Hit And Tervis Tumbler In Legal Dispute
July 14, 2011
40 supplier Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125) was recently served with a
cease and desist letter from Tervis Tumbler Co.
(asi/90914), sparking a lawsuit and a fight over trademark rights. At issue are
tumblers sold to Hit by manufacturer Williams Industries, a competitor to
the letter, which is now part of a federal court filing in the Southern
District of Indiana, Tervis alleges Hit
"deceived and misled customers who pay for [its] products into believing
that such products are those of Tervis." In
addition, Tervis further alleges "a violation of
state and federal trademark and unfair competition laws." Tervis has demanded Hit essentially end its relationship
with Williams and provide a record of all profits earned through the sale of
the "infringing" items. In the letter, Tervis
threatens legal action against Hit unless the supplier complies.
documents show, after receiving the letter, Hit
suspended orders from Williams. That prompted Williams to file a suit against Tervis, claiming "substantial harm and irreparable
injury." In its lawsuit, Williams is seeking to invalidate trademark
registrations owned by Tervis.
While Tervis has argued the "horizontal line" design on
its plastic tumblers is trademarked, Williams contends the pattern is generic.
Further, Williams is claiming in its suit that Tervis
made wrongful statements in applying for a trademark,
falsely representing it was the exclusive user of the "horizontal"
design. According to Williams, at least one other company – Minnesota-based Signature, USA – used an "essentially identical
design on essentially identical products" at the time Tervis