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Blog

The Generic Term for Moving Containers is Still "Moving Containers"

October 10, 2014

Blog

The Generic Term for Moving Containers is Still "Moving Containers"

October 10, 2014

Back to Fish's Trademark and Copyright Blog

 

In defending against a trademark infringement case brought by PODS Enterprises, Inc.—known for making moving containers that are dropped off at one location, filled and then transferred to a storage center or other location—U-Haul attempted to claim that “pods” had become a generic term for moving containers.  After deliberations of more than three and a half days, the jury resoundingly disagreed—to the tune of almost $61 million.

“PODS” is an acronym for “Portable On Demand Storage.”  U-Haul used the term “pod” to describe its “U-Box” product on its website.  After a trial lasting more than two weeks in the Middle District of Florida, the jury found that not only did U-Haul’s use of “pods” cause a likelihood of confusion with PODS’ trademark, but it also found that the PODS mark was famous and had been diluted by U-Haul’s activities. Perhaps swayed by the allegation that U-Haul only began using the term “pods” after it had expressed an interest in acquiring the PODS company, the jury awarded PODS $45 million in actual damages and determined that $15.7 million of U-Haul’s profits were attributable to its use of the term “pods.”  Though the verdict is a big one, it is considerably less than the $170 million in damages PODS sought.

At the time of the writing of this article, attorneys for PODS stated that they will now seek an injunction against U-Haul to stop using the terms “pod” and “pods.”

This case is PODS Enterprises Inc. v. U-Haul International Inc., case number 8:12-cv-014779 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

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trademark infringement

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Sheryl Koval Garko | Principal

Sheryl Koval Garko is a Principal in the Boston office of Fish & Richardson. Ms. Garko focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation with a particular emphasis on trademark, copyright, trade secret, and media litigation.  She has worked with some of the most...

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