Lorillard said yesterday that two of its electronic cigarette subsidiary companies, Cygnet UK Trading Ltd and Lorillard Technologies, Inc. d/b/a blu eCigs, had filed for an injunction and declarations with the High Court of Justice in London, England, to protect their BLU ECIGS® trademarks in the UK and throughout the rest of Europe.
In a note posted on its website (http://investors.lorillard.com/investor-relations/news/news-details/2014/Lorillard-Subsidiaries-Sue-Zippo-in-the-UK-to-Stop-Unfounded-Threats-Against-BLU-ECIGS/default.aspx), Lorillard said the injunction ‘seeks to restrain Zippo Manufacturing Company (“Zippo”) from threatening Lorillard and others with proceedings in the UK for alleged infringements of Zippo’s trademarks and the declarations seek to validate Lorillard’s rights to market and sell their products throughout Europe under the BLU ECIGS® brands’.
As was reported here on August 20, last month Zippo said that it has been granted a preliminary injunction in Germany against Cygnet, preventing Cygnet from using the blu brand name for e-cigarettes sold in that country.
The Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main was said to have agreed with Zippo that the blu e-cigarette brand created a likelihood of confusion with Zippo’s EU 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 Zippo BLU mark’s ‘at least’ average degree of distinctiveness.
Zippo’s action in Germany and the resulting preliminary injunction against Cygnet was said to have been part of Zippo’s ongoing, global effort to protect its worldwide portfolio of its BLU trademarks.
Zippo had commenced proceedings to oppose applications to register, or to cancel trademark registrations, for the blu electronic cigarette brand in the US, Canada, Mexico and the EU.
Sweden was said to have already rejected outright Lorillard’s application to register a trademark for blu.