About two months ago, Formula One Managment released their new logo, and it’s you know, fine. It’s not an amazing triumph of design, but it does the job. The problem is that it already seems to be doing a job, just for 3M, selling a line of compression socks and tights and gloves.
The 3M brand is called Futuro, and, sure, that stylized F used as the Futuro logo is really, really similar to the F used in the F1 logo. The proportions and angle are slightly different, but not that much. The similarities are pretty obvious.
That said, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of examples of similar-looking logos in the world, for companies that have products and markets that don’t overlap much at all. There’s even some in the automotive world; just look at the Carrier (a maker of HVAC equipment) logo and the Ford (a maker of HVAC equipment, surrounded by cars) logo:
Those are pretty close, too, but nobody’s going into a Ford dealership to get a new heat pump for their house, because people, despite a lot of internet-based evidence to the contrary, are not idiots.
3M filed for their Futuro logo early last year, well before the F1 logo. A statement from 3M says:
“3M filed a US trademark application for the Futuro logo on Feb 20 2017. Also, we have not had any discussions about the logo with the other party. We are looking into this matter further.”
It also appears that, in addition to the U.S. trademark application in February 2017, 3M applied for a global trademark in August 2017:
It’s not clear how much 3M regards the logo as a genuine threat to its compression-sock business, or if they’re just defending their logos and brands because, legally, that’s sort of what you do.
The world is certainly full of similar looking brands and logos, and 3M may decide this just isn’t a big deal. Or they may force the F1 management to redesign the logo yet again. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
My guess is they’ll agree the two markets are divergent enough so it’s not such an issue. I mean, we all lived with these similar-looking products for decades:
...and confusion there seems a hell of a lot worse and likely than mixing up some tights with a race series.