusive branding. Let’s meet the contenders:
- Robert Griffin III: born in Japan, this RG3 played college football at Baylor before becoming a quarterback for the Washington Redskins.
- Research Group 3: a biker favorite, this RG3 is well known in the extreme sports community for their motorcycle suspensions.
Research Group 3 has been in business since 1998, well before the Griffin began his professional athletic career. Trademark issues began last year when Griffin filed an application to trademark both “RGIII” and “RG3″ for use on athletic apparel and other merchandise. Naturally, Research Group 3 pushed back and opposed Griffin’s filings on the sets of initials they had been using for years. So far the conflict hasn’t gotten ugly and both parties seem to be working towards a cooperative solution. Some commentators think that solution is straightforward: let RG3 be the face of RG3!
This symbiotic relationship could be particularly well-suited to Research Group 3. The “RG3″ moniker has stuck to Griffin as his career has been on the rise, and his prospects continue to look up. With his professional skill, notoriety, and a generally positive reputation, association with Griffin could increase RG3′s visibility. This may also be the best way to allay Research Group 3′s concerns about branding confusion. If they do associate with RG3, they will not only have more press but it will also be clear that the RG3′s are separate entities. No one will wonder about their relationship; it will be obvious. And while it might otherwise have been cost-prohibitive for Research Group 3 to sign an endorsement deal with an NFL star, this situation may be different if the endorsement deal is part of a settlement that avoids costly litigation.
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