Suit: Housing supplier's trademark does not cause confusion

By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau | Mar 8, 2013

HOUSTON - DirecSupply Inc. has filed a lawsuit asserting it is not out to undermine Direct Supply Inc., recent court documents say. 

The suit, filed Feb. 26 in Houston federal court, explains that Direct Supply is accusing DirecSupply of committing trademark infringement.

DirecSupply states it is a company which started in 2006 and specializes in customer service and project management support for multi-family and residential housing renovation projects by way of global product outsourcing and distributorship services while the defendant was established in 1985 with the purpose of providing products and services to the long-term health care, elder care and senior living markets.

Direct Supply sent the plaintiff a cease and desist letter in January stating the DirecSupply trademark is "confusingly" similar to that of Direct Supply's, "and that this has resulted in actual confusion on the part of at least one of the defendant's customers," adding the complainant violated the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act as well as engaged in unfair competition.

According to the original petition, DirecSupply "serves multi-family developments, not senior living facilities thus it does not purport to serve the defendant's specialized market."

"Simply because two marks may look and sound similar does not mean trademark infringement, unfair competition or cybersquatting exists," it says.

DirecSupply further asserts that third party use of similar marks and purchasers' sophistication are proof "there is no likelihood of confusion," and counters the aforementioned incident of which Direct Supply complained about illustrated how its customers are not confused.

"The defendant's customers are readily able to distinguish the two entities and that they will do so in their normal course of business before making a purchasing decision," the suit says.

It adds even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office saw nothing wrong with DirecSupply's existence.

Consequently, the complainant seeks a declaratory judgment to support it in addition to a jury trial.

Attorney Jonathan M. Pierce with Porter & Hedges LLP in Houston is representing DirecSupply.

Case No. 4:13-CV-519

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