The green and yellow colour combination on John Deere equipment belongs to John Deere, ruled a U.S. District Court judge in Kentucky.
Judge Thomas B. Russell ruled in favour of Deere in a lawsuit filed against FIMCO, Inc., a South Dakota company that sells sprayers and spraying equipment under the green and yellow “Ag Spray Equipment” brand.
In the 107-page ruling, the judge said FIMCO infringed and diluted Deere’s trademark rights by using the colour combination.
The green and yellow combination qualified as a “famous” trademark since as early as the late 1960s, and FIMCO “intentionally chose green and yellow to create an association with the John Deere brand,” said Deere in a news release issued this week. “The court also found that FIMCO’s use of green and yellow was likely to cause confusion among purchasers as to whether its agricultural equipment was manufactured by or endorsed by John Deere.”
The court gave FIMCO 60 days to file a plan on how it will comply with the ban on using the combination of green and yellow colours anywhere in the U.S.
Deere said the lawsuit is part of “an ongoing and vigorous effort to protect the company’s trademarks and intellectual property.” Court documents showed Deere has asked around 40 companies to cease using its colour combination over the years, according to Iowa newspaper the Globe Gazette.