I'm left wondering at how much the NAB spent on its print ads opposing the XM-Sirius merger, because their overall effect is, well, priceless.
The ads are patterned after Mastercard's ad campaign–here's an example.
Mastercard apparently isn't too happy about this.
Now, it's no secret that we have a different take on the merger, and disagree on a host of the NAB's other policies. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they're in the wrong on their use of this ad.
Ralph Nader's presidential campaign ran up against the same problem, and a federal district court decided that his use of the ad structure and tagline was permissible under both trademark and copyright law. (Full decision here.)
Of course, this was before the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2005, which makes it far easier for trademark owners to win against those who repurpose their campaigns. I don't know if this particular snafu is going to go any farther–it seems unlikely that NAB would want to distract from their campaign with this tangent–but it shows that the legal landscape is different enough that Mastercard feels comfortable challenging an ad so similar to the case it lost just a few years ago.