Milwaukee Electric Tool Corporation is suing the company that makes Milwaukee Leather products, accusing it of misleading customers and tarnishing the reputation of Milwaukee Tool’s “famous” logo.
Milwaukee Tool filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in federal court on Friday. The complaint accuses Shaf International Inc., which sells products under the Milwaukee Leather and Milwaukee Performance brands, of making heated apparel and tool bags that are identical to Milwaukee Tool’s products and using a logo that’s too similar to Milwaukee Tool’s trademark.
The complaint shows side-by-side photos of heated apparel from both companies. Milwaukee Tool said Shaf makes the word “Milwaukee” the dominant part of its trademarks, causing confusion for customers.
“Shaf’s Marks are confusingly similar to Milwaukee Tool’s MILWAUKEE Marks in appearance, sound, and commercial impression,” the complaint said.
Both companies sell their products on Amazon and other websites to the same sorts of customers. The complaint included parts of online reviews of Shaf’s products showing that many customers thought they were buying Milwaukee Tool products.
“The above-referenced consumer reviews describe Shaf’s goods as a ‘terrible product,’ ‘poorly made,’ and ‘low quality’ and state that the goods do ‘not work as advertised’ or ‘didn’t even work,’” the complaint said. “An association arises from the similarities between Shaf’s Marks and the MILWAUKEE Marks that tarnishes and harms the reputation of the MILWAUKEE Marks.”
Milwaukee Tool opposed Shaf’s U.S. Trademark Application for Milwaukee Performance and sent the company several cease-and-desist letters related to the logo. Shaf has not complied.
Milwaukee Tool then filed its lawsuit in an attempt to force Shaf to stop using the logo Milwaukee Tool believes is misleading. It asked Shaf to stop producing, selling and marketing its heated gear, tool bags and other tool-related goods, and take down its online product listings.
If found guilty of trademark infringement, Shaf could owe Milwaukee Tool up to three times the amount of damages awarded and all profits made on the products in question.
“Shaf’s acts are causing and, unless enjoined, will continue to cause damage and immediate irreparable harm to Milwaukee Tool and to its valuable reputation and goodwill with the consuming public for which Milwaukee Tool has no adequate remedy at law,” the complaint said.
The attorney for Milwaukee Tool did not immediately return a request for comment on the lawsuit.
A representative from Shaf International said the company spokesperson for the matter is out of the office for the rest of the week and would return calls on Monday.
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