Car-maker battles Crocs over “Cayman” copyright

| 10/11/2009

(autoblog): Porsche AG is known for vigorously defending its intellectual property. It’s understandable, as the company has spent more than half a century building its performance-oriented automotive brand around design patents, logos, and the company’s familiar vehicle nomenclature. Crocs, Inc., on the other hand, is a shoe manufacturer credited with introducing the world to low-cost injection-molded foam footwear. Crocs does not build cars… um, thankfully. What Crocs did do was name its popular sandal the "Cayman" .

Go to article

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Category: Business

About the Author ()

Comments (39)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Joe Average says:

    I am going to paint my porch green, will this get me in trouble?

  2. Joe Average says:

    The Save-You-More-Islands.


    Hello?  Department of Tourism? ….

  3. IP Freely says:

    Getting a valid trade mark over a place name is very difficult indeed.  Possibly the Porsche trade mark would not survive a challenge to the validity of the mark, although they would say that there is no place as "Cayman". 

  4. Seriously... says:

    Croc-a-doodle-screwed.   Evryting’s gonna be Oh Cayman.

    But for all those named Bill born after 1978, you are on notice, I am going to sue you for using my name.  In fact, sign companies, you had no right to call the BILL boards.  Coming for you too.  And restaurants – call it a Tab – not a Bill, or your next.  

    And while we are at it – Obama – go after everyone using the name America.

    And the Scilly Isles need to chase some lawsuits – just because the ‘c’ was dropped doesn’t mean they are not infringing your name.

    And Pine Sol should be sued by the Isle of Pines.  

    Will it ever end?  George’s of the world – Cayman is coming after you for stealing the name of their capital.  Take note, by george…  (I can use it, I pay the CI Covernment a royalty for the rights!!)


  5. Marek says:

    The City of Beverly Hills has a trademark which they license. Everything you see that says Beverly Hills … they’re getting dollars. Even the sign welcome to Beverly Hills which appears on so many television shows is trademarked and they get a fee for every use.


    • Hignor Ant says:

      Yup – and you paid them 3 cents for each time you wrote the name, right?  5 cents for having it in the title.  Good on you…


  6. Joe Average says:

    Sorry CNS.  Porsche was going to name their hot new sports car the PORSCHE BRAC. 

    But initial response wasn’t good.

  7. Anon says:

    You know I always wondered about the name of the Porsche. I always wondered if there wasn’t some sort of infringment on our name. I don’t think the name of our islands was patented so I guess anyone can come in and use it if they like. Not sure if we would have any grounds to sue but it sure raises more questions for me now, so if anyone can explain this to me, would you be so kind as to do so. I’d love to know what our rights are, if any, on this one.

    So basically, Porsche used part of our name and now that Crocs want to use the same name it’s an issue. I guess Porsche must have patented the name. Oh well, by the sounds of things, we’ve got people fighting over our name and we have no say in the issue…..what else is new around here.

  8. True says:

    Does Cayman even have copyright laws? irony

  9. Anonymous says:

    Contrary to sunfish rumors this is final proof that there are “crocs” here in Cayman waters!

  10. Sir Henry Morgan says:

    Sue Porsche and Crocs… and tell them we’ll settle if they give everyone on the island a pair of those sexy green shoes and a Porsche Cayman.

  11. Anonymous says:

    So finally the public takes notice. Porsche was able to trademark protect the word Cayman. Now we do not even have a legal right to sell T shirts with the name Cayman on it.  A local sports team even tried to trademark protect its logo and could not because Porsche owns the mark… and we have the UK to thank for allowing this to happen.


    As the other famous trademark  says F.C.U.K.!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      umm, how did the UK have anything to do with that?

      My yard flooded on Saturday, I bet the UK is responsible for that too!

      • Anonymous says:

        Because it is the UK trademark registry, which operates as part of the UK government, and following UK law, and without even mentioning it to the Cayman Government,  that gave Porsche exclusive rights to use the name of my home, and place me in breach of law (including potentially in the Cayman Islands) for printing it on a T-Shirt.

        Your yard flooded on Saturday because you and your neighbours are not contributing enough to maintain drainage in your gated community, and even if that is not the case, because a tropical storm was passing 200 miles to the West ( that’s the left side) of Grand Cayman.

        Did your arrogance just get the better of you? Apology accepted.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah and they allowed Microsoft to call their software windows, without even consulting me first to see if I wanted to copyright my apartment windows.

          Go back to your miserable little pit and don’t come back out until you’ve grown a brain nobrot.

          • Anonymous says:

            Struck a nerve did I? And to think you came here as a guest under the guise of having talents not available locally.  Sorry Massa!

          • kd says:

             I’ll never understand why some people posting on this website just want to call others names & attempt to insult, rather than actually contribute a well-thought out response refuting what the other person said. If the topic is so important to you that you have to lower yourself by submitting slanderous remarks about a person you don’t even know, you’d think you would actually take the time to back up your hate infused comment with a little substance. It’s like CNS comment sections are being used as an outlet for people’s aggression.  Try going for a run on this beautiful island while you have the opportunity (regardless of if you view it as a blessing or a curse) to be here. 

        • Bully's Star Prize says:

          I have a Porsche, live in a well drained gated community and think that Crocs are horrible things which should only be worn by small children, if at all.  Do I care about this stuff?  Not at all. But for what it is worth, since Cayman is the property of the UK it can sell the name to Disney for all I care.  Vrrrm. Vrrrm.

          • Anonymous says:

            I suppose you tell your wife she’s your property too? Probably not if you are still married – but like the old colonialist mentalty you represent in your latest post, such statements are, shall we say, "inappropriate".

      • True says:

        not the flooding, only the rain

    • O'Really says:

      If you Google "Porsche Cayman name" you get a variety of references which basically state that it is named after the reptile, not the islands. The conflict with Croc comes from both the name and obvious reptile connection, absurd as this is. I seriously doubt that you can be stopped from producing and selling T-shirts with the name of the islands on. Of course, if you had researched this yourself you would have been denied a gratuitous jab at the UK and you can’t pass that up, can you? Here is one example I found:


      "Introducing the Cayman name, Porsche took the concept from the animal world, and the German sports car maker was quick to communicate the details of the Cayman, a reptile that belongs to the crocodile family.

      Within this group of the world’s largest reptiles, the cayman is a relatively small, but very nimble athlete and hunter, and this creates a clear resemblance to Porsche’s new sports car."






      • Anonymous says:

        The Shetlands are some British Isles. They are also the name of a pony. If VW tied to call one of their cars a Shetland and sought exclusive rights to the name on merchandise etc. the UK trademark registry would refuse.

        Shame no such deference to Cayman.


        Caymanians have every right top be upset.


        The "crocodile" name is generally spelled with an "i" in any event.


        This is now getting scilly.


        • O'Really says:

          Sorry but this type of stuff interests me, so I Googled ( have you heard of this?) UK trademarks and looked up Shetland. There are 2 registered UK trademarks for " Shetland", one of them held by a French company. Not quite sure how this supports your position. 

          Two things are apparent from this. First, it is possible to register a name more than once, since issues such as font size, type, colour, position etc are taken into consideration. Two, you display an attitude all too typical here, that is of Caymanians choosing to fall into the role of victim, rather than researching what is possible and then getting on with it.

          I have learned something about trademarks though, so that is good. Pity I can’t say the same for you.

          • Anonymous says:

            My reference was to "exclusive" use – not just as the name on the back of a car. 

            • O'Really says:

               Well of course the ultimate proof is what is happening in the real world, so I looked up UK trademarks for " Cayman". There are a surprisingly large number of registered trademarks including the word " Cayman" and 5 for the word " Cayman" alone. Porsche hold 3 and the other 2 are held by Cayman companies, both of which were granted after Porsche obtained it’s initial trademarks.

              I don’t care about the trademark. What I care about is the all too prevailing attitude I see these days in a sector of the Caymanian population which is to: 

              1) jump to conclusions without doing any research ( with invariably negative results such as your suggestion that you won’t be able to sell T-shirts with the word Cayman on );

              2) turn it into a national  issue pitting us against them ( by claiming Caymanians have every right to be upset and suggesting it is a UK plot );

              3) blame someone else for the problem ( in this case the poor employee in the UK trademark licensing department who has probably never even heard of the Cayman Islands and just had to make sure that Porsche followed correct procedure ); 

              4) fail to take responsibility ( because if trademarking "Cayman" is so important to the islands, responsibility for recognising this and doing it years ago rests with the very large government/civil service in Cayman and not the UK government).


      • kd says:

         The reptilian name is not ‘Cayman,’ but ‘caiman.’ 

        • E Recshun says:

           Time to recall the Porche’s for a name plate correction…

        • O'Really says:

           Sorry but you’re wrong. Both spellings are acceptable. Google " Cayman reptile" and see what you get.

          • kd says:

             There are a few sites that use ‘Cayman’ to refer to it, mostly only when the keyword is used in a question being posed, e.g. "What is the Cayman crocodile?" However, it appears that the term ‘Cayman’ is typically used as a common name, e.g. Spectacled Cayman, whereas the actual genus name is Caiman, as in Caiman crocodilus.

            Anyhoot.. Tomato (toh-may-toe), tomato (toh-mah-toe). 

  12. Animosity says:

    Here goes Mack. You want somebody to sue? Sue Porsche and Crocs for stealing the name of your country and using it for monetary gain or better yet charge them both a big Licence fee.

    Show these companies how you intend to protect these Cayman Islands.

  13. Anthony Travers says:

    This is clearly not as silly as it seems.If we avoid the inevitable lawsuit with Porsche AG  by agreeing now  to change the name of the Islands to Cayenne Turbo do we not at a stroke baffle our detractors ,wipe out two decades of negative comment and start again with a clean sheet ?  We can be confident  also that  howsoever the rules may change going forwards  the Germans will never  permit the OECD to black list one of their brand names..

    • Pale Rider says:

      Good point, Tony…So does Porsche intend to sue every spice company that uses the name Cayenne in relation to it’s pepper??  That would seem like the right thing to do…I would love to see how that plays out in some of the bayous in South Louisiana…

      I can see the headlines now..,  "Porsche legal executives traveled to New Orleans to file class action lawsuits against spice manufacturers, but have not been seen since being invited to tour the facilities…., spice company spokespersons are not commenting…" 

    • Joe Average says:

      The Cadillac Islands?  Too tacky.  The Viper Islands?  Wouldn’t interest tourists.  The Rover TC  Islands?  The Jeep Islands?  The BMW Islands B.W.I.!!!

      The Olds Vista-Cruiser Islands??

      I’m workin’ on it.

  14. Porsche Off says:

    People wearing bright green rubber shoes look less ridiculous in Cayman that the posers in Porsches when you can’t drive above 40mph!

  15. Anon says:

    Why is it that we do not get a royality fee for the use of the Cayman name? Can it not be protected in order to do so?

  16. NSS says:

    Don’t you think the government should be suing both companies?

  17. durrrr says:

    what a crock of….