Zippo Granted Preliminary Injunction In Germany Against Lorillard's UK Subsidiary In Trademark Infringement Case
Prevents sale of "blu" e-cigarettes in Germany
Legal victory is part of Zippo's global campaign to protect its BLU® trademarks
BRADFORD, Pa., Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zippo Manufacturing Company, maker of the iconic Zippo® lighter ("ZMC" or the "Company"), announced today that it has been granted a preliminary injunction in Germany against Cygnet UK Trading Ltd., a Lorillard subsidiary, preventing Cygnet from using the "blu" brand name for e-cigarettes sold in that country.
The Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main agreed with ZMC that the "blu" e-cigarette brand creates a likelihood of confusion with the Company's European Union Community trademark BLU®, used in connection with its line of high performance, precision butane lighters and fuel. The court found the confusion was due to the high degree of similarity between the marks, an existing similarity between the parties' respective goods and the ZMC BLU mark's "at least" average degree of distinctiveness.
ZMC's action in Germany and the resulting preliminary injunction against Cygnet is part of ZMC's ongoing, global effort to protect its worldwide portfolio of BLU® trademarks. ZMC has commenced proceedings to oppose applications to register, or to cancel trademark registrations, for the "blu" e-cigarette brand in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the European Union. Sweden has already rejected outright Lorillard's application to register a trademark for "blu."
In May 2014, ZMC sued LOEC, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lorillard, for trademark infringement in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. The Company's lawsuit seeks to prevent LOEC from selling its "blu e-cigs" in light of Zippo's earlier ownership and use of its BLU® trademark. A trial is scheduled to commence on this matter in April of 2015.
"I am very pleased that the German Court affirmed our legal rights to our intellectual property," said Zippo President and CEO Gregory Booth. "Zippo Manufacturing Co. has invested in innovative technology and trademarked its BLU® brands from the beginning, and we are working to vigorously protect all of our marks – worldwide – from any misuse by others."
The "blu" e-cigarette business is being sold to Imperial Tobacco Group as a result of Lorillard's merger with Reynolds American. ZMC is represented by attorneys from Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP in Frankfurt.
ZIPPO is one of the most recognized brands in the world. Zippo Manufacturing Co. was founded in the fall of 1932 by George G. Blaisdell in Bradford, PA, where it has manufactured over 500 million Zippo windproof lighters. The original lighter remains unchanged. In 2005 ZMC created and patented a new high precision butane lighter − BLU®. Both pocket lighters are backed by the company's famous pocket lighter lifetime guarantee: It works, or we fix it free.™ Zippo's diverse product line also includes lighter accessories; butane candle lighters; fragrance, and lifestyle accessories for men; and a robust line of heat and flame products for outdoor enthusiasts. Zippo markets in over 160 countries. It also owns the RONSON brand of lighters and fuel, as well as W.R. Case and Sons Cutlery Company, also based in Bradford, PA. For more information, visit Zippo.com.
SOURCE Zippo Manufacturing Company