Posts Tagged ‘trademark infringement’

Toys mocking Heinekin aren’t funny: lawsuit

April 23, 2009

“VIP Products insists its “Heinie Sniff’n” dog toy does not violate Heineken’s trademarks. VIP says Heineken has demanded that a retailer in Maine stop selling the toys. Come on, it’s a joke, VIP says in its request for declaratory judgment.
     VIP says in its federal complaint that “on or about April 17, 2009, attorneys for Defendants contacted Scalawags of Kennebunkport, Maine, a retail customer of Plaintiff, and demanded that Scalawags cease and desist all sales of Plaintiff’s HeinieSniff’n parody dog toy.
     “Upon information and belief, Defendants’ attorneys contended that the HeinieSniff’n novelty dog toy infringed and diluted Defendants’ trademarks and trade dress and requested that Scalawags cease distribution of Plaintiff’s HeinieSniff’n parody dog toy and remove all pictures of Plaintiff’s parody dog toy from their Web site.”
     VIP is represented by David Bray with Mariscal, Weeks & McIntyre.”

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews

Company can’t sell “Electric Hendrix Vodka”

February 19, 2009

A federal judge in Seattle has told a company illegally hawking goods using Jimi Hendrix name to yank them from the shelves.  The company also owes the Jimi Hendrix estate $3.2 million.  The Jimi Hendrix estate didn’t want to sell Jimi’s likeness on alcoholic products because, “because drugs and alcohol have been claimed to be a factor in Jimi Hendrix’s untimely death.”

Judge order courtesy Courthousenews

Biz Journal giant sues over cybersquatting

February 4, 2009

Advance Publications is a private media company that owns Golf Digest as well as more than forty local business journals and they run the website which I think is a terrific snapshot of local business conditions nationwide.

They filed a cybersquatting, trademark infringement suit in federal district court in Texas against Dauben Inc among other defendants.  They are claiming that the defendant company has purchased several domains such as: (Advance Publications’s URL is and among others.  To make matters worse, the defendant advertises competing local business journals and services.  I’m sure I’ve accidentally entered the alleged cybersquatter myself!

This complaint is another example of useful competitive intelligence and suggests that trademark infringement complaints are useful for finding out about a company’s structure, the way the various subsidiaries are related and what aspects of a company’s intellectual property is worth protecting.  Here, Advance Publications obviously highly prizes the traffic it gets from its websites and is no doubt fairly successful at monetizing it.  The complaint identifies the company as private, meaning it doesn’t sell public stock and in the complaint it brags that Forbes called it the 41st largest private company in the U.S.  That’s no small achievement for a media company that mostly operates under the radar.   But if they want to sue an interloper, they are forced to give up some privacy.

Complaint courtesy Courthousenews

Virgin Air sues Adrants over Hudson crash parody

January 30, 2009 published a fake ad of the plane floating in the Hudson with the tagline, “The Hudson Crash: One more reason to fly Virgin.”  Virgin Air did not take kindly to this parody.  The complaint’s listing of facts reads like a Dragnet episode. “Virgin America employees learned of this advertisement at 11:23pm on January 17, 2009.”  By 8:30 the next morning they had written Adrants to get the the ad taken down and by 11:18am PST, their lawyers had sent them a detailed email demanding the parody or “advertisement” be taken down.  It took another day for Adrants to remove the ad from its site and obviously that wasn’t good enough for Virgin because they filed this trademark complaint in Federal Court for the Northern District of California.  Virgin reveals their extreme sensitivity to the national mood with this sentence in the complaint.

Virgin America like the rest of the country cannot compliment Captain Sullenberger, his crew US Airways enough for their heroic actions.”

Trader Joe’s sues Trader John’s

January 13, 2009

Trader John and Trader Joe should start dating, maybe adopt a baby

One commentator’s take on news that a Manhattan grocery store has decided to copy Trade Joe’s retail food success by creating a sound-alike name and decorating its store with, “wood paneling, wagon wheels and baskets” mimicking the famous look and feel of Trade Joe’s.

It will not be a surprise then when I tell you that Trader Joe’s has sued Trader John’s in a Manhattan Federal Court for trademark infringement.