Many California residents use Amazon Prime to order products. However, a trucking company called Prime Inc. says that Amazon is infringing on its trademark by using the word “prime” on trailers used to deliver goods. The company has filed a lawsuit in the Western District of Missouri seeking financial damages related to the infringement. Specifically, the company claims that it is entitled to three times Amazon’s profits or three times the losses that the infringement has caused.
Prime says that it first used the word on trucks 40 years before Amazon did. The company further claims that the word prime is paramount to its marketing message, which could leave it vulnerable if the trademark is not allowed to stand. Although some could claim that Amazon uses the word prime in a different manner, the lawsuit asserts that they are identical in appearance and commercial impression.
The company says that anyone familiar with Prime Inc. could inappropriately attribute goodwill to Amazon thinking that it is affiliated with Prime. Furthermore, the lawsuit states that customers could attribute poor service to Prime instead of Amazon. There was no comment from legal counsel for either Amazon or Prime Inc. However, Prime Inc. has reportedly asked for a jury trial to resolve the matter.
A professional familiar with trademark infringement litigation may help a company assert its control over intellectual property. This may be true even if a case is settled without the need to go to trial. Regardless of how a matter is resolved, a company may be entitled to pursue financial damages. In some cases, parties to a dispute will agree to enter into a licensing agreement or otherwise resolve the matter in an amicable manner.