Thermacell Repellants, which sells mosquito and tick repellant devices, accessories and clothing, accuses Ideavillage of trademark infringement, false designation of origin and statutory and common law unfair competition. Thermacell says that it began using the THERMACELL trademark in 1985 (when Thermacell was known as Schwabel) for cartridges containing liquid fuel for curling irons and brushes, and in 1986 obtained a registration on the mark for this application. Schwabel began using the mark for additional products, including insect repellant devices, in 1998, and obtained a federal registration on the mark for “devices having a heating element powered by cartridges containing liquid fuel which dispense insect repellant” in 2002. After expanding the use of the mark to other products, Thermacell obtained a registration on the mark for various types of bags, hats and utility lights. Thermacell says that New Jersey’s Ideavillage is a company that partners with individual clients to market products through television advertising. Ideavillage recently began advertising shirts using the THERMACELL mark, and filed an intent to use application for COPPER FIT THERMACELL for compression garments. The application was apparently rejected based on a likelihood of confusion with Thermacell’s registration. Thermacell says that, despite the rejection and despite Thermacell’s having expressed concerns with the potential use of the Ideavillage mark, Ideavillage nevertheless began selling apparel under the COPPER FIT THERMACELL mark, and presented the mark on its packaging in a way that separated THERMACELL from the COPPER FIT portion of the mark. Moreover, the COPPER FIT portion is designated with a ® symbol, while the THERMACELL portion is separately designated with a “TM” symbol, indicating an intent to claim trademark rights in THERMACELL standing alone. Ideavillage sells products bearing these marks through Lowed Home Improvement, which also carries Thermacell products, further enhancing the likelihood of confusion. Thermacell seeks destruction of products bearing the THERMACELL mark, injunctive relief against further usage of the mark, and monetary damages, fees and costs.
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