You are here:HomeNews CenterInsurance News2006GEICO Sues Competitor Alleging Misappropriation of its Gecko

GEICO Sues Competitor Alleging Misappropriation of its Gecko

GEICO has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging one of its competitors has misappropriated the cartoon character around which it has built its advertising...
April 26, 2006

GEICO has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging one of its competitors has misappropriated the cartoon character around which it has built its advertising campaign. Geico, whose advertisements feature a talking gecko with an Australian accent, said the 60-second radio ad by Tri-State Consumer Insurance Co. of Jericho, New York, misappropriates Geico's gecko trademark, confusing consumers into thinking that Geico's gecko is associated with Tri-State. It wants Tri-State to stop airing the ad and infringing its trademark, give up wrongful profits, and pay punitive and treble damages.

According to a news report by Reuters, a GEICO lawyer filed a 15-page complaint describing a Tri-State commercial with a character identified as a gecko inviting New Yorkers to talk about car insurance. As the gecko prepares to suggest that listeners switch their insurance to Geico, a crashing sound followed by an "unsavory 'splat' sound" suggest that the gecko was struck down by a skidding car, the filing said. Thereafter, it said, "a gruff voice boldly proclaims, 'Enough with the gecko already! You want cuddly cartoon characters or better rates?'"

The complaint said the commercial then recommends that vehicle owners save money by insuring with Tri-State. After the gecko proclaims "I'm cute," a car apparently driven by the announcer squishes it, it said. A Tri-State representative said the company, Hart and its lawyers were not immediately available to comment.

Geico Accuses NY Insurer of Stealing its Gecko (Reuters 4/21/06)

Filed under: