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Yeti sues 2 more competitors, claims products ‘confusingly similar’


Highlights

The maker of high-end coolers and drinkware filed suit Friday against Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes.

Yeti also wants both companies to recall the ‘infringing’ products and offer refunds.

Austin-based Yeti Coolers is continuing its attack on companies it accuses of making products that are “confusingly similar” to its own, filing suit in federal court against two more competitors.

The maker of high-end coolers and drinkware filed suit Friday against Livingston-based Axis Cups and Irvington, Ala.-based Bayou Ice Boxes, seeking to force the companies to recall existing products and redesign their products going forward. Yeti is also requesting monetary damages. Both cases were filed in U.S. District Court in Austin.

Yeti recently settled a similar suit against competitor RTIC. Under terms of that agreement, RTIC can no longer manufacture the “offending” products. The company has until May 1 to sell any remaining coolers and thermal mugs in its stock. Yeti and RTIC each agreed to pay their own legal fees.

In the two new cases, Yeti’s claims are similar to those made against RTIC and, before that, Mammoth Coolers.

Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes have, according to Yeti, “purposely advertised, promoted, offered for sale, sold and/or distributed, and continue to advertise, promote, offer for sale, sell and/or distribute coolers and drinkware that violate Yeti’s rights, including the rights protected by Yeti’s intellectual property,” the suit says.

Both companies are making — or importing — the “infringing products” without authorization from Yeti, the lawsuit alleges.

Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes didn’t respond to messages from the American-Statesman seeking comment on the lawsuit.

There is “a likelihood of confusion,” Yeti says, between its own products and the coolers and drinkware Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes are selling because they are “confusingly similar imitations.” The similarities are “intentional, willful and malicious,” according to the suit.

The companies Yeti has sued typically sell their products for less than what Yeti’s own coolers and drinkware go for online or in retail stores, such as the new flagship store Yeti opened recently on South Congress Avenue. A 50-quart Yeti Tundra 50 cooler, for instance, sells for $379.99 while the Bayou Cooler 50 from Bayou Ice Boxes goes for $249.95.

Yeti claims in court documents that it was already a well-established company by the time Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes started marketing their products.

“Yeti’s trade dress became famous and acquired secondary meaning in the United States and in the state of Texas generally and in geographic areas in Texas before (Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes) commenced unlawful use of Yeti’s trade dress,” the suit says.

Citing “substantial and irreparable injury,” Yeti asks the court to issue an injunction preventing Axis Cups and Bayou Ice Boxes from selling the products in question.

Yeti also wants both companies to recall the “infringing” products and offer refunds to customers who bought them. The recalled products would then be destroyed, along with related advertising and manufacturing materials.

Yeti also asks that it be awarded both companies’ profits, as well as “Yeti’s actual damages, enhanced damages, exemplary damages, costs, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest and reasonable attorney fees.”

A trial date has not been set.



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