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#41 – Lexus vs. LexisNexis Round 3: Team One Stonewalled

by | Sep 22, 2016

The LexisNexis proposal was met with disbelief by Yuki Togo, Bob McCurry, the  Toyota attorneys, and in particular the new Team One advertising agency. The case was so lacking in merit no one could understand why LexisNexis would want to go to court.


Scott Gilbert, executive vice president/management director of Team One, couldn’t believe LexisNexis understood what they were asking and wanted to go visit the company.


Scott was certain there was simple miscommunication between the two organizations. He wanted a chance to reason with Jack Simpson. Scott would explain who Lexus was and how the Team One agency was going to present Lexus in an upscale manner to the American public. Scott believed he could assure Jack Simpson that Lexus would in no way create any confusion in the marketplace, and Lexus marketing might even prove to benefit LexisNexis.


I did not attend the Scott’s meeting. It was short but not sweet. Jack Simpson and the LexisNexis staff dismissed Scott with casual indifference.


Now, all we could do was wait. The injustice of it all was maddening and frustrating. Very few people in the organization even knew about our secret dispute over the Lexus name, and nothing had leaked to the news media.   


Would LexisNexis file a lawsuit in federal court or not? If they were going to file a lawsuit, when? If LexisNexis filed a lawsuit, our secret would be out—everyone would know the Lexus might not be Lexus. How would our 82 new dealers react? What if LexisNexis waited until the last minute to file a lawsuit? It could be too late to get a federal court hearing and decision. What if we went to federal court and lost? Then what? Should we continue using the Lexus name in the hopes that LexisNexis would be reasonable and settle? If they did not settle, or we lost the case, we would have thrown away millions promoting a name we could not use.


What would our new name be?    


From my exposure to the LexisNexis organization, I was certain they would file a lawsuit. I assumed they would wait as long as possible to put as much pressure on us as possible. We could change the name to Luxor, but we would have to go to Jack Simpson to get his approval, and it was not certain he would approve. Why would you allow Jack Simpson to dictate the name of the finest car Toyota had ever built? We also ran the risk that TMC would tell us to use the name chosen by Chairman E. Toyoda for Japan, Celsior. Yuki Togo could not and would not back down.


We were at the mercy of Jack Simpson and that thought sent a shiver down my spine. Nothing was happening. With each day passing day we waited the pressure built.  There was a continual knot in the pit of my stomach. When would it come to an end?
In the midst of the uncertainty, I held tight to my hope in God. I knew He had a plan—even if I couldn’t see it. Read more about the hope we have in Christ in the God of Hope book.


“Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end.” Proverbs 22:8 (NLT)


The pressure was also building at home were Cynthia was trying to raise four boys and a four-month-old baby girl by herself.


(To be continued in “The Choice: Job vs. Family”)