US Trademark # 979,870 - SunTour

US Trademark 979,870 - SunTour main image

There are a couple of points to make about this trademark.

The first is that, in the 1970s, we all assumed that Simplex, Huret and Campagnolo were the ‘old guard’ and that SunTour and Shimano were the new kids on the block. The truth, of course, is that SunTour (1912) and Shimano (1921) were both established manufacturers before any of Simplex (1928), Huret (1930) or Campagnolo (1933).

The second point is that western culture was truly alien to Japan in the early 20th century. The story goes that both Shimano (with 3.3.3.) and SunTour (with 8.8.8.) chose brand ‘names’ made up of three characters separated by full stops because they knew of the B.S.A. logo and thought that it typified ‘what you had to do’ to be successful. The characters themselves were merely seem as abstract geometric elements.

It reminds me of a film that I once saw about the Lexus logo. An earnest, but painfully stylish, Japanese creative dude explained at length that a circle divided into three areas by an ‘L’ captured the essence of harmony, the balance of fire, earth and water, respect for the three ages of man etc. etc. etc.. The whole effect was rather spoiled when the interviewer rather churlishly asked if it did not actually capture as much of the essence of the Mercedes-Benz logo as was possible without infringing copyright... A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.

US Trademark 979,870 - SunTour main image