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GEICO Sues Texas Agency for Alleged Gecko Misuse

Direct writer GEICO is suing a Texas insurance agency for allegedly infringing on its trademark advertising icon, the gecko. GEICO alleges in its lawsuit that...
October 31, 2006

Direct writer GEICO is suing a Texas insurance agency for allegedly infringing on its trademark advertising icon, the gecko. GEICO alleges in its lawsuit that Al Boenker Insurance Agency Inc. and its chief executive officer and president, Alvin Boenker III, appropriated GEICO's "famous and distinctive talking gecko" to promote his agency, which competes directly with GEICO in Texas.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Boenker created a series of commercials airing in Texas that depicted a gecko character "as an imbecilic, bumbling creature." The suit claims Boenker appeared in the commercials "kicking and strangling" the gecko in a "tasteless fashion." The suit alleges Boenker "commandeered" GEICO's slogan "Real Service. Real Savings" and changed it to "Real People. Real Savings. No Lizards."

GEICO is asking the court to bar Boenker from playing the commercials or making them available and is also seeking punitive damages, along with other damages. Earlier this month, Boenker told Insurance Journal that he saw his ads as a fun way to stand up to the giant company, which spends millions on advertising. "GEICO is an incredible opponent for local independent agents," said Boenker. "We simply decided to compare ourselves with the largest insurance marketer in the United States. With over one hundred companies to offer our clients, we know what we have to offer is superior."

Editor's Note:  We would love to provide you with a link to these ads so you could judge them for yourself, but they were taken down shortly after GEICO's lawsuit was announced.

GEICO Sees No Humor in Ads Parodying Gecko (Dallas Morning News 10/21/06)

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