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David and Goliath battle over “Dutch”

Published August 11, 2005
Sherwin-Williams and
Fine Paints of Europe Battle over Trademark issue
Woodstock, VT-based Fine Paints of Europe is in a legal battle with the U.S.’s largest coatings manufacturer regarding the name of its architectural coating called Dutchlac. Sherwin-Williams wants to prevent the company from obtaining a federal trademark registration for the paint, because the name too closely resembles that of its well-known mass brand Dutch Boy.
Fine Paints of Europe filed an application to register Dutchlac with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The PTO examining attorney approved the mark, and it was published January 28, 2003, which “puts the world on notice” that the company was seeking to register the mark, said James Baxley, of Hart, Baxley, Daniels and Holton, the attorney representing Fine Paints of Europe. Sherwin-Williams then filed an objection to the name.
The dispute is currently in the discovery stage, which is set to close at the end of the month. Findings are then submitted to a three-judge panel for a decision.
Sherwin-Williams’ Dutch Boy retails in the mass market, selling for less than $20 per gallon. Dutchlac has a considerably higher price point and is sold in a limited number of paint retailers and online at Fine Paint’s web site.
Fine Paint’s CEO John Lahey told the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, “They maintain it might confuse people who intended to buy Dutch Boy, which in my humble personal opinion is somewhat insane, because Dutch Boy sells for about $15 a gallon and our paint sells for over $100 a gallon.”
The Sherwin-Williams Company declined to comment.

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