Protection of Intellectual Property

An East Idaho furniture designer and manufacturer custom builds high-end furniture for a national market. They compete at the top end of the industry against well-known furniture manufacturers throughout the United States. The furniture is marketed through regional interior designers who are intimately familiar with all of the relevant competitors in the market and each manufacturer has a unique look that is readily identifiable. This unique look is what sets companies apart from the competition, thus providing competitive advantage.

This furniture company came to us for help when a former employee started a furniture manufacturing business targeting the same customers, using our clients copyrighted marketing materials and, “knocking off” our clients signature pieces. The former employee went as far as directly approaching our client’s customers and offering replicate furniture at a significantly reduced price.

We sued the former employee claiming unfair competition and infringement of “trade dress,” a relatively new concept in the area of intellectual property right. Trade dress is a recognized, protected feature of a product, similar to a trademark or patent. We were successful in having an injunction entered against the former employee prohibiting his company from replicating marketing materials and furniture items.

Attorneys Involved

Michael D. Gaffney

Practice Areas Involved

Trademark & Copyright Law