Enrico Schaefer - May 2, 2016 - Protecting Your Trademark from Infringement
On April 11, 2016 Traverse Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of TV Ears, Inc., asserting trademark infringement against defendants Sky Group, LLC and Liberty Health Supply, LLC as a result of their marketing and sale of competing “TrueDio Ears” headphones. The suit asserts six counts against defendants for their “TrueDio Ears” headphones, including trademark infringement; trade dress infringement; unfair competition; cybersquatting; and dilution.
Specifically, the complaint alleges that defendants “developed a business model to copy Plaintiff’s product design, trademarks, functionality, customer support materials, marketing materials and advertising model.” Through this trademark infringement action, TV Ears is seeking damages of at least $5 million dollars, in addition to injunctive relief precluding any use of the words “Ears”, any use of knock-off product designs, any use of similar advertising such as the iconic older couple sitting on the couch, attorney’s fees, statutory damages, and more.
First developed in the early 1990’s, TV Ears has become synonymous with television listening products, particularly wireless headphones. Commercials featuring older couples sitting on the couch smiling and eating popcorn, while one partner uses the TV Ears headset, are recognizable nationwide.
Defendants launched a competing product “TrueDio Ears” in or about 2013, two decades after TV Ears’ development. It is alleged that defendants specifically incorporated the dominant feature of TV Ears longstanding trademark – the word “EARS” – in order to divert TV Ears customers and leverage TV Ears goodwill. The complaint alleges that Defendants are trying to unlawfully capitalize on TV Ears’ success.
For TV Ears, who has held registered trademark rights in TV∙Ears® since 1997, defending its mark is top priority and it will do whatever is necessary to protect against trademark infringement.
Traverse Legal will continue to update the trademark blog as more develops in this case.