It has been reported in the Belfast Telegraph (link below):
that Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A., the owners of the Trade Mark JOHNNY APPLESEED, has objected to local man’s, Colin Mackey, trade mark application to register JOHN APPLESEED (below) and as a consequence Mr. Mackey has withdrawn the application and also changed the name of his product.
While the objection appears to have come as a shock to Mr. Mackey, who is quoted as saying “I’m massively angry. You put so much work into something, and then this huge behemoth comes and does this“, a basic clearance search of the trade marks register would have disclosed Anheuser-Busch’s prior rights in its almost identical name JOHNNY APPLESEED. Indeed, even a search through Google would have disclosed that the trade mark was in use, albeit in relation to an alcoholic beverage, and perhaps Mr. Mackey considered that there wouldn’t be an issue since his product was non-alcoholic.
The harsh lesson to be learned from this is, if in doubt, consult a trade mark attorney and always conduct a search before adopting a new trade mark.