Three down, 13 to go

In one of the more wacky legal disputes in defense industry history, Lockheed Martin has announced today that a third country — Thailand — recognizes the company’s right to call its laser-guided bomb the “Paveway”.

Previously, the courts of Oman and Turkey came to the same conclusion. But this bizarre dispute of nomenclature goes on in the courts of 13 other countries, including the United States.

Why is this happening?

Raytheon (nee Hughes) is the inventor of a laser-guided bomb code-named Paveway and for many years its only manufacturer. But several years ago Lockheed developed a rival design and sold it to the US Air Force and US Navy, which means Raytheon and Lockheed compete every year for Paveway orders.

You can imagine how excited Raytheon was by this development.

In 2005, Raytheon won approval by the US Patent and Trademark office to trademark the name “Paveway”, meaning that henceforth Lockheed couldn’t legally market its rival product by that name.

Lockheed argues that the term was a government-furnished code-name for what was once a classified weapons technology, not a proprietary marketing brand.

Raytheon, of course, seeks to protect its competitive position as the sole heir of the original Paveway technology.

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That’s Mr. Paveway to you!” (Source: Raytheon)

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