KEMP, Texas, June 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Since 1973, Larson Electronics has sold Magnalight handheld lighting equipment and products under the Magnalight trademark and is an established leader in the commercial and industrial lighting industry. According to federal and state trademark registrations, Mag Instrument, Inc. registered and began using its Mag-Lite trademark to market to sell its brand of flashlights in 1979, a full six years after Larson Electronics began using the Magnalight trademark and selling Magnalight portable handheld equipment and products. Based upon applicable federal and state law, Larson Electronics' use of the Magnalight trademark is senior to the rights of Mag Instrument Inc.
According to federal and state law, as noted by Professor J. Thomas McCarthy, Senior Professor and Founding Director of the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law of the University of San Francisco School of Law, registering a trademark with federal and state agencies does not pre-empt or end the pre-existing common law rights of others. Professor McCarthy has stated that: "Neither application for, nor registration of, a mark at the federal level wipes out the prior nonregistered, common law rights of others. The nonregistered rights of a senior user continue and are not erased by the later federal registration of a junior user." J. Thomas McCarthy, McCarthy On Trademarks And Unfair Competition § 16:18.50 (4th ed.). "Thus, in a priority dispute between a senior common law user and a second-in-time user, the senior common law user will prevail."
For over 44 years Magnalight lighting equipment has been manufactured and sold throughout the United States and Canada. Based in Texas, L&R Enterprises originally created portable and handheld Magnalights and successfully marketed and sold those lights to customers within the agricultural industry. Larson Electronics purchased the Magnalight product line in 1973 and quickly expanded marketing and sales of Magnalights to include the cable and utility industries, law enforcement agencies, petrochemical, oil and gas industries, and commercial and industrial manufacturing customers.
Magnalight handheld, portable lights were sold throughout the 1960s and 1970s to agriculture and utility companies through distributors such as Stuart C. Irby and a wide variety of equipment dealerships including Allis Chalmers. Magnalight lighting products are currently sold to many of the same original customers and distributors that were established in 1973, as well as through more modern means such as Larson Electronics' website Magnalight.com.
The Magnalight name came about as a natural outgrowth of the popular configuration of the original Magnalight, which features a powerful handheld light fitted with a high grip magnetic base. Original Magnalights were a portable and highly effective way for operators to easily attach lights to vehicles or equipment to instantly provide high quality work-area illumination. In the years following Larson Electronics' acquisition of the Magnalight brand, the original product line has been expanded into a wider variety of portable handheld lighting products featuring high intensity discharge and LED light sources, rechargeable lithium ion batteries and high performance lead acid batteries, and a wide variety of grips and mounting configurations, including headlamps.
Rob Bresnahan of Larson Electronics' Magnalight.com states: "It appears that this will be a classic David versus Goliath battle. However, the facts are that Magnalight handheld portable lighting products have been sold under the Magnalight name throughout the USA and Canada since 1968, and we can prove it. Larson Electronics manufactured and sold Magnalight handheld, portable lights before Mag Instruments sold their first Maglite flashlight. While we have grown the Magnalight brand to include, not just spotlights, but innovations like headlights, light towers, explosion proof lighting, power distribution and other industrial products. Mag Instruments has a long history of engaging in litigation to promote its narrow line of tubular style flashlights," he concluded.
Julie Celum of Celum Law Firm, PLLC, a highly respected patent attorney representing Larson Electronics in this case, acknowledges that while trademark owners should have the right to protect their marks, "aggressive tactics used by overreachers presents a problem for the entire intellectual property community by threatening legitimate business activities and clogging the legal system with invalid claims."
Larson Electronics offers a wide variety of fixed and handheld portable lights and lighting products, ranging from explosion proof fluorescent lights to cart mounted metal halide work lights. Magnalight's explosion proof lighting for hazardous area locations includes Zone 0 LED flashlights, explosion proof LED trouble lights and permanent mount paint spray booth rated fluorescent and LED lights. You can learn more at Larson Electronics' Magnalight.com or call 1-800-369-6671 (1-903-498-3363 international).
SOURCE Larson Electronics