Wolf Jumps Shark: Amazing but True Story

Wolf Range is in a snit over Viking’s use of Red knobs, and has filed a trademark infringement suit in federal court on November 16.  Evidently Red knobs are proprietary to the cooking overlords in Madison and are the foundation of all of Wolf’s success and its sole point of differentiation. 
That makes us sad.

Here are the Wolf knobs.

We can’t find an image of the offending Viking knob…….but we assume they are Red, and not Blue or Argyle.

Who might be next, as Wolf marches across our industry, kicking butt and taking names, and reclaiming their rightful place in the panthion of appliance innovators?

Could it be Capital Cooking?

Or a bunch of dead engineers responsible for this O’Keefe and Merritt range?

Or this Wedgewood

Or this even older use of red knobs on a steam engine?

Or this dead comedian who for decades performed under Wolf’s trademark?

Wolf’s choice of Red for its knobs was a true breakthrough;  a breathtaking creative spark.  We at ApplianceAdvisor.com believe they should be awarded every penny that they deserve.

15 Responses to Wolf Jumps Shark: Amazing but True Story

  1. Well I guess that in this time of financial restraint, there are limited resources for the development of new products. Viking has introduced a lot of new products late last year and this year. I guess all of the R & D money in Madison has been reallocated to their legal department.

    This will encourage others to follow suit, such as Whirlpool (amana) suing all other bottom mount manufacturers or Miele suing Kitchen Aid over the use of a cutlery tray.

    I hope they are not using the same law firm as Whirlpool did versus LG. That worked out well for Whirlpool………………

    Are the prevailing winds blowing into Madison from the Wisconsin farmland or is this just a big load of crap.

  2. Everyone has heard of the classical 4 P’s of Marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). Marketers also talk of the lesser known 5th P (Prosecution). It seems like the folks in Madison have zeroed in on that approach. Too bad ! 

  3. … win the competition by a comparison of your product versus theirs, or convince people of your entitlement to that cooking sector,  you need to change the topic to focus on the ridiculous !!!


    Next thing you know they’ll be bitchin’ about the "hue" of red … is a "flame red" or maybe "scarlet",  or "crimson", or "fire engine red" …


    I know, how about changing all their knobs to "Sky Blue Pink" ?!?!? 

  4. My memory is a little fuzzy going back 20 years….but didn’t Viking offer some of their earliest models with red knobs, before the Wolf Residential line existed, and long before Sub-Zero bought it?  

    • My information is that Viking did indeed launch a product with Red knobs in the beginning of the 90’s.  How does trademark law work such that Wolf is able to claim damages on a use of color that Wolf did not invent.  Perhaps Wolf sought trademark protection for the invention after Viking had stopped production, when no other manufacturer was using Red knobs in the residential market.  Sounds plausible.
      Hey, we’re just thinking out loud.  Perhaps that is the basis for the case, but no matter, the case is petty, and the trademark lame.

  5. Viking is going in the right direction trying to be more like Wolf but it will take more than red knobs to measure up. Sub Zero Wolf is the best company out there for service support, service payment, customer support, service communication yearly pay raises for contractors etc… I cannot say the same for viking which has not stepped up in most of these areas.  Just a servicers perspective.



    Bob Ebert

    30 years of service

  6. Maybe Viking can claim a trademark infringement on Wolf for starting their brand name with a W (comes right after V and is actually two V’s put together). Or maybe they could sue because Wolf uses a round, pro style handle. Merry Christmas to all!

  7. Unbelievable how paranoid a company can be.

    One must admit that SZ/W does build a good product with excellent branding.  Why behave this way?  They have something to hide or be ashamed of

    Over priced?  Over serviced?  Cannot compete or does not want to compete.  Amazing how other "pro" brands just keep chugging along without comign up with silly complaints about others who essentially "own" the market.


  8. Maybe Viking should counter sue Wolf for using Stainless Steel or high output top burners on their products since they were signature features on the original Viking Ranges.

  9. While deleting a Spam entry on this item this morning, and finding that some of the image links above were broken and needing mending, we bumped into this February 2010, legal interpretation of the Case of the Red Knobs.  ApplianceAdvisor.com, shockingly, received mention.

    Duets Blog

    • … that the author of that missive did not understand "pithy" comments !!!


      The best part is the link provided further comments from all of us here … talk about someone with "apron strings" !!!


      Rock On, Mate !!! 

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