Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Prime Inc. sues Amazon for trademark infringement

New Jersey readers have likely noticed Amazon trucks with "Prime" written on the side of them while traveling area roadways. However, Prime Inc., a Missouri-based trucking company, claims the retail giant's use of the word on its vehicles amounts to trademark infringement.

According to a federal lawsuit filed on July 2, Prime Inc. claims that Amazon's placement of "Prime" on its delivery vehicles is causing it to lose money. The trucking company also claims that it notified the California-based online retailer of the alleged trademark infringement over 24 months ago through written correspondence. The company was notified a second time when Prime Inc. brought a complaint before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Despite this, the lawsuit contends, Amazon continues to display "Prime" on its shipping vehicles in an "intentional, willful and malicious" manner.

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon's "Prime" marking is essentially "identical" to Prime Inc.'s marking; although, the fonts and other characteristics are different. The lawsuit says this is because the dominant component of each mark, the word "Prime," is the same, a view which it claims is supported by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The suit is seeking damages in the amount of three times Amazon's earnings or three times any damages (in relation to the trademark infringement), whichever is greater. Prime Inc. has requested a trial by jury. Amazon has yet to publicly comment on the suit.

Individuals or companies involved in trademark infringement battles could turn to a law firm familiar with intellectual property litigation for help. Legal counsel could explain how to protect trademarks from infringement and take quick action if infringement occurs. While some cases can be settled before they go to court, others may require extensive litigation. In either situation, legal counsel could protect a client's interests and push for a fair resolution to the matter.

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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