On September 30, 2015, Beaulieu Group, LLC ("Beaulieu"), a Georgia Corporation, brought a trademark infringement action against Mohawk Carpet Distribution, Inc. ("Mohawk"), a Delaware corporation with a principal place of business in Calhoun, Georgia. The complaint asserts claims for trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition (state and federal).
According to the complaint, Beaulieu is a global company that manufactures and sells a wide variety of flooring products, including carpet, carpet tiles and luxury vinyl flooring. Part of Beaulieu's residential carpet product line is marketed under its "Bliss by Beaulieu" brand, including its EverClean collection, which is the mark at issue in this complaint. Beaulieu owns the trademark BLISS BY BEAULIEU EVERCLEAN (U.S. Reg. No. 4,293,216) and has applied for the mark EVERCLEAN (collectively, "EVERCLEAN Marks") and alleges that these marks are an integral part of the Beaulieu Bliss product line and overall brand identity.
On August 19, 2014, Mohawk sought to register the mark SMARTSTRAND FOREVER CLEAN (App. No. 86/370,536) on an intent-to-use basis. Shortly after, Beaulieu filed an Opposition Proceeding, which is pending, requesting that the TTAB deny Mohawk's registration on the basis of its EVERCLEAN marks. Beaulieu alleges that Mohawk has since begun to use, and is currently using, the SMARTSTRAND FOREVER CLEAN mark, which it argues is an attempt to capitalize on Beaulieu's goodwill and is further confusing to consumers.
Beaulieu's argument is that the marks are not only substantially similar with the use of words "ever" and "clean", but because the goods are in the same industry consumers will likely be deceived as to the association, or lack thereof, between the brands. Further, Beaulieu cites Mohawk's advertising strategy as an additional layer of deception to consumers, as Mohawk states their carpet is "the perfect carpet for families with kids and pets" and Beaulieu has advertised their carpet as the "carpet pet owners love to love!" Consumer confusion is an issue for companies as they typically do not have quality control over the competitor's product, even though they may be wrongly associated with that product.
Beaulieu demanded a jury trial and asked for a permanent injunction restraining Mohawk from using SMARTSTRAND FOREVER CLEAN or any similar mark, damages, including attorneys' fees and costs, as well as punitive damages, to be increased three times the amount thereof and lastly, a preliminary injunction forbidding Mohawk from registering or attempting to register the SMARTSTRAND FOREVER CLEAN mark. Mohawk waived service of the complaint, and its answer is currently due on November 30, 2015.
These competitors have another trademark infringement case pending, Beaulieu Group, LLC v. Mohawk Industries, Inc., No. 4:15-cv-00124-HLM (N.D. Ga.), which was filed in July of 2015.
This case is Beaulieu Group, LLC v. Mohawk Carpet Distribution, Inc., No. 4:15-cv-00184-HLM, filed 09/30/15 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Rome Division, and assigned to U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy.
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