Trademark disputes are the basis for two new suits, with companies battling over the rights to slogans for tea and home furnishings.
Hollander Home Fashions, holder of the trademark “Live Comfortably,” recently filed suit in Florida federal court against national chain La-Z-Boy over its use of the phrase “Live Life Comfortably.”
A supplier of bedding – pillows, comforters, blankets, throws, featherbeds, and mattress pads – Hollander has used its trademark in connection with bedding products since 2002, according to the complaint. The phrase appears in its advertising and on its Web site in both English and French (“Une vie Douillette”).
La-Z-Boy began using “Live Life Comfortably” in connection with an array of furniture, including sofas, chairs, recliners, loveseats, and sleepers, in print and television advertising as well as on its Web site, according to the complaint.
Particularly in connection with bedding products, La-Z-Boy’s use of the phrase “is likely to cause confusion and/or to cause mistake, and/or to deceive,” according to the complaint, which seeks an injunction against La-Z-Boy’s use of the slogan, as well as trebled compensatory damages under the Lanham Act.
Hollander also requested that the court order a denial of La-Z-Boy’s trademark registration for the phrase.
In a similar suit, the manufacturer of Celestial Seasonings’ Sleepytime Tea filed suit in New York federal court against Mexican tea seller Royal Tea over the defendant’s “Sleeping Time” tea line.
Having held the trademark for the Sleepytime line of tea products since 1972, Celestial Seasonings is an industry leader in the herbal tea market, according to the complaint. The defendant’s use of the phrase “Sleeping Time” for its herbal teas and tea products in stores and over the Internet constitutes trademark infringement and dilution, Celestial argues.
“In addition to using a confusingly similar mark on goods that are identical in type to the Sleepytime products, [the defendant’s] products travel in the same channels of trade as the Sleepytime products and are purchased by the same class of consumers,” the suit alleges.
Celestial seeks a permanent injunction against the defendant’s use of the term “Sleeping Time,” destruction of the entire inventory of infringing products, and trebled damages.
To read the complaint in Hollander Home Fashions v. La-Z-Boy, click here.
To read the complaint in Hain Celestial Group v. Royal Tea, click here.
Why it matters: Cases of trademark infringement hinge on the likelihood that the defendant’s use of a similar word or phrase will cause consumer confusion as to the source, sponsorship, or approval of such goods. In these cases, the plaintiffs will need to establish that consumers of tea and bedding will be confused by the defendants’ use of similar phrases for their products.