Oregon company files trademark case against Dutch firm

By Carol Ostrow | Mar 26, 2015

A U.S. trailer cargo system manufacturer filed a trademark infringement complaint on Jan. 28 against a European company in the Texarkana division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, alleging unfair trade practice and copyright infringement.

Keith Manufacturing Co., of Madras, Ore., a supplier of conveyor systems and parts for truck trailer floors, filed against Cargo Floor B.V. of Coevorden, The Netherlands, a firm that supplies similar products in Europe.

The defendant is alleged to have recently shipped a conveyor system to a Keith customer. Its “reciprocating conveyor” system, typically installed in large trailer flooring, carries a load in one direction and then returns underneath the load in a three-step process. It is used in trailers lacking hydraulic hoists.

Keith also owns Foster Manufacturing Inc., doing business as Keith Walking Floor Europe, in Barneveld, The Netherlands. He charges that two of his former employees founded and operated a competing business.

Cargo applied for and was granted a U.S. trademark for “Cargo Floor” in 1999. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) allows foreign companies to acquire a U.S. trademark but commonly cancels it if the owner fails to show use.

Despite Cargo’s requesting four extensions, it ultimately failed to follow through; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revoked their trademark in 2008. In 2012 Keith applied for the right to register and use the trademark in the United States.

Finding no previous usage and no opposition, the USPTO granted Keith the trademark right in January 2014. Upon discovering the shipment to Innovative Trailers Inc. in Texarkana, Keith charged Cargo Floor B.V. with trademark violation.

The date of the shipment discovery was not stated in court documents. The plaintiff seeks an injunction barring the defendant from using the trademark or any symbol thereof, and attorney’s fees and costs.

Keith is represented by John Mercy, of Mercy Carter Tidwell, Texarkana; Gordon Stewart, of Stewart Law Offices, of Hawaii; and Bruce Kaser, of Vantage Law PLLC, of Washington.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, case no. 5:15-cv-00009-JRG

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