California - Meyer Manufacturing Co. Ltd. asked a California federal judge of the Eastern District of California to rule that Telebrands Corp. cannot trademark pots and pans with a green cooking surface.
Telebrands, the original "As Seen On TV" company, produces the Orgreenic product line of pots and pans that have the insides painted green to symbolize that the products are environmentally friendly. Telebrands accused Meyer's EarthPan line of pots and pans of infringing its trademark for "the color green on the inside surface of a cooking pot or pan."
The Hong Kong-based cookware giant Meyer told Judge Lawrence K. Karlton in its Motion for Summary Judgment that Telebrands' supplemental trademark should never have been granted because the green color used on the interior of the pots and pans is a functional indicator that the products are eco-friendly and the color has not gained secondary meaning to make it protectable.
"There are no other colors that signal that a product is environmentally friendly or healthy as does the color green. Being 'green' is synonymous with being environmentally friendly, and Telebrands may not monopolize a color that performs such a function," Meyer argued in its motion.
Meyer went on to claim that even if Telebrands' trademark was found to be valid, Telebrands had no proof that there was any consumer confusion between the Orgreenic products and the EarthPan line, which is a necessary element of trademark infringement.
Meyer's motion brought to attention the Second Circuit's ruling against Christian Louboutin SA last September. The appeals court there held that the trademarked red-soled shoes did not prevent competitor Yves Saint Laurent from selling shoes of a similar style in all red.
Though the cases have many differences, Meyer argued that since its pans are entirely green, instead of just the internal cooking surface being green, its products have the same level of resemblance to the Orgreenic products as Yves Saint Laurent's shoes had to Christian Louboutin's shoes.
Meyer initiated the litigation in the Eastern District of California when it filed a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment that the EarthPan line does not infringe Telebrands' trademark. Telebrands then filed a counterclaim accusing Meyer of infringing its trademarked green cookware and accusing the company of intentionally trying to confuse consumers in an attempt to profit from Telebrands' goodwill.