Dyson Sues For Trademark Infringement For Counterfeit Goods

Dyson Technology Limited (Dyson) filed a complaint on Friday in the Northern District of Illinois for trademark infringement against a sealed list of “Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations” for allegedly selling counterfeit Dyson goods online.  

According to the complaint, the defendants operate “fully interactive, commercial online marketplaces…and has offered to sell…has sold and continues to sell counterfeit Dyson products to consumers.” Furthermore, Dyson alleged that the defendants “are an interrelated group of counterfeiters working in active concert to knowingly and willfully manufacture, import, distribute, offer for sale, and sell products and to provide retail and store services using counterfeit versions of the Dyson trademarks in the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences.” Dyson has filed this action to stop the online sale of unauthorized and unlicensed counterfeit Dyson haircare products, including hair dryers and hair styling tools.

Dyson proffered that the counterfeit goods “are trading on Dyson’s goodwill and reputation by offering for sale and/or selling goods bearing Dyson’s federally registered trademarks,” such as “DYSON, AIRWRAP, SUPERSONIC,” and other DYSON-related marks. Dyson asserted that the defendants created online stores that appear to sell legitimate Dyson products, however, these goods are purportedly counterfeit and infringe upon Dyson’s trademarks. Additionally, Dyson claimed that the various online stores have various similar features that connect them to each other. Dyson added that the defendants have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities and the scale of their operation, but continue to advertise and sell these counterfeit goods. According to Dyson, it has been using the DYSON and DYSON-formative marks in the United States since at least 2002, including on its haircare products; Dyson claimed that its trademarks “are valid, subsisting, and in full force and effect.”

Specifically, Dyson averred that the defendants designed their online stores “so that they appear to unknowing customers to be authorized online retailers, outlet stores, or wholesalers.” According to Dyson, the defendants’ online stores utilize various DYSON trademarks “without authorization on or in connection with the sales of products that are not genuine Dyson products,” such as by using the “DYSON,” “SUPERSONIC,” and “AIRWRAP,” marks. Consequently, Dyson alleged that consumers are led to believe that they are purchasing a legitimate Dyson product, which is purportedly not true, as they accept payments from major credit cards, PayPal, and other sources. The defendants, according to Dyson, also use Dyson and its marks “within the context, text, and/or meta tags of their online marketplaces,” which various search engines pick up in addition to using “unauthorized search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and social media spamming” to have their online stores appear at the top of web search results. Dyson stated that it did not authorize or license the use of its trademarks to the defendants.

The counts against the defendants are trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, false designation of origin, and violations of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Dyson alleged that this infringement has damaged it through “consumer confusion, dilution, and tarnishment of its valuable trademarks, goodwill and reputation” resulting from the aforementioned conduct.  

Dyson has sought for the court to enjoin the defendants from further infringement; an order for the defendants and other entities to disable and cease providing services to the defendants, and to disable and cease advertisements of the defendants; for the defendants to account for and pay all profits from their alleged conduct; an award for damages, costs, and fees; and other relief.

Dyson is represented by Baker McKenzie.