Amazon Prime trucks deliver products throughout Colorado and the rest of the country. The service may be so popular that it’s having a negative impact on the similarly named trucking company Prime Inc. On July 2, Prime Inc. filed a lawsuit against Amazon in a Missouri federal court for trademark infringement.
The lawsuit says that Prime Inc. notified Amazon in writing about the infringement more than two years earlier. Prime Inc. also started proceedings at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. In the lawsuit, the trucking company states that Amazon started using the Prime logo on its trucks in 2016 or 2017. This was more than four decades after Prime Inc. began using the name. While the Amazon Prime uses different fonts and stylings, an attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office says that the word is the dominant characteristic of the trademark and carries the most weight.
Prime Inc. says customers will associate any frustrations they have with Amazon’s delivery service with its company while assuming a relationship between Prime Inc. and Amazon. The company also asserts that Amazon misrepresented how it would use the word on its trailers. To settle the case, Prime Inc. has requested a jury trial.
Trademark infringement can raise many complex issues. In this case, it is clear which company started using the name first, but in other cases, this might be less straightforward. The likelihood that the existence of one company will hurt the one with the established trademark may also be difficult to determine. New business owners may want to consult an attorney regarding what constitutes trademark infringement and how they might avoid this issue arising. Companies that believe they are facing trademark infringement might want to consult an attorney about how to proceed. A first step may be contacting the company directly.