Tenet Components' Tyler Deschaine is worried that people unfamiliar with the Bellingham, Washington based brand will think he ripped his logo from Christopher Nolan's upcoming film Tenet when they see the similarity between the two. The 2020 science fiction spy action thriller film is written and directed by Christopher Nolan and produced by Nolan and Emma Thomas. When the two logos are placed side by side, the similarities are apparent.
No, despite the striking similarities, we are not making a movie with Christopher Nolan. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe Nolan was inspired by our branding; regardless the apparent negligence is frustrating to say the least. Thank you to all the people that have reached out in support of Tenet (the bike brand).—Tyler Deschaine
Tyler Deschaine was a Product Manager at Diamondback before he started Tenet Components. He said he really wanted the name of his new company to be a palindrome. Initially, he thought he made the word "Tenet" up when he scratched it down on a piece of paper during a brainstorming session in 2017. When he found the definition, "a principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of a philosophy," he knew it was perfect for his company. He then designed the logo himself and trademarked the name within the bicycle industry ahead of the brand's launch in June of 2018.
He became aware that the upcoming film was using a similar logo in the fall of this year.
The Tenet Instagram was tagged in a random post about his new film. At the time there wasn’t a logo associated with the post and I wrote it off thinking to myself “Well this is going to be annoying." Then shortly after someone had swiped my logo from Google images and pasted it on a YouTube video describing the “secret trailer”. As a joke, I posted an Instagram story with it and that’s when someone messaged me an article that pretty much described my logo. It wasn’t until the official movie website went live that made my jaw drop.—Tyler Deschaine
People were making connections between his brand and the film early on. He says it's frightening to him that people's first reaction when they see his logo is that he's stealing other industries and can’t think for himself and be creative on his own.
My biggest concern is that people who haven’t discovered my brand might come across it after having seen the movie and think that I stole the logo or was trying to ride Nolans coat tails. I’ve poured my heart and soul into growing this brand even the slightest bit, and to potentially have it decimated by a big budget film studio over apparent negligence is terrifying. As far as we know it could be a simple coincidence, but for us potentially quite damaging.—Tyler Deschaine
He reached out to five different law firms about what his options were. While lawyers said he has legitimate concerns, in the trademark world, it's difficult to challenge Warner Brothers since his trademark is in bicycle industry only. They also said, while it's within his rights to post an Instagram story, it's not worth him going after the trademark with a multimillion-dollar company.
We were granted the trademark for “Tenet" in the bicycle world on October 9th, 2018. In trademark law, that only protects us from word use within our industry. I don’t have any issue with them using the word Tenet, there are thousands of trademarks for that word across dozens of industries. My issue is with the stylization, but that is neither here nor there. I’ve spoken with layers and despite the validity of my concerns, I’ve been advised not to pursue it. Even sending a letter could potentially open myself up to a preemptive lawsuit from Warner Brothers. These sorts of things can get dragged on for years and the legal fees can go well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. We’re a tiny component company that is taking baby steps to carve out a place for ourselves in the industry. We in no way want to get raked through the coals of litigation. That would end poorly for us. Also, we’ve got more important things to focus on, like developing new product and creating rad content.
I want to make it clear that I never thought of this scenario as a get rich quick scheme. At the end of the day I just want to avoid potential damages to my brands reputation and I suppose this article will help clear the air. Thank you Pinkbike for reaching out and giving the little guy a bigger voice. Now go see Tenet and think of us while the logo is spinning in front of your face.—Tyler Deschaine