Air freshener companies Julius Samann Ltd (JSL) and Car-Freshener Corp have just sued Chewy over their tree-shaped squeaky dog toys, with allegations that they hold high resemblance to their own pine-tree air fresheners. The air freshener companies are the makers and trade mark owners of the “Little Trees” pine-shaped air fresheners and have alleged in their suit that Chewy’s dog toy has infringed on their trade mark.
The two companies argued that Chewy’s dog toy design is likely to cause confusion amongst consumers and lead them to believe that they were endorsed or associated with the air freshener companies. Additionally, the complainants added that Chewy’s “Frisco Retro Tree Freshener Plush Squeaky Dog Toy” does not only copy the shape and the dimensions of the air fresheners but is also sold in the colours associated with some of the most popular fragrances.
Furthermore, the dog toys have the words “air freshener” printed on them, which makes it “obvious that they are intended to replicate not just any tree” but “Little Trees” in particular, as per the lawsuit. Car-Freshener stated that it had an exclusive licence to trade marks related to the “distinctive” pine tree design from JSL and its predecessors for over 60 years. The complainants have previously enabled other companies to use their marks in TV and online advertising, therefore it is possible this lawsuit could have been avoided had Chewy asked for permission to release the products alongside the two companies.
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