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Online Retailers Not Immune From Trademark Infringement

Online retailer Wayfair, LLC, d/b/a www.wayfair.com, filed a trademark infringement action against The Furniture Authority for using Wayfair's house mark, WAYFAIR, and its WILDON HOME mark, both of which are federally registered on The Furniture Authority's website. Civil Action No. 1:12-cv-12155 (D. Mass) (Nov. 19, 2012). According to the complaint, a search of The Furniture Authority's website using "Wayfair" produces two hits for products that include the Wayfair name and a search using "Wildon Home" produces 671 results.

With the dismissal and settlement of the Google-Rosetta Stone case, the use of another's trademark in advertising is still undecided. However, using another's trademark directly on your website is actionable and this case shows that online retailers need to guard their trademarks just as much as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers.

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About this Author

Jacob S Wharton, Womble Carlyle, Intellectual Property Attorney, Home Furnishings industry Lawyer

Jake devotes his practice primarily to intellectual property dispute resolution, including patent, trademark, and copyright infringement litigation; proceedings before the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board; trade secret misappropriation litigation; antitrust matters; and related intellectual property disputes. Jake has also counseled clients on defamation and trade libel matters. Prior to focusing on dispute resolution, Jake prepared and prosecuted patent applications in the pharmaceutical, agriculture, biotechnology, and life science technologies. Jake has counseled institutional,...