Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HeinieSniff'n Dog Toy Maker Seeks Declaratory Relief

I previously blogged (link here) about the court decision ruling against VIP Products, LLC (“VIP”) over one of its “beer” bottle shaped squeaky dog toys. In that case, it was Anheuser-Busch, Inc. (“AB”) which sued VIP over its “Buttwiper” dog toy (pictured above) and the court granted AB’s motion for preliminary injunction based on likelihood of success on the merits of AB’s trademark infringement claims. See Anheuser-Busch, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC, Case No. 08-cv-0358, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 82258 (E.D. Mo. October 16, 2008).

Yesterday, VIP, possibly hoping for a better outcome in its home jurisdiction, opted to go on the offensive with respect to another one of its “beer” bottle shaped squeaky dog toys – in this case, the HeinieSniff'n (reminiscent of the famed Heineken bottle).

On April 21, 2009, VIP filed a declaratory judgment action against Heineken USA Incorporated and Heineken Brouwerijen B.V. (together “Heineken”). See VIP Products, LLC v. Heineken USA Incorporated et al, Case No. 09-cv-00842 (D. Ariz.) A copy of the complaint can be downloaded here.

According to the complaint, on April 17, 2009, attorneys for Heineken contacted one of VIP's customers (Scalawags of Kennebunkport, Maine) selling the HeinieSniff'n dog toy claiming that the dog toy infringed and diluted Heineken’s trademarks and trade dress and demanding that Scalawags cease and desist from selling the toy and remove all pictures of the toy from the company’s website.

VIP seeks a declaration that VIP’s HeinieSniff’n dog toy does not infringe or dilute any trademark or trade dress rights owned by Heineken.

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