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Missouri Trucking Company Prime Inc. Sues Amazon for Trademark Infringement
Trademarkclick .com 27 Jul 2019

Missouri Trucking Company Prime Inc. Sues Amazon for Trademark Infringement

In a recent dispute between the logistics wing of the e-commerce giant Amazon and a transport company named Prime Inc., the latter has taken Amazon to court alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Prime Inc. is a trucking company based out of Springfield, Missouri, having a presence in the transport and logistics business for over 40 years. It is the 14th largest trucking company in the USA, started its business back in the 1980s. The company has over 12,000 trailer trucks operating throughout the USA and internationally. It had been the only trucking company with the name “Prime” for the longest time, up till 2016, when Amazon took control over its delivery services and named all its carriers Prime. Prime Inc. has garnered respect in the industry for timely and efficient delivery, and its dispute with Amazon lies only with respect to unfair competition and infringement of its trademark “Prime.”

Since the past few years, Amazon has been taking over all its logistics functions by using in-house transportation services instead of relying on companies like FedEx, UPS and other providers. At present, Amazon has a fleet of over 10,000 trailer trucks, 20,000 sprinter vans and a dozen of cargo planes, all bearing the logo “Prime.”

As a consequence of this, Prime Inc. has filed a suit against the Seattle based e-commerce giant before the federal court of the Western District of Missouri on July 2, 2019, for past and current trademark infringement. The lawsuit alleges that Amazon is taking advantage of Prime Inc.’s already established reputation and gaining unfair profits while also causing irreparable losses to the former. They claim that Amazon's trailers are "confusingly similar" to that of Prime Inc. and therefore Amazon is responsible for intentional trademark infringement. The suit has also highlighted that since both companies are in the transportation industry, customers who have bad experiences with Amazon could blame Prime Inc., causing damage to the company’s reputation.

Prime Inc. has also stated in its lawsuit that the logo used by Amazon on its trailers and trucks is “identical in appearance, sound, meaning, and commercial impression” to the logo used by Prime Inc. The Missouri trucking company has claimed to have informed Amazon about its illegal and unfair use of the trademark “Prime” numerous times over the past few years, but to their surprise, Amazon continued to use the logo.

A portion of the lawsuit reads as, “Nevertheless, Amazon has persisted in displaying one or more of the Accused Marks on trailer trucks and other shipping and transportation vehicles in commerce, and thereby has continued to infringe Prime Inc.’s exclusive rights and has continued to engage in unfair competition in violation of the Lanham Act. Amazon’s infringement and unfair competition are therefore intentional, willful, and malicious.”

Prime Inc. has claimed “the greater of three times Amazon’s profits or three times any damages it has sustained as a result of Amazon’s past and current trademark infringement and related unfair competition.”

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