When the first trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s new film Tenet came along, it arrived with a simple, slick title logo that inverted the last two letters in the title, referencing the “time inversion” that’s at the center of the movie’s plot.
Below is an Instagram post made by Tenet Components on Dec 19, 2019 when the first trailer dropped:
The day after the first trailer was released, the biking website Pinkbike (Via The Playlist) reached out to Tenet Components so they could clear the air and make sure everyone understood that their logo was not stolen from the film. The owner of the bicycle components company Tyler Deschaine said:
“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 stabilization, but that is neither here nor there. I’ve spoken with lawyers 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 brand’s 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.”
After the statement was made public, Warner Bros reached out to Tyler Deschaine for his email followed after which he received a kind response from the director Christopher Nolan himself which was later posted on the bicycle company’s business website for everyone to see. The response from Nolan read:
Warners just showed me the logo for your company, so I wanted to reach out directly and reassure you that our logo was arrived at without reference to yours. I know this because I designed ours myself, evolving it over the last six years, driven by a fascination with the symmetries of a word which is central to my story and its themes. I thought I’d done something unique – but clearly you were driven by the same creative impulse. I guess lightning can strike twice, and obviously I understand that you would not want anyone thinking that you had been inspired by our movie’s title treatment – feel free to quote me in shooting such misunderstandings down. I love our logo so I hope you won’t feel this is necessary, but if you like, I can stop using it since it seems you went public with yours first.
It’s good to see that both Nolan and Deschaine rationally came to a mutual agreement about this fiasco. However, it would seem that Deschaine preferred that the studio not use the inverted lettering in the logo for Tenet since the latest trailer premiered with a more than plain title card instead.
It’s a shame that the studio couldn’t figure out a better design for the logo as the inverted letters were central to the theme of the movie. The inverted letters were probably what Deschaine was afraid of, but at least now, there won’t be further confusion between the 2 “Tenets”.